(alumni and intermediate/advanced climbers welcome)




February 24 - 26, 2023


Just outside the Ouray Ice Park lie some of the most famous frozen waterfalls in the country. With IRIS guides as your partners, you’ll review skills in the Park and then venture out for the real deal: San Juan backcountry ice climbing.


Step outside the OIP boundaries and you’ll find a sea of stunning ice climbs stretching from Silverton to Telluride. San Juan backcountry ice climbing is one of the most rewarding activities in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. If you’ve been itching to climb classics such as Stairway to Heaven, Dexter Falls, The Ribbon, or Chockstone Chimney, or just expand your climbing repertoire, IRIS’s world-class guides will teach you the techniques required to ascend these big, beautiful ice climbs.


You’ll begin on Day 1 with a skills review in the Ouray Ice Park followed by two days of San Juan backcountry ice climbing. Goals are feeling comfortable with belaying a leader, following a climb, cleaning screws, and hanging out on exposed anchors.


Participants in this program should be intermediate to advanced ice climbers who are able to climb at a level of WI 4- (a long, vertical climb such as those in the Ouray Ice Park). Alumni are especially encouraged to join us, but we’ll be happy to climb with new folks who have a bit of ice climbing experience under their belts!



**This itinerary is subject to change. Dates are listed for the two different clinics.


January 25 or February 24:
7:30am: Meet @ Ouray Inn
8am-4pm: Ouray Ice Park Skills and Climbing


January 26 or February 25:
Early morning meet-up

(6am: Time/location dependent upon route)


January 27 or February 26:
Early morning meet-up

(6am: Time/location dependent upon route)

4pm: Trip Wrap-up / Happy Hour Hang Out @ Ouray Inn


3 Days of Guided Climbing in the Ouray Ice Park and San Juan Backcountry

2:1 Guest to Guide Ratio

minimum of 2; maximum of 4

Ice Climbing Gear: Harness, Helmet, Ice Tools, Technical Ice Climbing Boots, Crampons  (if you own, please bring your personal gear)


Not Included:

Meals and Personal Snacks


Transportation to/from/while in Ouray

Personal Climbing Clothing

Guide Gratuity

Travel Insurance (highly recommended!)

Incurred costs by leaving a trip early

Incurred costs as a result force majeure


Travel Recommendations:

Closest Airports: Montrose (MTJ) & Grand Junction (GJT)


Hotel Recommendation: 

Ouray Inn

(970) 325-4445

West, 120 6th Ave. Ouray, CO 81427

IRIS guests receive a 10% discount at the Ouray Inn. After IRIS registration, guests will receive a booking code to utilize on the Ouray Inn website or while booking over the phone. A to-go breakfast will be provided if you alert the Ouray Inn a week in advance of your program start date.


**This list is a guideline. You do not need the exact layers but will need something of similar warmth. If you have questions please ask us.**


Climbing Clothing

Base-layer Top: Wool Recommended (100-150 weight)

Breathable Insulation Layer Fleece (such as Outdoor Research Ascendant Hoodie or Patagonia R1)

Medium Weight Puffy Jacket

Down Vest (optional: recommended if you run cold)

Hard Shell Jacket (waterproof)

Belay Puffy Jacket or Parka (such as Black Diamond Belay Parka)

Long Underwear Wool or Synthetic (150-200 weight)

Soft-shell climbing pants (such as OR Iceline Pant)

Puffy Pants or Puffy Skirt (optional: these are great for belaying and if you run cold)

2-3 Pairs of Gloves (lightweight to heavyweight: such as BD Terminator or CAMP Gecko Pro Ice and BD Legend)

Warm Hat (to be worn under a helmet)

Buff/Neck Gaiter

Sunglasses (for sun and eye protection)

2-3 Pairs of Wool Ski or Snowboard Socks (light to medium weight cushion)


Climbing Equipment

Backpack 15-20L for Backcountry Routes

Backpack 35-40L for Ice Park (such as Black Diamond Speed 40)

2 Total Liters of Water (one of which should be a thermos 🙂

6 pks Handwarmers

Food / Snacks About 1lb per day (jerky, nuts, candy bars, protein bars, Twinkies, cheese, dried fruit, etc.)


Personal First Aid Kit

Sunscreen and Chapstick


We provide the following or you are welcome to bring your personal gear if you already own it:


Belay Device, 2 Locking Carabiners, PAS or Double Length Sling

2 Ice Clippers


Technical Ice Climbing Boots (crampon compatible with toe and heel welts)

Ice Climbing Crampon w/ Vertical Front Points (not mountaineering crampons)

Ice Tools


Kristin Arnold guide and climber

IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Ski Guide
AMGA Alpine Guide
AMGA Rock Guide

Sheldon Kerr climber

IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Ski Guide
AMGA Alpine Guide
AMGA Rock Guide

Heidi Wirtz climber and guide

AMGA Rock Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide