Choosing the Right Rock / Ice Climbing Vacation
Considering the high risk level involved with climbing, the activity can be incredibly expensive. The price is usually well deserved though. A tour operator is in charge of your safety when climbing a mountain and most do everything in their power and take every precaution necessary to ensure your safety. This means the best equipment, proper communications tools, and the background knowledge of the history of a particular region and knowing how others have failed. Your best chance to climb a difficult rock face is with the best operators.
Like most other excursions there is a wide variety of climbing tours. The quality of tours differs tremendously. Some might have gourmet meals and the latest high-tech equipment, while others include just the bare necessities. For safety concerns you should always check out every operator, perhaps contacting previous clients. Their past safety should be inspected thoroughly.
Suggested Tour Operators
- Outward Bound (http://www.outwardboundwilderness.org, Tel. +720-497-2340)
- Outward Bound has more than 500 different adventure activities and course in its catalog, with numerous 8-12 day courses in rock climbing located throughout the United States.
- Paragon Climbing Instruction (http://www.paragonclimbing.com, Tel. +888-412-5462)
- This Utah based climbing school offers climbs on more than 1500 different established routes at 50 different sites across the country. Numerous courses available for all skill levels.
You should never go climbing alone for numerous safety reasons, that’s why some find going with a tour group reassuring. However, many climbing trips are done with a small group of friends or local clubs. There are many pre-existing bolted routes on rock faces around the world. Chances are if it has been climbed before there are either bolts or holes to insert your bolts. To get to a climb there’s a good chance you need to hike or drive there. Guidebooks or websites will often reveal exactly where you need to go. Everything else from airfare to hotels can be booked online or directly without the help and fees of a travel agent. If you lack your own equipment you can always rent gear from a local tour operator or equipment store. Sometimes the price just makes it easier to book the full tour that includes the gear, but other times renting makes considerable sense and can get you higher quality gear than you may be able to afford.