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Home » Classes » CMC Classes and Schools » Technical Climbing School


Technical Climbing School


The Colorado Mountain Club’s Technical Climbing School connects aspiring climbers with their vertical ambitions.

Classes and trips are designed to teach the technical elements of rock and snow climbing, including the use of ropes, anchors, ice tools, protection, crampons and specialized skills to safely negotiate challenging terrain. The class modules are ideal for individuals with goals such as leading fifth-class rock, ice climbing or ascending difficult peaks.

The entry-level courses provide a foundation, covering such topics as belaying, movement techniques, gear and navigation. More advanced courses build upon those basics and teach students everything they need to climb throughout Colorado. The modular approach to the curriculum allows students to select classes and dates that fit their schedule and specific interests. The classes can be taken individually or as packages to achieve certificate Alpine Climbing.

For questions, contact cmc.techclimbingschool@gmail.com.

The infographic below shows the recommended progression through CMC Technical Climbing School:

CMC Technical Schools Diagram of Course Progression


Rock

100 Level

Basic Climbing 

Basic Climbing is the best class to start with! It is a prerequisite for all the rock, snow, and ice climbing classes (not required for navigation courses). Upon completion of this class you’ll be able to climb indoors at any rock climbing gym. You’ll learn:

  • How to use climbing helmet, harness, belay device, safety leash
  • How to tie in to the rope using a Figure Eight Retrace
  • How to tie an Overhand Knot, Clove Hitch, Girth Hitch
  • How to top rope belay using Pull-Brake-Under-Slide method
  • How to use climbing commands
  • How to coil a climbing rope

 

Basic Climbing, Session A and Basic Climbing Waiver- November 16, 2021

Basic Climbing, Session B and Basic Climbing Waiver- November 18, 2021

Basic Climbing, Session C and Basic Climbing Waiver- December 16, 2021

Basic Climbing, Session D and Basic Climbing Waiver- January 12, 2022

Basic Climbing, Session E and Basic Climbing Waiver- May or June

Basic Climbing, Session F and Basic Climbing Waiver- August or September

 

 

200 Level

Intermediate Rock Climbing

Building off of Basic Climbing, Intermediate Rock Climbing focuses on climbing safety: equipment (and using it properly), communication, belaying, lowering, and rappelling.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use hands and feet efficiently on rock
  • Experience climbing outside
  • How to tie a Double Fisherman, Water Knot, Munter Hitch, Figure Eight On a Bight, Autoblock Hitch
  • Multiple methods of rappel
  • Rappel back-ups

TCS/ACS - Intermediate Rock Climbing Session A - Modular Track - June 4-5, 2022

TCS/ACS - Intermediate Rock Climbing Session B - Modular Track - June 11-12, 2022

TCS/ACS - Intermediate Rock Climbing Session C - Modular Track - June 18-19, 2022

TCS/ACS - Intermediate Rock Climbing Session D - Modular Track - September 17-18, 2022

 

Basic Anchors

Prerequisite of Intermediate Rock Climbing. Students will learn to build top rope climbing anchors using natural features and fixed protection.

You’ll learn:

  • How to evaluate natural features (trees, boulders, rock horns, etc) and fixed protection (bolts).
  • How to build anchors suitable for top-roping and rappelling.
  • How to incorporate methods for additional security while working in a cliff-top environment.

Basic Anchors Session A - June 18, 2022

Basic Anchors Session B - July 10, 2022

 

Climbing Self Rescue 1

Building off of skills learned in Intermediate Rock Climbing, this course will prepare students to deal with problems they may encounter during a multi-pitch climb. Functions as a partial prerequisite to Climbing Self Rescue 2.

