Climbing – Rocky Mountain National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

Climbing in RMNP

Climbing in RMNP

NPS

Climbing has been a popular activity in and around the area known today as Rocky Mountain National Park since the 1800’s. The wide variety of peaks and granite rock formations in the park provide excellent opportunities for a wide spectrum of climbing including traditional alpine climbing, big wall, bouldering, snow and ice, and mountaineering.

Today, Rocky Mountain National Park is a place that calls to local climbers as well as those from all around the world.

Opportunities for climbing exist in many areas of the park from Lumpy Ridge to Longs Peak and other high alpine mountains. Whichever activity you select, it is your responsibility to respect the areas you visit, minimize your impacts, and know and obey all park regulations.

 

Permits

A climbing permit is not required for climbing and mountaineering, but climbers on overnight trips must have a backcountry camping permit to camp or bivouac. Contact the Wilderness Office at 970-586-1242 for information on permit procedures, backcountry conditions, and climbing regulations. For information on the west side of the park, call the Kawuneeche Visitor Center Wilderness Office at 970-586-1521.

To enter all areas of Rocky Mountain National Park from May 27 to October 10, 2022 a Timed Entry Permit Reservation is required in addition to a valid park pass. For all details and for links to RMNP’s Recreation.gov page, visit the park’s Timed Entry Permit webpage.

Climbing Ethics

All visitors who climb in RMNP are asked to take personal responsibility for the care of the fragile resources we all love. To accomplish this goal, please adopt this code of ethics for low impact climbing and share it with your fellow climbers:

  • Accept responsibility for yourself and others.
  • Use wag bags and pack out all human waste. Use toilets when available.
  • Carry out all climbing gear. Stashed ropes, rock protection, and bouldering pads are considered abandoned property as well as trash. Leaving climbing gear behind harms wildlife, damages wilderness areas, and is illegal.
  • Use existing access trails to approach climbs. Tread lightly when this is not possible, walking on durable surfaces. Avoid short-cutting trails which causes erosion and plant damage.
  • Know and respect historic and environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Be considerate of wildlife and other users.
  • Leave the rock and its environs in its natural condition. Avoid placing permanent protection and altering the rock in other ways such as chipping and gluing.
  • Renew your commitment to follow Leave No Trace principles.
  • Know and abide by local regulations.

Conditions

Mountain conditions are often vastly different from those in the valley. Snow often stays in the mountains until mid-July. Afternoon storms can pop up without warning and bring lightning, rain, and hail to the peaks. Rockfall can quickly change a route. Conditions in the mountains can change suddenly.

Always be prepared when traveling in the high country.

  • Check conditions before heading out
  • Pack for variable and changing weather
  • Let someone know your plans, and what route you plan to take and stick to your plan.
  • Be prepared to turn around if conditions worsen, if you are not feeling well, or if members of your party are ready to turn back. It is always ok to turn around and try another day.

For more information on lightning safety when climbing, visit theLightning Safety page

 

Learn More:

  • A climber is climbing on the Chasm View Raps

    Climbing Regulations

    A climber is climbing on the Chasm View Raps

  • View of climbing Long Peak via the Keyhole Route

    Learn about Climbing Longs Peak

    View of climbing the Keyhole Route to the summit of Longs Peak

  • A view of the McHenry Bivy Site

    Wilderness Bivouac Sites

    Learn about Wilderness Technical Climbing Bivouac Zones

  • Image of visitor being rescued by Search and Rescue

    Climbing Safety

    Climbing Safety

  • Weather

    What’s the Weather Like?

    Weather and temperatures can vary greatly in Rocky Mountain National Park. Take the time to know the upcoming forecast for the park.

  • View of an avalanche slide above Dream Lake

    Avalanche Awareness

    View of an avalanche slide above Dream Lake

  • Red-tailed Hawk perched on top of a pine tree

    Raptor Closures

    Learn about Raptor Closures

  • View of Rock Mountain Peaks

    All About Leave No Trace

    Leave No Trace when recreating in Rocky Mountain National Park

  • Three tents are set up in a designated wilderness campsite

    Overnight Backpacking Wilderness Permits

    Learn all about overnight backpacking camping permits

 

Guiding and Concessionaire Activities

If you are interested in learning climbing, advancing your knowledge or would like a guide, several concessionaires are authorized to lead trips in Rocky Mountain National Park. Visit the park’s Commercial Use Authorization webpage for information

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