Rocky Mountain National Park
Custom Guiding Options
San Juan Mountain Guides is proud to introduce new programs and opportunities to climb in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park. The park encompasses 415 square miles of spectacular mountain environments and offers hundreds of rock, ski, alpine climbing, and mountaineering objectives for outdoor enthusiasts.
Classic climbs of the iconic Long’s Peak (14,259′) such as Kiener’s Route (III, 5.4, Mixed Alpine) and the North Face Cables Route (II, 5.4) are not to be missed – yet represent only the proverbial tip of the iceberg in terms of the wealth of quality climbs to be experienced in Rocky Mountain National Park. Other objectives such as The North Ridge on Spearhead (III, 5.6) and The South Face of the Petit Grepon (III, 5.8) will keep you coming back season after season. The Diamond on Long’s Peak is one of the most classic climbing objectives in North America and a grand achievement for any climber.
The SJMG Difference
Our unique approach to guiding in Rocky Mountain National Park places the emphasis on developing trip itineraries and objectives to cultivate your climbing talents and then utilize them on climbs that both challenge and inspire your abilities. The flexibility we offer to customize your experience allows you and your guide unparalleled opportunity to adjust objectives given weather or other constraints, achieve learning/skill acquisition outcomes, and climb classic routes in one of America’s most well known climbing venues – all the while maintaining industry leading risk management during your time mountains with SJMG. Join us this summer to experience the unique and varied climbing opportunities in Rocky Mountain National Park which appeal to climbers of all ability levels.
SJMG has partnered with Steve Johnson as our Lead Guide for programs, courses, and trips in Rocky Mountain National Park. Steve is an AMGA Certified Rock & Alpine Guide as well as a veteran guide in RMNP and throughout other Front Range climbing destinations – such as Eldorado Canyon and The Flatirons.
Additional RMNP guides for the 2016 summer season include Micah Lewkowitz, Lance, Sullins, Jim Turner, and Andres Marin, each with intimate knowledge of the complexities of climbing and guiding in Rocky Mountain National Park. We specialize in organizing custom itineraries, trips, courses, and program for individuals or groups. Our unparalleled access to the terrain in Rocky Mountain National Park gives us the ability to offer a wide range of alpine and rock climbing options and objectives.
Summer and Fall 2016 programs and climbs in Rocky Mountain National Park are arranged on a private/custom basis and can be tailored to your needs and desired outcomes. Costs per day are listed on the “RMNP Routes” tab above and start as low as $209 per person. It is best to call (800-642-5389) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) our office to help determine the per day costs for your trip based on your objectives in Rocky Mountain National Park.
“The trip and experience was awesome! Andres had a very well thought out plan for our climbing objectives. He kept us safe and made a great route choice for my first multi-pitch rock route. Thanks again for putting it all together – I will be back!” – Matt L. Private Alpine 2015
Rocky Mountain National Park Climbs
Route options, descriptions, and additional information about climbs in Rocky Mountain National Park that are available with San Juan Mountain Guides are listed below. Additional private days of instruction, training, and climb preparation can also be scheduled in conjunction with the climbs listed below and may be recommended based on your previous climbing experience and background.
Contact our office today or submit a trip inquiry to start planning your trip today!
Longs Peak (14,259′)
Climbing route options for Long’s Peak are listed below. Relative route difficulty (Intro, Intermediate, Advanced) and prices per person, per day for each objective are also listed below. For additional route options or other customization, please call 800-642-5389 or email our office.
- The North Face “Cables” Route (II, 5.4)
An excellent introduction to technical climbing in RMNP
Cost: 1:1 – $469 2:1 – $309 3:1 – $259
- Kiener’s Route (III, 5.4, Mixed Alpine/Snow/Ice)
A moderate line up the improbably East Face
Cost: 1:1 – $699 2:1 – $469
- The Diamond, Casual Route (IV, 5.10a)
The classic multi-pitch alpine rock climb on one of the most recognizable rock faces in North America
Cost: 1:1 – $699 2:1 – $469
Other RMNP Classic Routes
We offer a wide variety of classic climbs throughout Rocky Mountain National Park for climbers of all ability levels. Relative route difficulty (Intro, Intermediate, Advanced) and prices per person, per day for each objective are also listed below.
