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How to Rock Climb in Colorado, Even If You've Never Done It Before

April 29, 2014 at 1:19 PM | by | Comments (0)

Typically, Colorado tourists seeking adventure stick to hiking, biking, skiing, or camping, mostly because they are activities that seem realistic for those coming from out of town. For reasons of perceived practicality, one of Colorado’s most adrenaline pumping sports, rock climbing, isn’t even considered to be an option by the casual visitor. Most people assume they’re not cut out for it.

This writer was in that category himself not too long ago. I mean, really, climb the face of a mountain without any prior experience? Then I discovered a climbing outfitter, who, believe it or not, made this dream a reality after only a day’s worth of training. I showed up in Colorado not knowing the first thing about rock climbing, and two days later I was standing at the summit of the gateway to the west.

The town of Boulder, north of Denver, is considered one of the top places in the world to rock climb due to its multiple types of rock and beautiful formations, including the iconic Flatirons, shown in the cover photo. Outfitters such as Colorado Mountain School offer an entry-level program for beginning climbers that consists of two parts over two days.

Day one is a training session in the gym that teaches all the basics, including the lingo, equipment, and techniques of climbing. On day two, your guide takes you on an outdoor climb where you apply what you learned the previous day. Although the climb is very controlled by your guide, the amazing thing is that you get to tackle one of the most novel routes in the state: The aforementioned Flatirons. On my second day of climbing ever, I summited the First Flatiron, the one all the way to the right in the cover photo.

The opportunity is absolutely incredible for visitors to Colorado, to not only safely experience one of the state’s alternative adventure sports, but to conquer the Rockies in a way that they never thought feasible. I loved it for the fact that I was able to do something I assumed was impossible at a novice level, something I thought would require weeks of training in a gym. That is, without question, what made it so special. The views were icing on the cake.

For more information on pricing and programs, check out Colorado Mountain School’s website.

[Photos: Will McGough]

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