Training for Alpine Climbing IMMERSION






 December 29-31, 2016




$ 595.00 p.p.


This class is a unique opportunity, available only from Skyward Mountaineering. We bring together Training for the New Alpinism co-authors Steve House and Scott Johnston to combine top-notch instruction, fitness training, and climbing-specific training in Ouray’s famous Ice Park. No prior experience with physical training is necessary.


Day one:

We begin at 8:00am with a joint-lecture by Steve House and Scott Johnston, co-authors of Training for the New Alpinism in which they teach you the primary principles and structure needed for successful training for climbing and endurance sport. This is followed by a 2-hour gym session to learn and engrain correct physical movement patterns in several of the fundamental exercises.

Lunch is followed by a training lecture by Scott Johnston. After a short break we spend the remainder of the afternoon learning the basics of building a customized self-coached training program that fits your goals and time constraints.

An evening presentation by Vince Anderson will follow dinner. Vince’s stories of winter climbing in Colorado, Canada, and Norway will illustrate both equipment and climbing strategies developed and used over the course of many successful climbs.

Day two:

The second morning will take advantage of our proximity to the Ouray Ice Park to go climbing and evaluate each participant’s fitness as it relates to trainable aspects of climbing-specific strength and endurance. Using top-rope belays we will climb and conduct drills to improve your specific ice and/or mixed climbing efficiency. We will eat lunch while climbing, before re-convening at our classroom-space for a lecture by Scott Johnston that prepares us for the days’ final exercise, writing individualized eight-week training programs for each participant.

The evening presentation by Steve House will share a story of a high-altitude Himalayan ascent taking the time to explain their approach to acclimatization, rest, nutrition, and hydration. A final discussion of mental training will give you a variety of tools to see you through the coming training and prepare you for your next climbing goal.

Day three:

We start with a lecture covering advanced endurance and strength training knowledge you will need beyond 8-weeks of training. This is followed with a gym-session that will introduce strength training exercises and include a 1-hour workout. After a well-deserved lunch-break we will hold lectures on nutrition and high-altitude climbing. A group-review of each student’s planned training, with opportunities to amend and complete each individual’s training plan will finish the day.

This list may be adjusted by your guide based on the venue and time of season.

Download and Print Gear List

• Climbing harness with belay/rappel and gear loops.
• Climbing helmet
• Belay device
• 2 locking carabiners
• Crampons for technical climbing (step in, not strap on)
• Technical ice axes, preferably with hammers NOT adzes.
• Ice Ax tethers (optional)
• Climbing boots (full shank, stiff, mountaineering boots, NO leather hiking boots) these can be rented in Ouray.
• Hooded shell jacket
• Technical climbing pants (soft or hard shell).
• Synthetic long underwear top and bottoms (two different layer options for legs is optional)
• Synthetic mid-weight top (slightly heavier than the above layer)
• Heavy fleece or sweater top (having a layer system for your upper body is helpful,
• temperatures vary and it’s nice to have layering options)
• Warm Insulating Parka to be worn over outer layer.
• Warm hat which you can wear under your helmet.
• Neck gaiter: optional, but nice to have on cold days
• 2-3 pairs of good fitting, non-bulky, warm gloves and mittens: Gloves/mittens often get wet or damp and it is nice to have a back-up pair. Be leery of ski gloves: they can often have too much material in the palms for climbing.
• Thin liner gloves: optional, nice for when you take your gloves off, you can still
• manipulate gear with out your hands getting too cold.
• Wool socks to wear in climbing boots (a thin pair of liner socks is optional for those
• who tend to get cold feet)
• Sunglasses and sunscreen
• A 20-30 liter day pack to carry extra clothes, water and food for the day
• Small headlamp
• Water bottle or thermos: you should have one to two quart/liter capacity
• Lunch/snack food (when climbing in the ice park, it is possible to go into town for a lunch)
• Camera!
• Bathing suit for hot springs
Let us know what you DO NOT have. We may have it.

Ropes, protection, slings and other team technical equipment.

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We recommend, after a rest day, that students take advantage of their acclimatization and location to tick a few classic Colorado ice climbs like Bird Brain Boulevard, Bridalveil Falls, Ames Ice Hose etc. We are happy to pair up climbers who have similar objectives.

Private Guiding available at 590.639.9913

While this immersive course is meant to be more intellectual than physical in nature, it will help to be practiced and familiar with strength training. Follow this program twice per week at your local gym and you’ll come tuned up and ready. Add 3-5% more weight each week, assuming you complete the circuit twice per week. After three to four weeks you may feel like going through all of this twice:

Training Immersion Prep:

Once through “Scott’s Killer Core Routine”, 10-12 reps (or 10-12 second hold) of each of the following:

  • Strict Sit-up
  • Hitler’s Dog
  • Windshield Wipers
  • Plank Pose
  • Kayaker
  • Pushups
  • Hanging Leg Raise
  • Bridge
  • L-Sit
  • Side-Plank


Rest five minutes, and then, 10-12 reps (or 10-12 second hold) of each of the following:

  • Turkish Get-ups
  • Split-Squat
  • Pull-ups
  • Wall-facing Squats
  • Isometric Ice-Tool Hangs
  • Dips
  • Back-Squats (or a variation)
  • Incline Pull-ups

Participant prerequisites

Participants must have prior rock and alpine climbing experience. They should also be fit enough to carry a 20 pound pack uphill for an hour at a steady pace and lift moderate weight overhead without difficulty or pain.

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Do you have questions? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call. If we are not immediately available, we are outside climbing, skiing or exploring the wilderness. Leave us a message and we will call you back.

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