Skip to main content Skip to main content

Outdoor Pursuits includes a wide range of educational, cultural and leadership experiences, programs and resources designed to connect students with one another, their institution and the great outdoors. Outdoor Pursuits provides student led adventures that include new skills, safety, teamwork and leadership in diverse, sometimes challenging, environments.

OP Fall 2018 Full Schedule


OP includes the following ways to get involved:

  • Instructional outings with Outdoor Adventure
  • Recreation and engagement with the Pathfinder Leadership Development Program
  • Teambuilding services and group facilitation with Adventure Leadership Programs (ALP)
  • Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) for outdoor Rental Shop and trip planning resources
  • Open climbing and climbing instruction on the Climbing Wall
  • Online resources for trip planning
  • Loaner gear for classroom presentations at no charge
  • Learning, leadership, and research information
  • Student-staff leadership development
  • Volunteer and outdoor service opportunities


Go climbing, meet people, learn new skills, get involved.

The OP Adventures program provides great opportunities for MSU Denver students to try new things, learn new skills and get started with outdoor activities such as hiking, climbing and canoeing. OP Adventures provide a “hard skills” approach to learning in the outdoors – that means we focus on how to do it, specifically the skills needed to become an independent outdoors person. There’s no better way to get started with a lifetime of joy in the outdoors.

OA offers instruction in a wide variety of human-powered outdoor adventure activities including:

Rock and ice climbing



Bike tune clinics

Avalanche safety

Canyoneering and more!


Adventure Leadership Programs (ALP)
Teambuilding and leadership opportunities for the students of MSU Denver

Activities include ice breakers, teambuilding activities, hiking, group facilitation activities, travel and learning. ALP includes a blend of activities that are tailored to meet group and individuals teambuilding and leadership needs.

Contact us for more info or to create a program for your group.

Check out our slideshow and sample list of activities:
ALP PDF Slide Show
ALP Activities

ALP Teambuilding Seminars and Certification
The Adventure Leadership Program (ALP) Seminar and Certification combines online content and a four to five hour face to face experience. It is designed to introduce members of the Auraria community to teambuilding ideas, practices and techniques.

ALP teambuilding exercise
The ALP Certification provides members of the Auraria community with opportunities to learn about teambuilding and to acquire the skills they need to facilitate their own groups. ALP is intended to enrich the community by sharing practices that help bring individuals together to form productive groups.

MSU Denver students benefit through skills and knowledge acquisition, public speaking opportunities and listing the certification on their resumes.

ALP workshops are available and can be customized especially for alumni.

Outdoor Leadership & Teambuilding
Small Group Facilitation
ALP PDF Slide Show


ALP Trainings for Auraria Departments and Programs
What's my Leadership Style?
FISH Philosophy/Culture

team ball exercise

Call (303)615-1499, email or visit us at PE 002 to learn more.

CityScape is a brand new urban/local/cultural/social/fun program of activities that will include walks, art events, tours, talks and more. Check back for more info and the fall 2018 schedule.

The Campus Recreation wall provides the Auraria Campus community
with a place to gather, meet other climbers, boulder and top rope, and learn to rock climb

The climbing wall is open when the Fitness Center is open

A modest wall, 22 feet high and 40 feet wide, provides approximately 900 square feet of climbing space


Student in the climbing wall at campus recreation

Kids climbing on the climbing wall

Climbing wall competition

Student with a large green and blue pyramid


Outdoor Pursuits Center Rental Shop

2018 OPC hours - Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Welcome to the Outdoor Pursuits Center Rental Shop

Serving MSU Denver students, faculty, staff, alumni and Campus Recreation members.

