Top Spots To Ice Climb Near Denver

December 15, 2012 6:00 AM

Ice climbing in Ouray (credit: CBS)

Global warming may have glaciers shrinking and ice caps on the verge of melting away, but Colorado is still home to some stellar ice climbing. In the frigid winter months, enthusiasts from near and far head to the high country for some of the best ice-climbing spots found right here in the Centennial State.
ouray Top Spots To Ice Climb Near Denver

Ice climbing in Ouray (credit: CBS)

Ouray Ice Park
280 County Road 361
Ouray, CO 81427
(970) 325-4288

Found in the Switzerland of the Rockies, the Ouray Ice Park is a man-made ice park that is perfectly situated in the mild climate. The park is fed by an irrigation system and the freezing nights allow for phenomenal ice climbing across the large park. Nearby backcountry climbs are ideal for purists, such as Bridal Veil Falls or Bird Brain Boulevard, but one thing everyone can agree on is a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs after a long day of ice climbing.

Vail Valley

Two hours from Denver, Vail Valley is an ideal ice-climbing spot. Guided trips are a great way to sharpen your skills or serve as an in-depth introduction to the sport. Hidden spots and world-renowned climbs such as Fang, the 120-foot free-standing column of ice, offer beautiful views of the Vail Valley and stunning chilly formations to enjoy while local experienced guides show the way.

Apex Mountain School
Vail, CO 81657
(970) 949-9111

For classes in the Vail Valley, Apex Mountain School can get your acclimated to the activity. From group classes to private instruction, everything from knot tying to fundamental technique and voice commands are covered in the course. The minimum age is eight and classes include all the gear you will need.

Related: Top Adult Hockey Leagues In Denver

Ouray Ice Festival
280 County Road 361
Ouray, CO 81427
(970) 325-4288

Whether a pro looking to scamper up the slick ice surfaces or an amateur checking out new gear and watching icons of the sport, the Ouray Ice Festival is the world’s premier ice climbing event. With the latest and greatest gear, guest lecturers and a gathering spot for the world’s best ice climbers, Ouray’s Ice Festival helps to benefit the park and keeps the spirit of ice climbing alive and well. The festival will be held January 10-13, 2013.

REI Denver Pinnacle Climbing Wall
1416 Platte St.
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 756-3100

If seeking to test your climbing skills without the possibility of frostbite, REI Denver’s climbing wall is a great way to stay attuned to the sport in the city. With REI-certified employees belaying guests, new tips and tricks are always offered. Also, the latest gear is available for purchase at this retail location. Personal equipment must be approved by REI staff, but trying out your new harness in this cozy environment is a Mile High must.

Denver Area Ice Climbers Group

Sponsored by Golden Rock Guides, this group is perfect for enthusiasts looking to join an ice-climbing group, socialize with like-minded climbers and plan frigid excursions with a team of enthusiastic climbers. Founded in 2010, the group currently has 127 members. Planning annual trips to Ouray and other locales, the varying experience levels and insider knowledge of excellent climbing spots is an invaluable resource.

Related: Thrillseekers In South Denver Gives Climbers Many Options

Chad Chisholm is an avid globetrotter and brings the best of travel secrets and expert insights to his readership. A Denver-based travel writer and photographer, Chad’s travels have taken him to five of the seven continents in a passionate love affair with the world of travel and the outdoors. His work can be found at