Get out there with Outdoor Pursuits!
The Outdoor Pursuits Program (OP) offers a variety of trips and instructional experiences including canyoneering, hiking, rock climbing, ice climbing, avalanche forecasting, mountaineering, camping and canoeing. OP includes educational, cultural and leadership experiences, programs and resources designed to connect students with one another, their institution and the outdoors.
Click here for the current schedule: Spring Summer 2020 OP Schedule
Call us at (303)615-1499
Rental shop hours (best time for most rentals) - 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Outdoor Pursuits hours (working, planning and programing) - are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
OP includes the following ways to get involved:
- Instructional outings with Outdoor Adventure
- Recreation and engagement with Pathfinder
- Teambuilding and group facilitation with ALP (Adventure Leadership Programs)
- Walks and hikes with CityScape
- Visit the Outdoor Pursuits Center (OPC) for outdoor rental gear and outdoor resources
- Climb on the climbing wall
- Do some research and exploration of gear and techniques
- Play yard games on campus
- Explore and develop your leadership style
- Volunteer for outdoor service opportunities
Research and Learning
Challenging Conventions in Outdoor Education
Outdoor Pursuits is an aggregate of instructional, leadership, teambuilding and research programs. In addition to learning hard skills such as rock climbing and avalanche safety, teamwork and leadership, there is a broad knowledge base that goes along with participation in outdoor activities. While not always necessary for success in the outdoors, advanced and new knowledge can make participation more enriching and enjoyable.
We function on a philosophy of inquiry. That means we don't take much for granted and we can sometimes challenge convention within the outdoor education world. OP staff engage in literature review, new knowledge research and theoretical exploration from a questioning perspective.
We welcome student engagement in research projects and suggestions for topics we might pursue. Examples of previous projects can be seen below, on this page. Previous projects include pull-testing ropes and knots and studying learning and teaching strategies.
Student Involvement and Research
Research and Innovation
We welcome student engagement in research projects and suggestions for topics we might pursue. Examples of previous projects can be seen below, on this page. Projects include pull-testing ropes, knots and climbing devices and systems, and learning and teaching strategies.
Select the drop-down menus below for additional research and resources.
For more information, please email Bryan at email@example.com
Outdoor Pursuits has been involved in various research project. Here are links to some of those projects and links to work we found particularly interesting and germane to outdoor education. If you have an idea or suggestion for a research topic, please let us know.
Check out the links in the left column to visit pages with more OP info!
If you like to snowshoe or backcountry ski, you might consider getting involved in our hands-on avalanche safety class. We will meet over two days to cover the “Four Factors” of human interaction in avalanche terrain. Topics include terrain, weather, snowpack and people.
Every outdoor program has it’s premier experiences and we consider our Spring Break Moab Canyoneering trip among ours. If you’ve ever wondered what it like on the other side of the railing at those scenic overlooks, now is the time to find out! Climb over the railing and join us as we find safe ways to explore spectacular technical canyons of the desert southwest. Fees include instruction, gear (even clothing if needed), and lodging/camping.
RTD Ride and Hike @ This is part of our CityScape set of activities and helps connect students to RTD buses and trains that service outdoor adventure locations.
We include easy walks to strenuous hikes. Experiences include can cultural sites, wildflower and photo hikes and more.
Local Ice Climbing
Denver is the only major city in the contiguous US that offers ice climbing within a 20-minute drive. So, why not take up ice climbing? It’s a great winter sport and we can get you started at a very affordable student price.
The Outdoor Adventure mountaineering programs provide a progression that address’s the combination of activities commonly referred to as mountaineering. We suggest that mountaineering is not a stand alone set of techniques in the same sense that rock climbing is. Rather, it describes the mindset of participants and the environment where the activity takes place. Mountaineering is “big feature” oriented, typically summit but also significant mountain features such as arêtes, pinnacles or gendarmes.
A mountaineering progression provides a person with a basic skill set that supports further participation in increasingly technically advanced skills. No particular skill set is more important than another – all are important to the mountaineer.
The philosophy behind the design is that participants have the opportunity to learn the skills listed within each activity (i.e. learning outcomes are the priority). Activities are not particularly strenuous, they are not more physically demanding than is necessary for learning and practicing the skills. Consequently, climbing a mountain or “summiting” something is not generally included in the outcomes.
Read more about OP and Mountaineering
Ouray Ice Climbing
One of our premier challenges and a great learning opportunity, the annual outing to the Ouray Ice Park is the perfect opportunity to get started with this incredible sport. If you already climb, come along to hone your ice skills. Experienced staff provide expert safety and instruction. Just about everything is included in the price - lodging, transportation, gear, warm clothes, and instruction.
Thanks for your interest in OP - hope to see you out there!
Definition of Guest at OP
Guest is defined as any person who is not affiliated with MSU Denver and does not have membership status who is invited by a student or member of Campus Recreation to participate and is participating in an Outdoor Pursuits activity or event.
Free OP events – guests will pay a $5 fee.
Nominal cost OP events (under $50 dollars) - guests will pay $10/day fee in addition to the student cost (+$10.00).
Big trips – Guest fees will be determined by OP staff based on costs. The goal will be to assure direct guest costs are not shifted to students.
Other guest fees are generated at the discretion of the OP leadership staff (i.e. additional fees may be assessed).
At the time of this writing, we are not approving guests (non MSU Denver affiliates) traveling in the Campus Recreation vans.
Guest are permitted to signup and be added to the roster (i.e. take a spot) at the same time their sponsoring student or member signs up.
Members – non-students, non-alumni and otherwise non-affiliates
Members who are non-students, non-alumni, non-affiliates may be excluded from participation at the discretion of the OP leadership staff.
Outdoor Pursuits Group Size Policies and Leader Ratios
Transportation - Campus Recreation has two vans that seat seven, including the driver. That allows for a total of 14 individuals (one driver and six passengers) to travel within the state vehicles issued to Campus Recreation.
On-campus teambuilding events, games and picnic events – we have no group-size limits in place for these kind of events. We have not encountered issues with Auraria regarding group-size limitations and have conducted groups as large as 180 participants.
Hiking and biking – we limit participant counts to 10 on hikes and mountain biking day-trips. We maintain two-deep leadership for most hikes and OP activities – two leaders with each group. We exercise some discretion based on terrain, leader experience, group type and other factors.
Rock and ice climbing (outside) – our maximum participant group size for technical rock and ice climbing is five participants. We maintain a ratio of two leaders/instructors for each group of up to five participants. We exercise discretion to allow for up to two additional participants from the OP or Campus Recreation staff.
Technical rope access canyoneering – we limit group size to 10 participants and at least two leaders/instructors (i.e. OP staff members with specific leadership or support roles).
Group-size for activities requiring shuttles – if our vans are the only vehicles available or approved for serving as shuttle vehicles, the group size is limited to five participants and two leaders, in most cases. In certain cases, more participants can be accommodated with additional shuttle trips. Personal vehicles can be approved to provide shuttle service (per Associate Director). In these cases, please refer to our regular group-size limits and ratios.
Climbing wall activities – group size and ratios can vary widely and are based on our experience, staff skills, planned outcomes among other factors.
NOTE - All group size considerations include elements of discretion and are sometime situational. The OP staff will include safety, environmental impact, outcomes and quality of participation, among other factors when designing events.