Your outcomes will vary based on where in the progression, as well as the number of days you’re climbing. No matter what level you begin at or how long you climb, we can guarantee that you will be significantly more competent as well as gain confidence, have a solid base of skills, come away with new friends and climbing partners. You’ll also develop a love of ice, and the ability to stay comfortable (and have fun) in the cold. Additional results include a fondness of sharp technical tools and, of course, a desire for more.


You’ve never really considered ice climbing before, but now you’re fired up to give it a go—or you’ve stepped up to the ice fewer than eight times and have started to learn the basic moves. You’re experiencing some healthy fear at the thought of it (it’s a mechanism for survival). Your goal is to become competent at basic movement skills, understand the important features of the gear and clothing, and get familiar with fundamental principles for staying safe in an ice cragging environment.

Our 2-Day Course covers:

  • basic knots, rope safety, and climbing equipment
  • the fundamentals of climbing safety; standard checks, belaying skills, communication, and the climbing partnership code
  • basic footwork & crampon technique, ice axe swings & placements
  • movement skills, balance & climbing WI 2-3 ice climbs
  • how to choose an ice climb, read the ice & understand hazards

Our 3-Day Course covers all of the above, with an emphasis on:

  • moving with efficiency, refining balance, pacing & learning to rest
  • really engraining the “triangle” so that it becomes natural

Our 4-Day Course covers all of the above with an additional skills day:

We recommend the More Ice Climbing (see full description below) option for the skills day to maximize your time climbing ice.

Level 2: NOT ROOKIES (Intermediate)

You have kicked some axe and swung your picks into the ice enough that it feels natural—roughly 8 to 16 times. You like ice climbing and you want to be able to go out and set up your own ice anchors to top-rope and maybe follow someone on a lead. As you move through the progression, you want to climb WI4 without running out of strength and energy. Maybe you’ve been taught by friends who climb hard, but they rely on strength and can’t help you transcend the plateau you are stuck on. This is the course is for you!

Our 2-Day Course covers:

  • review of the skills above
  • climbing steep ice with movement efficiency using the “monkey hang”
  • reading and moving through more complex ice including bulges & mushrooms
  • placing and removing ice screws,
  • building and evaluating top rope anchors and rappeling

Our 3-Day Course covers all of the above with an emphasis on:

  • Engraining solid movement skills; “the triangle” and “monkey hang”
  • Advanced footwork and balance on steep and delicate ice
  • Solid tool placements that are trustworthy and efficient

Our 4-Day Course covers all of the above with an additional skills day:

You’ve put in enough time in and honing your skills to the point you’d likely enjoy and benefit from either Mixed Climbing or the Alpine Skills seminar if you anticipate backcountry ice climbing in your future (see full description below).

Level 3: KNOW THE ROPES (Advanced) 

You have climbed WI4 without hanging on the rope, but you are not ready to lead. You don’t get out regularly enough to take the next step in your progression to climb WI4, consistently and WI5 pillars are just too hard. You would like to have the confidence and technique to climb harder ice with fluidity. Additionally, you may want to lead easy ice, but need to have solid climbing technique and a growing competency with the use of ice screws and systems.

Our 2-Day Course covers:

  • review more advanced versions of the skills above
  • refine movement on mushrooms, bulges
  • advanced movement on thin ice, pillars & overhangs
  • intro to turning sideways, flagging and drop knee on ice
  • advanced systems; multi-pitch ice anchors and belay transitions

Our 3-Day Course covers all of the above with an emphasis on:

  • drills & movement challenges that help you think on your feet quickly
  • problem-solving and managing unforeseen challenges.

Our 4-Day Course covers all of the above with an additional skills day:

Any of our 4 options would benefit you depending on your goals. If lead climbing or following multi-pitch climbs is in your future, consider our Rescue Workshop (see full description below).

Level 4: THE LEADER (Expert) 

You want to lead ice but you know that lead falls on ice are unacceptable. There are significant differences between being able to follow or lead an ice climb safely. Perhaps you have led an easy climb before, but you don’t know how to take it to the next level in your personal progression. We believe it is best for you to do your first ice leads with a guide by your side––for safety, immediate feedback, and reassurance. So at this step in your progression, your guide will be on a fixed rope by your side all the way.

Our 2-Day Course covers:

  • review the skills above in more advanced detail
  • gearing up; racking strategies, equipment selection & safety checks
  • lead strategy; reading the route, pacing, mindset and “what if” scenarios
  • mock leads; going through the motions with ample security
  • lead climb; if approved by your instructor, we help you select, plan and execute your lead

Our 3-Day Course covers all of the above with an emphasis on:

  • additional targeted practice of skills you need to lead confidently
  • focus on finding the best stances to place ice screws on lead
  • advanced anchoring and rappelling w/ the building of v-threads

Our 4-Day Course covers all of the above with an additional skills day:

We recommend either taking or re-taking the Rescue Workshop or the Alpine Skills (see full description below) option to help prepare you for leads in the backcountry.

Choose which program fits your needs here.

The Complete Chicks Clinic Skills Day

The third day of our 3-Day and 4-Day clinics is a skills day focused on techniques to help you move through your progression. You can choose from the following workshops:

Rescue Workshop

This is an in-depth look at systems. You will learn how to escape belay systems and how to lower a victim off a climb. You will also take a closer look at anchor and rappel systems. This workshop is appropriate for intermediate to advanced climbers.

Mixed Climbing Techniques

This is an introduction to the world of mixed climbing––the placement of tools and crampons on the rock with little or no ice. It is a very strenuous activity and an advanced intermediate to advanced level of ice climbing is recommended to enjoy and benefit most from this activity (rock climbing skills help also).

Alpine Skills

Take the next step in your progression. Spend the day outside the Ice Park on Red Mountain Pass on backcountry skis for an introduction to winter mountain-travel skills: basic avalanche awareness, terrain assessment, using an avalanche beacon, digging a snow cave and basic backcountry ski technique. No prior skill or experience needed. You will need backcountry skis, boots, poles, avalanche beacon, and shovel. If you do not own this gear, Ridgeway Adventure Sports has a ski and avalanche rental package which includes: skis, boots, poles, an avalanche beacon, and a shovel for $80.00/day.

More Ice Climbing

This is designed for those of you who just simply want to focus on ice climbing while you are here and would like to spend more time on the ice. The focus will be on your technique and getting you on the ice as much as possible. This workshop is appropriate for any of you.