You’ll learn:

  • How to tie a Prusik Hitch, Bachmann Hitch, Klemheist, Mule Knot
  • How to escape a loaded belay
  • How to ascend a rope
  • How to rappel past an obstruction in the rope

TCS Rock Rescue Level 1 - Session A - June 25, 2022

TCS Rock Rescue Level 1 - Session B - July 17, 2022

TCS Rock Rescue Level 1 - Session C - August 20, 2022

TCS Rock Rescue Level 1 - Session D- September 24, 2022

 

300 Level

Rock Seconding

This course also builds off the skills learned in Intermediate Rock Climbing and teaches students:

  • Belaying a lead climber
  • Catching a leader fall
  • Cleaning gear
  • Additional knots
  • Belaying from above
  • Rappelling off a multi-pitch climb

Rock Seconding Session A - Lectures:June 28, July 7; Field Day: July 9, 2022


Sport Lead Climbing

This multi-day class will teach participants the skills needed to safely lead sport climbs;

  • How to properly clip bolts and avoid common errors, including Back Clip and Z Clip
  • How to lead belay safely
  • How to set up a quad anchor
  • How to clean sport anchors and lower safely (including rappel)
  • Safety and risk management 

Participants are expected to either be graduates of BMS Rock/Intermediate Rock Climbing or have experience with good climbing belay skills, rappelling, good climbing communications, and a good working knowledge of knots and the climber's safety system.

Sport Climbing Session A - Lectures: May 16, May 18; Field Day May 21, 2022

Sport Climbing Session B - Lectures: Sept 12, Sept 14; Field Day Sept 17, 2022

 

 

400 Level

Advanced Anchors

Prerequisite of Intermediate Rock Climbing. Students will learn about the various types of rock protection, including: passive protection (nuts, hexes) and active protection (cams); and how to place and incorporate pieces of protection into anchors.

You’ll learn:

  • How to place rock protection
  • Rigging strategies to incorporate trad gear into top rope anchors

Advanced Anchors Session A - Lecture: July 13; Field Day: July 16, 2022

 

Traditional Lead Climbing

Students will be introduced to the principles and techniques of placing gear on a single pitch, “traditional” rock climb.  You’ll learn:

  • How to lead 5th class rock
  • How to calculate fall factor,  impact force
  • How to determine vector forces on protection
  • Knots and rigging strategies for anchoring and descent

Prerequisite for this class is Rock Seconding.  Students should be comfortable climbing 5.9 in the gym and seconding 5.6/5.7 trad outside.  Registration code required.  Please contact office@cmc.org to apply.

Traditional Lead Climbing Session A - Lectures: July 13, July 19, July 20, 2022; Field Days: July 16, July 23, July 24, 2022

 

Advanced Trad Climbing Clinic

Students will learn techniques applicable to advanced trad climbing, including: advanced movement, gear placement, belay transitions, advanced rappelling and descending, and

Prerequisite for this class is Traditional Lead Climbing.  Students should have several years of trad climbing experience and be comfortable climbing 5.10 on top rope and leading 5.6/5.7 trad outside.  Registration code required.  Please contact office@cmc.org to apply.

Advanced Trad Climbing Clinic Session A - Field Day: August 13, 2022
 

Advanced Multi-Pitch Concepts

Students will learn techniques applicable to climbing multi-pitch routes, including: preparation, anchors, belaying, cleaning gear, belay transitions, descending, and climbing with a 3-person team.

Prerequisite for this class is Traditional Lead Climbing.  Students should be comfortable climbing 5.9 in the gym and seconding 5.6/5.7 trad outside.  Registration code required.  Please contact office@cmc.org to apply.

Advance Multi-Pitch Concepts Session A - Lecture: August 10, Field Day: August 14, 2022
 

Intro to Aid Climbing

This is an introduction to the basics of clean aid climbing.We cover the following topics: 

  • Gear aiders/etriers, daisy chains, protection, ascenders
  • Leading: basic aid sequence, transitioning from aid to free
  • Following: ascending with jumars and aiders

Prerequisite for this class is Traditional Lead Climbing.  Students should have several years of trad climbing experience and be comfortable climbing 5.10 on top rope and leading 5.6/5.7 trad outside.  Registration code required.  Please contact office@cmc.org to apply.

