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The quiet solitude of Lake City matches the sometimes record breaking cold where even the molecules of air seem to shut down for winter. Yet there is an abundance of backcountry recreation as well as beginner ice climbing to be had for much of the winter. With a few dozen climbs in the park it's not as crowded as nearby Ouray or Silverton with an air of seriousness and isolation to be founded in limited supply in much of the continental United States.

The Lake City Ice Park, located on the edge of town is a great location for new ice climbers or anyone who wants to get a lot of pitches of climbing. Once the river freezes in late November or early December it's time to enjoy these frozen creations. Featuring climbs up to two hundred feet and from WI3 to WI5 there is climbing for every skill level.

For those with a little more experience the backcountry ice climbs in this part of the San Juans feel epically isolated. For many climbs you'll never see another party and even on the popular routes you may only see one or two other parties in an entire weekend. 

Lake City Ice Park and Backcountry Climbing

Lake City Ice Climbing Information


Ice climbing in the Lake City Ice Park usually starts in mid to late December while backcountry ice climbing can start pretty reliably around late November. Ice climbing in the Lake City Ice Park can last til later in March until the river starts to open while backcountry ice climbing can last til May in good years. To avoid hazardous avalanche conditions early season ice and late season ice can be prefered for the backcountry

Guided Trip Rates

1 Guide Half Day (4 hours) Regular Day (6 hours) Full Day (8 hours)
1 Guest $329 $389 $449
2 Guests $269 $329 $389
3 Guests $219 $269 $329
4 Guests $169 $219 $269
2 guides to keep low ratios for the best experience!
5-8 Guests $139 $169 $219

Rate Information:

Rates are per person, e.g. 3 people for a Regular Day would be $269/person for a total of $807. Trip start times are custom but generally we recommend 9AM starts for most ice climbing December through March for best use of time and ice conditions.

Discount Information: We appreciate our guests but discounts are limited to the following and cannot be combined with any other offer.

Early Bird Discounts and Last Chance Pricing: Book early and save! Schedule any rock climbing trip a month or more in advance for a 10% discount. Any trip booked with less than 48 hours notice incur a $100 convenience fee.

Bundle Pricing: The ultimate way to get started climbing! Purchase 3 or more days of climbing guiding or instruction at once for a 10% discount. Schedule at your convenience.

Lake City is a small mountain community located about an hour south of Gunnison near the southern part of the state. While the Gunnison airport does have flights in winter they're fairly limited making the Colorado Springs or Grand Junction airports the nearest flights, both about three hours away.

Typical Meeting Location:

Aside from the Ice Park, Lake City also has a number of great backcountry ice climbs. These are serious climbs with significant approaches, serious avalanche hazards, and sometimes fickle conditions.

Climb Name Climb Description
Cotton Mouth (WI3, 3 pitches) With a moderate approach and moderate climbing this is a nice climb that has less avalanche hazard than other climbs and another couple climbs nearby to make it worth the approach. A few pitches of ice lead to a moderate headwall of M5 mixed climbing then snow for an alpine climb that can be taken to the summit. Cotton Mouth
Sherman Route (WI4, 6 pitches) Just above the old Sherman townsite this obvious route looms over the valley. Fed by a large avalanche bowl this climb comes in earlier and more reliably than other climbs in the area. When avalanche conditions allow a full ascent to the summit can be a demanding alpine route while a variety of variations on the first pitch can make for a number of topropes before the ice park has opened. Sherman Route
Open Casket (WI5, 4 pitches) A stout climb with a stout approach is reserved for the dedicated ice climber. With a south facing aspect and other variations nearby this is a great area to spend a few days ski touring and climbing deep into winter. Open Casket

Trips Include

-Group climbing equipment (ropes, carabiners, etc).

-Individual climbing equipment (harness, helmet, climbing shoes, and belay devices).

-Guide with AMGA Training and Certification for climbing and instruction.

Trip Excludes

-Transportation to climbing sites or any sort of lodging.

-Guide gratuities.

-Personal clothing and footwear.

-Personal snacks and water.

-Trip Insurance

-Other costs not associated with services provided by The Colorado Climbing Company.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

If for some reason you need to cancel your course or trip outside of 30 days you will receive a full refund less service charges to cover our costs incurred. For trips less than $500 this service charge is $50 and for those more than $500 this service charge is $100 or 10% of the trip cost, whichever is greater. If you must cancel within 30 days of the course or trip a refund of 50% will be given. All balances are due in full before the start of any course or trip and no refunds will be given beyond the course or trip date. In the case of unsafe conditions, weather or other circumstances beyond our control we will do our best to reschedule or issue a credit for a future trip. If this isn't possible you will receive a refund less the previously outlined service charges.