Vail Colorado Rock Climbing

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Rock Climbing

When climbing enthusiasts arrive in Vail Valley looking for some rock climbing and mountaineering adventures, they discover an array of challenging climbing areas only minutes from town.

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  • Vail Valley offers some challenging climbs only minutes from town
  • Ice climbing is also popular around East Vail
  • A wide variety of climbs in the Gore Range will provide hours of adventures
  • Rent any needed equipment from local outfitters
  • A guided climb can ensure your outing is safe


With a number of climbing areas within a few minutes drive of downtown Vail, it’s no wonder the area is considered one of the better climbing and mountaineering destinations in the state. If you are looking to get closer to the vertical world, summer visitors can lace up and ascend what the Vail Valley has to offer while winter travelers will enjoy the challenge and fun of ice climbing.

Where to go Climbing/Mountaineering

One of the more popular areas to climb is the Red Cliff area, which offers a variety of climbing and is only a short 15-minute drive outside of Vail. With world-renowned ice formations located in East Vail, there is something for the beginner to expert climber. And there are more!

Peak C
This magnificent mountain is in the Gore Range and is Class 4 moderate skill level. There are several routes to ascend, and the climber will find steep snow climbs. The length of the climb is 10.3 miles out-and-back and will take 11 hours plus.

East Partner Peak
This moderate Class 3 climb on solid rock provides wonderful views of the peaks of the Gore Range. The season for climbing here is from June to October. Climbers start out on a nice trail hike to Pitkin Lake.

West Partner Peak (South Ridge)
Another moderate Class 3 climb with an easy trail approach. This is a 10-mile out-and-back adventure near Bighorn, Colorado.

Grand Traverse
This climb is appropriately named as it crosses the skyline at the head of Bighorn Canyon. It takes in two separate peaks (North Traverse and Grand Traverse) and offers access to some of the most scenic canyons in these mountains. This is a Class 4 hard climb of 10 hours not including the approach.

Peak L
A moderate Class 4 climb of 6 hours, this climb is for experts. Trailhead elevation is 10,853 feet with the top elevation at 13,213 feet.

Hire a Guide

The best place to start your rock climbing experiences in the area is to hire a guide through one of the handful of professional guiding services. No matter your skill level, the climbs are tailored to fit your ability and experience. If you don’t have your own climbing gear, outfitters will provide all the necessary equipment.

In the winter, ice climbing is very popular in the area. Again, the best way to ensure a safe climb is to hire a guide through a guiding service. You can check the listings on this page to find an outfitter who will give you an adventure of a lifetime.

Other Rock Climbing Resources

Access Fund

Learn how to climb and conserve climbing at the same time.