Item (Price includes tax) Daily Weekend Weekly
Avalanche Beacon $11 $17 $28
Avalanche Probe $3 $4 $7
Avalanche Shovel $3 $4 $7
Backpack $7 $11 $20
Bear Canister  $4 $7 $14
Canoe  $17 $26 $52
Cook Kit    (backpacking pan kit) $4 $5 $9
Crampons $6 $9 $14
Crazy Creek Chair $3 $4 $7
Ground Pad $3 $4 $7
Hammock $3 $7 $11
Headlamp    (batteries not included) $3 $4 $7
Helmet    (aquatic, bike & climbing) $3 $4 $7
Ice Axe $6 $9 $14
PFD    (aka life jacket)  $5 $7 $14
Rock Shoes $9 $14 $20
Sleeping Bag $7 $12 $20
Snowshoes $7 $12 $20
Stand Up Paddleboard $17 $26 $52
Stove (two burner for car camping) $7 $12 $20
Tent    (3 – 4 person) $12 $18 $32
Tent    (2 person) $7 $12 $20
Trekking Poles $3 $4 $6
Yard Games - visit us for a current list Free $7 $11

OP Rental Price List (download PDF)

The Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC) rental shop is the place where student staff work to plan and prepare for the stuff we do outside - canyoneering, rock and ice climbing, snowshoeing, hiking, etc. It also provides students with a place to meet one another and share their interests in the outdoors.

The OAC rental shop is student fee supported, staffed by students, and serves the Auraria Campus community with affordable rentals of high quality outdoor gear.

Please visit the OAC located in the PE/Event Center, Room 002
or call 303-615-1499 for more information!

Pathfinder is an experience-based program of activities designed by students for students. Activities are student led and organized. Check out the new list of activities planned for fall 2018 (coming soon). Get started this fall and continue to enjoy outdoor fun for the rest of your MSU Denver experience and beyond!

Place Asset Inventory

Welcome to Outdoor Pursuits Place Asset Inventory (PAI) resource. Click on a link to discover the outdoor resources we use to plan outings. These are the locations OP goes. Check it out - one might be a great place for your next adventure.

Audubon Center at Chatfield

Assets marked with * are the places OP goes. We continue to add assets as we identify them.

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 with OA or leadership and teamwork with Pathfinder, there is a broad knowledge base that goes along with participation in outdoor activities. Not always necessary for success in the outdoors, knowledge can make participation more enriching and enjoyable.

We function on a philosophy of inquiry, here at OP. 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.

Knot pull-test

Wet knot pull-test

Select the drop-down menus below for additional research and resources.

For more information, please email Bryan at‌‌

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.


Kayak Study

Fear Coping in High Risk Seeking Athletes

Outdoor Pursuits Youtube

Tamarix: An Invasive Plant Species.

Avalanche Info
Four Factors Avalanche Slide ShowIf 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.

Hiking and Canyoneering
Every outdoor program has it’s premier experiences and we consider our Moab Canyoneering trip over spring break 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.

RTD Ride and Hike @ Trails to Tread This is a resource that helps connect students to RTD buses and trains that service outdoor adventure locations. This is just a sample of the many outdoor adventures you can enjoy once you get started!

Day Hikes
We also include seasonal wildflower and photo hikes.

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.

Ice Climbing Outline

Sharpening Ice Tools


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.

The mountaineering progression provides a participant 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 anymore 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 PDF...

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 or to hone your skills, if you already climb. Experienced staff provide expert safety and instruction and you can’t beat the Box Canyon Lodge and Hot Springs for convenience and comfort. Just about everything is included in the price - lodging, transportation, gear, warm clothes, and instruction.

Ouray Slide Show

Ouray Gear List

There is no better way to get started rock climbing than with this student-fee supported program. We teach both indoors and outside, and topics include knots, belaying, anchor building, risk assessment, and climbing technique. Each rock climbing session within the series can be taken individually or in sequence. Click the link for learning outcomes for each session and for more information.

O‌utdoor Adventure rock resources:
OA knot list

Developing Power to Take on Mountains

Training for Climbing 

Outdoor Adventure rock lesson info and outlines:
Rock Climbing Information

Rock One Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Rock Two Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Rock Three Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Rock Four Lesson's Learning Outcomes

Directions to the Outdoor Adventure Center

Climbing Gear Strength Ratings

Sharpening Ice Tools

Developing Power to Take on Mountains

Batteries and Their Use in Outdoor Pursuits

ALP PDF Slide Show

Small Group Facilitation

Trails to Tread

ALP Activities

OA knot list

BLM Abandoned Mines Safety Brochure

Avalanche Safety Resource



Facebook YouTube