Intro to Aid Climbing Session A - Lecture: August 23, Field Days: August 27, August 28, 2022

 

Climbing Self Rescue 2

Rocking Seconding is a prerequisite. This course also serves as a partial prerequisite for Self Rescue 3. Students will learn:

  • How to escape from a loaded belay while retaining options for further action
  • How to tandem rappel and counterbalance rappel
  • How to rig a raising and lowering system

Climbing Self Rescue Session A - Lectures: Sept 20, Sept 22: Field Day: Sept 24, 2022

Climbing Self Rescue Session B - Lectures: Sept 27, Sept 29: Field Day: Oct 1, 2022

 

Navigation

100 Level

Navigation Level 1

This Navigation course has no prerequisite and can be a good starting place for taking TCS classes.

 You’ll learn:

  • How to procure & read topographic maps
  • How to measure a bearing on the map
  • How to plot a bearing on the map
  • How to take a bearing in the field and follow it

Navigation Level 1 - VIRTUAL

 

200 Level

Navigation Level 2

Navigation Level 2 allows you to build off of your Level 1 navigation skills and apply them in an intensive field application.  An extension of material taught in Navigation Level 1.

You’ll learn:

  • How to match terrain to the map
  • How to travel from point to point using map and compass together
  • How to follow a bearing in zero visibility
  • How to navigate around obstacles
  • How to measure slope angles

Navigation Level 2 - VIRTUAL

 

Snow

200 Level

Intermediate Snow 

Snow is the third portion of classes required to achieve your ACS certificate. Successful completion of Basic Climbing is a prerequisite for enrolling in Basic Snow.

You’ll learn:

  • How to use crampons and ice axe
  • How to move over snow
  • How to self arrest

 

Intermediate Snow Session A - Modular Track - Lecture: March 29; Field Day: April 3, 2022

Intermediate Snow Session B - Modular Track - Lecture: March 29; Field Day: April 10, 2022

 

Advanced Snow 

This class covers the technical skills you need to climb a snow couloir.

You’ll learn:

  • How to build snow anchors
  • How to tie an Alpine Butterfly
  • How to travel as a roped team
  • How to use snow protection

Advanced Snow Session A  Modular Track - Lecture: May 3, Field Day: May 7, 2022

 

 

Ice Climbing Courses

200 Level

Basic Ice Climbing

In one evening and one field day on ice, Basic Ice Climbing will introduce novice or experienced rock climbers to the basics of ice climbing, and teach them to safely enjoy the sport in top-rope settings. The course focuses on equipment, safety, and technique.

Basic Ice Climbing Session A - January 25, 27; Field day January 30, 2022 (morning)

Basic Ice Climbing Session B - January 25, 27; Field day January 30, 2022 (afternoon)

300 Level

Intermediate Ice Climbing

This class is for climbers who want to gain the skills needed for doing their own top-rope ice climbing adventures.  You'll learn anchoring and rigging skills unique to the Lake City Ice Park  / Ouray Ice Park.  You'll also refine your climbing technique with lots of laps on steep ice (WI4 - WI5).

Intermediate Ice Climbing - Lectures: Jan 31, Feb 1; Field Days: Feb 4-6, 2022
 

Mixed Climbing/Dry Tooling

This class introduces climbers to mixed rock and ice, as well as dry tool routes. You’ll learn movement and techniques for mixed climbing as well as route selection, grading systems, hazard evaluation and safety systems. The course will take place in Ouray Ice Park where you’ll get to practice on classic mixed and dry tool top roped climbs. 

You should be an experienced rock climber and proficient at climbing WI4-WI5 ice. Prerequisites: Intermediate Rock Climbing, Intermediate Ice Climbing.

