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Gym to Sport Crag

Desert Rock & Crack Climbing Camp
August 9, 2017
Rock Self Rescue
August 11, 2017

Learn to Lead Sport Climbs

Most of us don’t start out climbing big walls or long, committing routes in Eldo. It’s more likely you’ve been climbing in the gym, learned how to belay and lead indoors and are ready to venture to the many convenient crags around Boulder. In our two day Gym to Sport Crag course we dive into the skills everyone making this transition mush have such as considerations for leading outdoors, cleaning a bolted anchor, and an awareness of the most common mistakes people make in even the least complicated cragging scenarios.

This course is designed for climbers ready to go out sport climbing on their own without a guide or more experienced climbers in the group. The emphasis of the course is teaching appropriate sport leading techniques, establishing quality anchors for toproping, belaying, and cleaning anchors.

For fixed date courses, the venue for this program is Boulder, CO and the classic Eldorado Canyon which offers a wide variety of terrain and climbing routes of various difficulty. We can also offer this course in both Ouray and Durango, CO on a private/custom basis.

Participant Goals for the Course

At the conclusion of the 2 day Gym to Sport Climbing Course participants will have gained proficiency in the following skills:

rexerBuild an anchor using 2 bolts
rexerClean a bolted anchor and rappel or lower
rexerUtilize effective communication and commands
rexerCompetently tie applicable knots & hitches
rexerBelay a leader and off the anchor with a plaquette or GriGri
rexerLead sport climbs up to 5.8
rexerRock climbing gear considerations and selection

2019 Dates


June 22 – 23
July 6 – 7

July 20 – 21

August 10 – 11
August 24 – 25
September 7 – 8
September 21 – 22
October 12 – 13
October 26 – 27


June 27 – 28

July 11 – 12
July 25 – 26

August 8 – 9
August 22 – 23
September 12 – 13
September 26 – 27
October 3 – 4
October 17 – 18


$469 per person

rexerNo Hidden Fees

  • Guiding and instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All rock climbing gear (harness, helmet, rock shoes, etc.)

Gym to Sport Climbing Itinerary

Day 1

Meet your guide at 0800 at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Your Course Leader will give you a quick briefing, help you fill out a couple forms, and fit you in whatever demo equipment you might need.

A short hike will take you to the rock climbing venue where you will begin the days instruction. We’ll start with a quick review of the basics and move into lead belaying considerations and climbing with a “closed” system. The day will progress with review of the multiple uses of a plaquette/GriGri and then move into cleaning bolted anchors to a lower or rappel. There will also be plenty of climbing on this day as well as a few participant mock leads. The day will finish up no later than 4:00 pm.

Day 2

Course participants will meet at 0800 at the entrance to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Review fundamentals from Day 1, then the group will move into the topics of rappelling with an extension, identification of back clipping and z clipping, gear considerations, and of course – plenty of rock climbing. At the conclusion of the course, your instructor will give you personal feedback regarding your potential next steps in the climbing progression.

We have honed our curriculum and itinerary through many years of ice climbing instruction. These courses offer a great way to introduce yourself to the sport of rock climbing in a fun, more affordable group atmosphere.

Rock Climbing Equipment List

BackpackDescriptionGuide's Pick
The Osprey Mutant 38 represents an excellent all around performer for Ice Climbing trips in the Ouray Ice Park and surrounding San Juan backcountry.
Water BottlesDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend wide mouth Nalgene (or similar) water bottles for the majority of our programs. Two 1 liter bottles is the standard for days in the mountains.
Personal FoodDescriptionGuide's Pick
Lunch begins when breakfast ends and ends when dinner begins. Bring what you like to eat and consider the length, relative difficulty, weight, and other factors when deciding what to bring in the mountains with you. A variety is always best. Don't be afraid of Mr. T.
SunscreenDescriptionGuide's Pick
Essential for all of our programs. SPF 30 would be our minimum recommendation. Typically a 4 oz. bottle will suffice but consider trip length when deciding how much to pack.
Belay DeviceDescriptionGuide's Pick
A belay device is a required item on any of our technical climbing or mountaineering courses. While not necessary to have the Guide ATC specifically, we think owning one of these offers additional versatility as you progress and gain additional knowledge about the various levels of functionality provided by a device of this type.
HarnessDescriptionGuide's Pick
The BD Aspect Harness is a great all around performer for all types of climbing - ice, rock, alpine etc. The adjustable leg loops and integrated ice clipper loops make this a solid investment as your do-all harness.
Locking CarabinersDescriptionGuide's Pick
We recommend at minimum 2 - 3 personal locking carabiners on our climbing courses and any technical private guided program. We prefer classic screw gate carabiners over other types of locking mechanisms.
Climbing HelmetDescriptionGuide's Pick
A versatile, hybrid-shell helmet for lightweight protection in any discipline, the Vector features excellent ventilation and a ratcheting adjuster.

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.

Specific to the Gym to Sport Course – it is important the participants possess a good background understanding of basics climbing techniques as well as the ability to confidently top rope 5.8 or harder.

Before Your Trip

Familiarity with basic climbing principles such as knots, belaying, rappelling, and other climbing techniques can be very helpful for our Intro Course participants.  Though not required, prior gym climbing experience will help you to acquire and assimilate the information covered in our rock climbing course progression as quickly as possible.

Follow Up Climbs

Boulder, Colorado: Getting There

Boulder, Colorado is located in the Northeastern part of Colorado and approximately 30 minutes from Denver International Airport. A mecca for climbing, hiking, cycling, and foodies; make sure you plan to spend some time in town before and after your SJMG trip. Boulder, CO serves as the launching point for all of our rock climbing courses and climbs in the Front Range.

*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.

plane-icon The best option for flying to the area is to fly into Denver, CO. Many airline options exist, and because Denver is a major airline and travel destination there are typically many one-way flights to choose from.


suv-icon You will likely need a to organize a rental car to drive to Boulder, CO from Denver. Typically in the summer months you can choose any type of vehicle but in the spring and winter months please consider that weather can change rapidly in the mountains so an All Wheel Drive or Four Wheel Drive vehicle is worth considering. Below are some approximate driving times to get to Boulder, CO.

  • Denver, CO: 30 minutes
  • Estes Park, CO: 45 minutes
  • Colorado Springs, CO: 2 hours


hotel-icon-2 Boulder, CO also 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!

Program Policies

Registration & Cancellation

Advance Registration is required for this program.  You have the option to either call our office and register via phone 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.


  • Guiding and Instruction with an AMGA Certified/Trained Guide
  • All rock climbing gear (harness, helmet, rock shoes, etc.)



  • Transportation to Boulder, CO
  • Hotel costs before, during, or after the program
  • Guide gratuity
  • Lunch food or snacks
  • Personal hiking/climbing clothing
  • Trip Cancellation Insurance (recommended)
  • Costs associated with weather delays or other variables beyond the control of San Juan Mountain Guides

Book This Trip!

We Offer Online Registration

  1. Click on Book This Trip
  2. Select your Program dates
  3. Enter your Info and Payment


Or, call 800.642.5389 to register