Youth Mountaineering Camps

Over the years we have found that being exposed to the mountain environment at a young age leaves a lasting and lifelong love of the outdoors as well as developing a self-confidence that stays forever.

In Rocky Mountain National Park and the Indian Peaks Wilderness, we’ll carefully chose peak ascents geared to the individual skills within the group that will require technical climbing instruction in both snow and rock to reach the summit. Skills are taught in the field and then put into practice during peak ascents. Expect to be sharing the lead, solving route finding problems and fully involved in decision making. These mountaineering camps cover a wide range of skill development.

KMAC Guides certified in Leave No Trace and Interpretation will be “all in” for this challenging week of mountaineering instruction.  While this is a very physical mountaineering course, previous snow climbing, rock climbing or backpacking skills are not required for participation. However, students should be in good physical shape and be able to carry a 30lb pack.

IMG_4635.jpg resize.jpg 75Note: For full immersion in the climbing camps we have scheduled them to run consecutively to allow for a full 2 week camp. Students do not need to have taken beginner camps to enroll in the intermediate or advanced camps. Bring one or more friends and set up your own “private” climbing camp with one of the kmac guides if camp dates do not suit your summer schedule. For even more rope management training , rigging system practice, and just plain fun, students might even have the chance to set up and spend the night on the porta ledges at the KMAC camp rock site!

Throughout the year we get calls and emails from parents asking very similar questions:

“My son/daughter has been climbing indoors and is doing quite well. They’ve done a little climbing outside, and are interested in more outdoor instruction. They are very excited about rock climbing and I want to make sure they start off on the “right foot”. What do you have for that?”

I’ve included an excerpt of one of my email responses below:

“The climbing camps are very well suited for students like your daughter who have climbed indoors and want to take those skills outside. All of the climbing at KMAC is done outside on real rock. Having a very low student to guide ratio (sometimes as low as 2: 1) we are able to work closely with each student and tailor the course for each group. Every day, students go to a different rock site. We immerse them in the climbing experience. Evenings are used for slide shows, reviewing video, reading about climbing, and working with gear in the rocks around camp. There is multi-pitch climbing which requires belay stance changes and other advanced skills. We gear the camp directly to each participant’s skill level. There are usually 4 -6 students in each camp.”

Departures and Returns

All courses originate and end from KMAC’s headquarters on Deer Ridge in Estes Park. We provide pickup and drop-off at Denver International Airport for students arriving by plane.

Participants traveling by car should arrive in Estes Park at 11:00am on the course starting date. Lunch will be provided at KMAC. Pick-up time is 11:00am on the course ending date.

Participants traveling by air should schedule their arrival at Denver International Airport between 8:00am and 11:00am on the course starting date. A KMAC employee will meet your child at the airport. Departing flights should depart DIA between 8:00am and 11:00am on the course return date. Please contact KMAC before making flight reservations.  Additional airport pick up and drop off fees may apply.


Upcoming Youth Mountaineering Camps Schedule

Youth Mountaineering Camp 1

Friday, June 30thThursday, July 6th

1 Person–$1,325.00

(Ages: 12 – 14, 15 – 17)   From the KMAC basecamp in Estes Park, we’ll venture out into Rocky Mountain National Park daily to begin our skills training for mountaineering. We start with rock climbing basics. Once these skills are mastered only then do we move into snow climbing. Crampon and ice axe use will be taught and practiced in order to prepare for a number of peak ascent possibilities; some of which include Longs Peak, McHenrys Peak, Arrowhead and many more.

June 30:   Arrive at Kent Mountain Adventure Center. Equipment issue. Equipment check. Rock climbing instruction in the afternoon. Camp at KMAC.

July 1: Rock climbing instruction and skills practice all day.

July 2: Snow school. We’ll head into Rocky Mountain National travelling up the highest continuous paved road in the US; Trail Ridge Road, (12,000 feet). Even in summer, we’ll find plenty of snow to work on snow climbing techniques.

July 3: Mountain ascent.

July 4: Rock climbing.

July 5: Longs Peak ascent.  North Face route.

July 6: Final group meetings. Pack up. Students depart KMAC 11:00am

For extra rope management training , rigging system practice, and just plain fun, students will have the chance to set up and spend the night on the porta ledges at the KMAC camp rock site.

You’ll learn the kmac approach that identifies each aspect of a climbing situation. This involves planning, critical thinking, and analysis of each system before proceeding.

Consider enrolling in this course after having completed the Beginner or Intermediate Rock Climbing Camp either in previous years or concurrently in the same season. Don’t forget that coming to this camp with a friend is a great way to become life-long climbing partners. We encourage this. Learning together is fun and helps a great deal as material is presented that students can talk about and share at a later date. Minimum number of students: 2.


Youth Mountaineering Camp 2

Monday, July 17thMonday, July 24th

1 Person–$1,520.00

(Ages:  12- 14, 15 – 17)  Here in our Rocky Mountains there sits, tucked back deep on the Continental Divide a mountain seldom climbed. The mighty Elks Tooth, requiring technical climbing skills in both snow and rock to reach the summit. This mountaineering camp will cover a wide range of skill development including crampon and ice axe use.

July 17: Arrive at Kent Mountain Adventure Center. Equipment issue. Equipment check. Rock climbing instruction in the afternoon. Camp at KMAC.

July 18: Pack up. Depart Indian Peaks Wilderness trailhead. Map and compass lesson. Begin hiking. Hike approximately 6 miles into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Set up base camp approximately 9000 feet. Dinner. Evening discussion and planning

July 19: Snow school. Ice axe and crampon use. Rope safety and anchors.

July 20: Rock and mixed climbing school.

July 21: Alpine start! Time to put techniques to use for an ascent of the Elks Tooth. After ascending the initial snow slope, we will stay roped up for the spectacular traverse of the narrow ridge to the summit. Great views in all directions. Return to basecamp. Dinner. Evening discussion.

July 22: Break camp. Hike out to trailhead. Drive back to KMAC basecamp. Celebration feast and showers!

July 23: Multi Pitch climbing or bouldering.

July 24: Final group meetings. Pack up. Students depart KMAC 11:00am

Students will complete both camps with a strong foundation in fundamental mountaineering skills including:

  • Snow School: Movement on snow and walking and climbing with Crampons
  • Snow and Ice Anchors
  • Snow Safety – Rope Use for snow, ice, and Mixed Terrain meteorology