Rifle Climbing Guides gear up for spring | PostIndependent.com

Rifle Climbing Guides gear up for spring

Rifle Climbing Guides training in Rifle Mountain Park.
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With the support of the city and an eager and experienced staff, Rifle Climbing Guides opened its doors this spring, offering a guide service for youth families, and tourists looking to climb on the Western Slope.

“We are very excited to offer year-round climbing and outdoor programs for participants of all ages and abilities,” said Joda Hankins, founder and owner of Rifle Climbing Guides. “We’ve put a lot of focus into providing more access to our local recreational resources such as Rifle Mountain Park and the surrounding area. There is a lot of terrain conducive to learning, and we’re looking forward to seeing how our trips progress.”

Living on the Western Slope provides for recreation activities that few in the world can experience, and Hankins and the rest of his team hope to get more residents and tourists to take advantage of it.

With one of the country’s most renowned climbs at their back door, Rifle Climbing Guides hopes get more locals up at Rifle Mountain Park, as well as attract climbing enthusiasts to the area.

While the plan is to grow the local climbing community to start, Hankins hopes to build the program throughout western Colorado and even into Utah.

“We hope to provide an outlet to get people more involved in the climbing scene locally,” Hankins said. “Everybody I have talked to at the city is really excited to have a local name year-round.”

In the past, Parachute Mayor Roy McClung has prioritized developing recreational activities throughout town, and the support Hankins has received from the Rifle Parks and Recreation and other departments shows that he is not alone in wanting to see more people get involved in climbing in the community.

Currently Rifle Climbing Guides is gearing up for its first climbing program in less than two weeks as it hopes to attract students and youth throughout Garfield County. The spring break program offered from March 20-25 provides students in the community a chance to get out and climb during their week off school.

Right now, there is no minimum number of climbers for a trip to be started as the program looks to be a personalized custom guide service for locals.

Rifle Climbing Guides includes five full-time guides, each with a strong background teaching and giving technical instruction on mountain terrain. All of the guides are certified in wilderness medicine.

While the program hopes to see climbers of all skill levels, it will be up to the climbers to choose where they climb, which route to climb and how difficult of a climb they want to make.

“It’s pretty incredible how diverse the climbing of this area is,” said Ray Hughes, professional guide and instructor. “There’s a lot of terrain in and beyond Rifle Mountain Park, and it’s great to see how fast you can improve your technique and movement by having so many different climbing options, winter ice climbing included.”

Anybody interested in signing up can go to rifleclimbingguides.com to register. Prices for the spring break program begin at $40 for one day and $150 for all five days.

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