There are of course many more climbs in RMNP than we can list here. Additional climbs on The Saber, Sharkstooth, Hallets, Meeker, Arrowhead, Chiefshead, and more are also possible climbs to consider.
*For additional route options or other customization, please call 800-642-5389, or email.*
- Rock Climbing at Lumpy Ridge
Lumpy Ridge is well known as RMNP’s best rock climbing crag, offering a wide variety of single and mutli-pitch route’s for climbers of all ability levels. This is a great venue to hone skills and prepare for alpine rock routes in the park.
Difficulty: Intro through Advanced
Cost: 1:1 – $419 2:1 $299 3:1 $239 4:1 – $209
- Notchtop (12,129′), Spiral Route (II, 5.4)
Also an excellent intro to technical climbing in RMNP. The route literally “spirals” its way up the mountain!
Cost: 1:1 – $469 2:1 – $309 3:1 – $259
- Spearhead (12,575′), North Ridge (III, 5.6)
Situated in the inspiring Glacier Gorge, the climb offers 8-10 pitches of technical climbing, this is a must-do route in RMNP that is typically done in 2 days round trip.
Cost: 1:1 – $469 2:1 – $309
- The Petit Grepon (12,001′), South Face (III, 5.8)
One of the “Fifty Classic Climbs” listed in Roper & Stecks well known book, this route offers an excellent combination of quality climbing and stunning positions. The summit is not to be missed. Consider scheduling this climb during the mid-week.
Cost: 1:1 – $549 2:1 – $359
- Hallet Peak (12,713′), Culp-Bossier (III, 5.8)
Eight pitches of 5.6-5.8 rock up the steep North Face of this iconic peak really sets this rout apart. The dramatic cliff band and prominent point, which hangs over Dream Lake is one of most recognizable features in RMNP. This is a great one day outing due to the shorter approach through the Tyndall Gorge.
Cost: 1:1 – $549 2:1 – $359
- Sharkstooth (11,691′), Northeast Ridge (III, 5.6)
Located near the popular Petit Grepon, Sharkstooth offers great climbing on quality rock. Approached via the Glacier Gorge TH and Loch Vale, this route represents an excellent intermediate climbing objective and can be done as a 1 or 2 day program.
Cost: 1:1 – $469 2:1 – $309
Day Alpine Climbing Equipment List
- Climbing Backpack: Internal frame, 35-45 liters. Guides’ pick: Osprey Mutant 38
- Adjustable Trekking Poles: Black Diamond adjustable trekking poles or similar
- Pocket knife: 2-3 inch blade, simple, light
- Small thermos: Optional, but nice to have
- Water bottles: 2 liters combined capacity; bottles or bladder. Guides’ pick: Nalgene or Osprey
- Water purification system: We recommend simple iodine tablets, but pumps are acceptable. Guides’ pick: Potable Aqua
Clothing and Personal Equipment
- Hiking/Alpine boots: Sturdy, waterproof, comfortable boots. Please contact us with questions or further recommendations.
- Socks: Medium weight wool or synthetic blend socks.
- Base layers: Synthetic t-shirt and synthetic underwear
- Soft shell pants: warm enough for cool mornings and nights, yet light enough for warm days. Guides’ pick: OR Ferrosi
- Soft shell jacket: light weight. Guides’ pick: OR Ferrosi
- Insulated vest and/or jacket: down or synthetic. Guides’ pick: OR Transcendent
- Hard shell jacket: waterproof and breathable, no insulation. Guides’ Pick: OR Helium
- Hats: one with brim, one for warmth
- Gloves: one thin and one medium weight pair
- Sunscreen and lip balm: water/sweat-proof
- Headlamp: with extra batteries. Guides’ pick: Black Diamond Spot
- Toiletries: Toilet paper, baggie for used TP, toothbrush/paste, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.
- Personal first-aid kit: for your personal meds/needs; guide will have a large one as well
- Stuff sacks: for convenient packing
- Lunch food: Everything you eat between breakfast and dinner. May include: bagels, dried meats, cheese, trail mix, candy bars, peanut butter, etc…
- Harness: Adjustable leg loops are essential.