Mixed Climbing/Dry Tooling - Lectures: January 4; Field Days: January 7-9, 2022

400 Level 

Ice Lead Climbing 

This class is for experienced ice climbers who are ready to get on the sharp end.
You'll learn:

  • How to place ice screws
  • Ice leading strategy
  • Options for technical descent (e.g. v-threads)

You’ll also receive plenty of mentorship from our Sr. Ice Climbing Instructors.

Ice Lead Climbing - Lectures:  Feb 21, Feb 22; Field Days: Feb 25-27, 2022

 


Alpine Climbing School


Within the Technical Climbing School, you can take 6 of our 17 classes to earn a certificate in Alpine Climbing. Think of the Alpine Climbing School (ACS) as an academic/vocational degree within the Technical Climbing School.

School prerequisites are:

  • Proven backcountry experience
  • High level of fitness (C level hiker classification)
  • Basic Rock or Waiver
  • Navigation 1

 

The Alpine Climbing School includes the following courses:

  • Navigation Level 2
  • Intermediate Rock Climbing
  • Basic Anchors
  • Climbing Self Rescue 1
  • Intermediate Snow
  • Advanced Snow

 

In addition to the classes above, you will also complete the following trips:

  • Rock climb
  • High peak ridge climb
  • Couloir climb
  • High peak overnight grad climb

 

You have two options when it comes to ACS

  • Modular Track: you simply look at the CMC calendar and select the class sessions that fit your schedule (e.g. Basic Climbing, Intermediate Snow, etc.).  Registration for 2022 Winter Modular Track classes is now open!  See individual classes for registration information.
  • Team Track: allows you to work with the same small group of classmates and instructors throughout all the Alpine Climbing classes. The traditional format is slightly less expensive, but the dates are more rigid. In the CMC calendar, filter for classes and look for Alpine Climbing School.  There are three sessions of Team Track offered each year which runs March - June. When you click on the class, the Event Details will give you all the dates for that session.  Registration for 2022 Team Track is now open. Spaces are limited. Apply here.

 

TCS Alpine Climbing School (ACS) - Session A
 

TCS Alpine Climbing School (ACS) - Session A (Women)
 

TCS Alpine Climbing School (ACS) - Session B
 

TCS Alpine Climbing School (ACS) - Session C

TCS Alpine Climbing School (ACS) - Session D

 

 

Class

Location

Session A

Session B

Session C

Session D

Orientation / Risk Management Lecture

CMC, Golden

Mar-1

Mar-1

Mar-1

Mar-1

Nav 2 Lecture /Trip Planning / Mountain Weather

Online

Mar-8

Mar-8

Mar-8

Mar-8

Nav 2 Field Day

Decker's Area

Mar-12

Mar-13

Mar-12

Mar-13

Caltopo Lecture

Online

Mar-22

Mar-22

Mar-22

Mar-22

Int Snow Lecture / Winter Backcountry Travel

Online

Mar-29

Mar-29

Mar-29

Mar-29

Int Snow Field

St. Mary's Glacier

Apr-2

Apr-9

Apr-3

Apr-10

Int Rock/Rescue 1/Anchors Lecture

CMC Wall, Golden

Apr-19

Apr-26

Apr-20

Apr-27

Int Rock/Anchors/Rescue Field Day 1

Castlewood Canyon or Boulder Canyon

Apr-23

Apr-30

Apr-23

Apr-30

Int Rock/Anchors/Rescue Field Day 2

Castlewood Canyon or Boulder Canyon

Apr-24

May-1

Apr-24

May-1

Adv Snow Lecture

Online

May-3

May-3

May-3

May-3

Adv Snow Field Day

Winter Park

May-7

May-7

May-7

May-7

 

Check back for more information on Intermediate and Advanced Alpine Climbing School certificates.

 

 

 

Leading Technical Trips for the CMC

The CMC is recruiting Denver Group members who'd like to lead technical climbing trips.  Volunteering as a trip leader is a great way to give back to the CMC community and make new climbing buddies! 

Please visit the Trip Leader School page to learn more.