Intro to rock climbing

For their fall expedition, the Third Graders tackle an important skill for children growing up in the mountains: real rock climbing. On this trip they learn basic safe climbing skills under the guidance of professional rock climbing instructors. They learn a variety of climbing knots and start out slowly on a gentle incline. Soon they are scrambling up steeper faces, always under the direct supervision of experienced guides. This trip often takes place on established climbing locales near Independence Pass, although depending on weather conditions, we also sometimes use routes near Rifle Falls State Park. Children learn many lessons in trust, communication, and perseverance through this classic mountain sport experience.

“Climb the mountains and get their good tidings,” wrote John Muir. Third Graders take this advice to heart on their fall trip, when all their years of bouldering and scrambling lead to the exciting moment when they clip into a rope for a careful ascent. With plenty of guidance and coaching, they are soon at the top of the route. Rappelling down is just as much fun. They return home from this trip with new confidence.

Sample packing list

In a duffle bag

  • hiking shoes/sturdy trail runners
  • extra pair of shoes in case the first get wet
  • sleeping bag with stuff sack
  • sleeping pad (best are the ridged foam kind that don’t need to be inflated)
  • backpack for day hike
  • wide-mouthed plastic water bottle (1 qt. Nalgene-style)
  • 1 small sunscreen
  • 1 chapstick
  • toothbrush & travel-size toothpaste
  • sunglasses
  • headlamp or small flashlight
  • 1 wool polypro long-sleeved undershirt
  • 1 t-shirt
  • 1 pair of hiking shorts
  • 1 pair of long pants
  • 2 pairs underwear
  • warm jacket (down or ski jacket)
  • hat with a visor
  • 1 pair lightweight gloves
  • 1 winter hat for warmth
  • rain jacket & rain pants
  • 2 pairs of wool socks
  • 1 warm fleece layer
  • 1 pair long underwear
  • TWO face masks
  • TWO days of lunches and snacks

Complete instructions and staffing lists arrive via ParentSquare shortly before each trip. At least one certified Wilderness First Responder accompanies every expedition. NOLS Risk Services of the National Outdoor Leadership School has recently completed a comprehensive analysis of policies and procedures for the Outdoor Education program at Aspen Country Day School. This program operates under special use permit from the USDA Forest Service, White River National Forest.