Technical Climbing – Denver Group

The Technical Climbing School of the Denver group handles classes and schools that involve technical climbing of rock, snow, ice, and alpine peaks.

Technical climbing for the Denver group is climbing that requires ropes or other climbing gear to negotiate terrain that would not otherwise be safely traveled by foot.

Classes can be taken whenever time and resources allow.
That is, students need not commit to a full school in order to take classes.
However, some of those classes can be combined to form a school.

Tech School Classes and Programs

The Technical Climbing School (TCS) offers a set of technical programs, or “tracks”, that teach students the skills that will allow them to achieve various technical climbing objectives in an alpine environment that involve climbing rock faces, snow couloirs, and/or waterfall ice.
TCS offers the following tracks:

Rock Track

  • Pre-requisites: none
  • Classes: Basic Rock, Intermediate Rock, Sport Lead Climbing, Rock Seconding, Basic Anchors, Advanced Anchors, Trad Lead Climbing, Basic Rock Rescue, Advanced Rock Rescue

Ice Track

  • Pre-requisites: Intermediate Rock
  • Classes: Basic Ice, Technical Ice Leading

Alpine Climbing Track

Applications are open for ACS 2019! Take a look here!

  • Pre-requisites: Wilderness Trekking School (WTS) or equivalent skills, which includes Basic Navigation and Basic Snow, and a ‘C’ Hiker classification.

    Basic Alpine Climbing School (Basic ACS, formerly Basic Mountaineering School, BMS) provides you with the skills needed to participate safely on CMC technical mountaineering climbs within Colorado in all weather conditions. These skills include navigation and route finding, trip planning and organizing, rock climbing skills for following on fifth class routes, and snow couloir climbing skills with crampons and mountaineering axes.

    Basic ACS components are: Advanced Navigation, Basic Rock, Intermediate Rock, Technical Snow, Couloir Climb, and High Peak Climb.

    Note that Basic ACS is the pre-requisite for qualification for a Denver ‘D’ Hiker classification.

    There are two options for completing Basic ACS:

    • ACS Team Option: you will join a team of like-minded climbers who choose to commit to completing Basic ACS as a single, continuous program. This is the recommended track, as it provides the best opportunity to tackle alpine objectives as a team and to meet like-minded climbers who may well turn into regular climbing partners. You must be able to commit to the established class and trip schedule in order to register for the Team Track.
    • ACS Modular Option: for those who cannot commit to completing Basic ACS in a single climbing year, you may opt to complete Basic ACS by taking all the individual components that comprise the Basic ACS program (including a Couloir Climb and High Peak Climb). You may register for each component based on how it fits into your schedule, and completion will likely take more than one year.

    Click here for more details and information about ACS on

    Applications are open for ACS 2019! Take a look here!

    Intermediate Alpine Climbing School: Basic ACS plus Basic Rock Rescue, Basic Ice, and Basic Anchors. Note that Intermediate ACS is the pre-requisite for qualification for the High Altitude Mountaineering School (HAMS) program.

    Advanced Alpine Climbing School: Intermediate ACS plus Technical Ice Leading, Advanced Rock Rescue, Advanced Anchors, Trad Lead Climbing.

The goal of the Alpine Climbing Schools is to graduate members who can safely and competently complete technical climbs in the alpine backcountry. As a result, ACS is a physically and psychologically demanding school for CMC members who are interested in high peak climbing or technical alpine climbing on rock, snow, and/or ice. It teaches the knowledge and skills they need to pursue these sports safely and sensibly, and it gives them an appreciation of their strengths and limitations with an understanding and respect for the mountain environment. These objectives are achieved through a time-intensive schedule of lectures and field trips. Significant personal effort (reading, trip planning, knot practice etc.) outside of class is also required. Prospective students must attend all lectures and field trips and are encouraged to postpone applying until their schedule permits. Prospective students must be able to climb 1000 vertical feet per mile/hour carrying a 30 lb pack to be able to participate in field trips successfully.

For more information on classes offered by the Technical Climbing School:
Technical School Classes

For additional information, contact the CMC Office at