Frequently Asked Questions
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When is the best time of year to enjoy climbing and rafting? Southern Colorado has beautiful weather for outdoor activities year-round. River rafting and ice climbing are seasonal and rock climbing can be booked anytime. Rafting - The Rio Grande river flows at different levels that are dependent on several factors including snow pack, rain, and withdrawals for agricultural uses. The peak season for whitewater rafting is May and June, with opportunities to float the river in late summer as well. Ice climbing - Natural ice formations are a result of cold temperatures during winter months. A typical ice climbing season is December - March. Rock climbing - We rock climb all year long. The most popular time to rock climb in the San Luis Valley is June - October when the weather is typically sunny and warm. Fall is a fantastic time to enjoy climbing while viewing the changing leaves and generally mild temperatures.
Where do I go for my trip? Narrow Ridge trips are located in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. Our adventures make great day trips for those located in South Fork, Creede, Pagosa Springs, Del Norte, Alamosa, and more Colorado and New Mexico towns. All river trips meet and end at our headquarters next to 8200 Mountain Sports located in South Fork, CO. For climbing trips, we typically meet at the selected crag once decided upon with your guide. Rafting trips are on various sections of the Upper Rio Grande river. Ice climbing locations are on or near Wolf Creek pass and vary based on weather and the skill of participants. There are several rock climbing locations within 45 minutes of South Fork.
Who can participate? Are there age restrictions? We love to guide all types of participants on outdoor adventures. Families, couples, senior citizens, and those with special needs can enjoy rafting and climbing. However, there are age and weight restrictions as well as physical requirements for specific activities that should be considered. Children 17 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult (unless participating in a specific program) and you must be over 8 years old to participate in climbing or rappelling activities. On Full Day raft trips, we strongly recommend that children be 10 years of age or older. Little ones can have a harder time being in the raft on a longer trip. If someone in your group needs special accomodations, please contact us in advance.
Are climbing and rafting activities safe? Outdoor recreation is fun, exciting, and challenging. Rock climbing, ice climbing, and whitewater rafting all have inherent risks. These risks are managed by using appropriate equipment and techniques with well-trained guides. Safety guidelines are reviewed as part of orientation for all participants, and every precaution is taken to mitigate risks. We encourage you to share any concerns and ask questions before during and after your trip. The safety of our guests is a priority at Narrow Ridge. All participants must review our Terms and Conditions and sign our Liability Release form.
What makes my guide qualified to lead my trip? Sharing our love for outdoor activities is why we established Narrow Ridge. We take our role as your instructor and guide very seriously. All river guides must meet the standards set by the state of Colorado. This includes a minimum of 50 hours of training, CPR, and First Aid certifications. With Narrow Ridge, we exceed these minimum requirments. Our river guides complete over 80 hours of training and most of our guides hold a Swiftwater Rescue certification. In additon, our guides must hold a current Wilderness First Aid certification plus. Our climbing guides have a minumum of two years guiding experience. All climbing trips include one or more guides trained and or certified by the American Mountain Guides Association. In additon, our team is passionate about outdoor recreation. As stated in our company values, we actively engage in the stewardship of our natural environment, we have fun outdoors, and we strive for excellence. Owner and head guide, Curt Howell, has more than 20 years of experience leading and managing outdoor recreation programming and an extensive list of training and certifications. The entire team has the technical knowledge and experience to provide outstanding experiences for our guests.
Should I tip my guide? Our goal is to provide you with the best experience possible. If your guide did an outstanding job then a tip is greatly appreciated!
What should I wear on my trip? What should I bring? Colorado weather is unpredictable, so we always recommend being prepared for anything. Once you register for your trip, you’ll receive recommendations for what to bring and what not to bring on your trip. For climbing trips, you will also be contacted in advance of your trip to discuss weather conditions and be provided a packing list. Below are some general recommendations for our activities: River Rafting - You will get wet! Swimsuits or quick-dry synthetic clothing as well as sandals that attach securely to your feet are recommended. Bring dry clothes for after your trip and leave your valuables behind. We provide life jackets and paddles. Rock Climbing - Comfortable clothing that allows your body to move freely gives you the best experience. We recommend light, breathable fabrics in layers that can easily be removed or added. Bring a backpack with water, snacks, and a raincoat, and wear comfortable, clothes-toed shoes or hiking boots. We provide technical gear such as climbing shoes, harness, and helmet. Ice Climbing - As the name implies, this is a cold-weather activity. Layers are especially important during Colorado winters. We recommend a comfortable baselayer, an insulated mid-layer, and a waterproof coat and pants. Bring a warm hat, gloves, and socks as well as a backpack with water and snacks. We provide the technical gear including ice tools, harness, boots, and hemet. Each trip is unique, so when booking you will receive a welcome email that includes all the details of your experience.
Is alcohol allowed on my trip? No. Alcohol is strictly prohibited on Narrow Ridge trips. Our private guided rock and ice trips, however, may wrap up the day at one of our local pubs, taprooms, or resturants where guests could choose to have a drink.
What skills do I need to participate? Narrow Ridge offers fun and exciting adventures for a variety of skill levels. No previous experience is required to participate in a rock climbing, ice climbing, or river rafting activity. More challenging climbing routes and custom trips are an option for those with more advanced skills. Most outdoor recreation can be physically demanding at times. For example, on the river, we teach all guests to paddle and at times guests need to paddle. It is always possible that a guest may find themselves in the river which is cold and may require a short swim back to the boat or to shore. Your guide will review the itinerary and discuss options to ensure participants get the best experience possible. All activities offered have inherent risks and safety is always our priority. Check our Terms & Conditions for more information and review our Liability Waiver carefully.
Should I take a Wilderness Medicine Course? Wilderness Medicine Training is designed to teach students how to prevent and manage medical issues in the outdoors. Anyone who participates in outdoor recreation will benefit from a Wilderness Medicine course. Wilderness First Aid (WFA) courses provide hands-on training for those who may need to care for someone in a remote location with no cell phone service. Students learn skills that benefit everyone who participates in outdoor activities. Wilderness First Responder courses are designed for outdoor professionals, those who embark on multi-day personal trips, and those who take part in high-risk activities. However, anyone who is interested in learning more about wilderness medicine will benefit.