- Locking carabiner: Pear shaped, wide mouth.
- Boots: Hiking boots, or alpine boots – many options. No tennis shoes.
- Crampons: General mountaineering crampons (for May/June trips only – conditions dependent)
- Mountaineering Axe: 60 – 70 cm mountain axe (for May/June trips only – conditions dependent)
Additional Overnight Equipment
- Sleeping bag Down or synthetic bag rated between 15-30 degrees with compression stuff sack. Guides’ pick: Neutrino Endurance 400
- Sleeping pad: Guides’ pick: Thermarest NeoAir
- Bowl, spoon, cup: Plastic/lexan
- Additional Socks
Training & Follow Up Climbs
As always, being in excellent physical shape is an important component of our our programs. A good mixture of cardiovascular fitness, muscular fitness, and especially core strength will help you to maximize the potential rewards that are possible on a great climbing trip.
1Before Your Trip
Trips in Rocky Mountain National Park should be considered strenuous. Therefore, previous experience hiking in the mountains and/or multi-day backpacking experience will be very helpful to you on this program. Though the actual climbing level will very according to your custom itinerary, but the best training regimen would include a mixture of cardiovascular fitness training (running, biking, hiking etc.), and muscular/core fitness exercises. The addition of some Yoga/stretching exercises will help to insure that you maintain good muscular flexibility as well.
For trips in Rocky Mountain National Park you should be ready for:
- Hiking up to 6-7 miles per day with up to a 30 lb pack at altitudes between 8,000′ – 11,000 ‘
- 8 – 10 hour summit days with a lighter “day pack”
- Wilderness travel
2Follow Up Climbs
I found this to be a great experience and enjoyed all of the personnel and guides associated with San Juan – particularly Matt Pickren! – Steve K. 2011 Private Program
Estes Park, Colorado: Getting Here
Estes Park, Colorado is located in the Northeastern part of Colorado and approximately 45 minutes from Boulder. A mecca for climbing, hiking, cycling, and foodies; make sure you plan to spend some time in town before and after your SJMG trip. Estes Park serves as the launching point for all of our climbs in Rocky Mountain National Park.
*If you are planning to combine additional days of climbing in Eldorado Canyon or The Flatirons then Boulder, CO is also a logical place to base your lodging for your trip.
Flights: The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Denver International Airport. Multiple airline options exist, and many one-way flights are available direct to Denver from other major cities throughout the country. Estes Park is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Denver by car.
Driving: Below are some approximate driving times if you’d like to drive to Estes Park. If you plan on renting a car, please consider the winter weather when selecting your vehicle and at a minimum choose something that offers either front wheel or all-wheel drive.
- Denver: 1.5 hours
- Boulder: 45 minutes
- Colorado Springs: 2.5 hours
- Grand Junction: 5 hours
Hotels: Estes Park has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suit you best for this trip! Below are just a few options catering to different lodging styles and preferences.
Boulder has a number of great hotels, suites, and vacation rentals for you to stay in while you’re in the area. Give our office a call at 800-642-5389 if you have any questions about what would suit you best for this trip!
- Cost Includes:
- Guiding and trip leadership
- Group camping and cooking equipment (tents, stoves, etc.)
- Group climbing equipment (ropes, etc.)
- Not Included:
- Transportation to Denver, CO
- Hotel costs before or after the program(s)
- Mountain food
- Trip cancellation insurance – recommended
- Personal backpacking/alpine climbing clothing
- Costs associated with early returns, weather delays, or other factors beyond our control
- Guide gratuity
- Registration and Cancellation:
- Advance Registration is required for this program. You have the option to either call our office and register via phone, fill out our pdf Registration Form and send it in via fax or email, or utilize our secure Online Reservation System. All participants must read and sign an Assumption of Risks/Liability Waiver and agree to our Reservations and Cancellations Policies.
The guides were professional, knowledgeable, and friendly. The office staff was also great and very helpful. Thanks for a great trip and I look forward to more trips with San Juan Mountain Guides. – Trevor Y. Chicago Basin 14’ers 2011