June 26-30. Students should be at the symposium by 9 a.m. on June 26.
This high-mountain community sits at the foot of some of the Rockie’s best and most spectacular climbing and scenery in western Colorado. Carbondale is three hours west of Denver, and two hours east of Grand Junction. Denver (DIA) is a hub; Grand Junction has a smaller airport. The class will be held on the Colorado Rocky Mountain Campus, adjacent to the Rock and Ice offices.
Five lunches and one dinner with John Long and the editors are included. Colorado Rocky Mountain School will also have an affordable meal plan. Breakfast $9; Dinner $12.
Anyone with a serious interest in writing may apply. 
No. You only need to be enthusiastic about writing, and willing to learn.
Enrollment is limited to 10 students.
No. You are responsible for lodging, but Rock and Ice can help you find a room with the best rate.
The closest airport is in Grand Junction, about two hours away. Denver is the closest major hub, and is three hours away. Colorado Mountain Express runs daily shuttles from DIA to Carbondale.
No. Once you are accepted you may not receive a refund unless there are factors beyond your control that prevent you from attending.


Carbondale has excellent local rock climbing and trail running. It is also a fly fishing destination, and has popular mountain biking trails. Rifle Mountain Park is one hour away; Independence Pass is one hour away. Popular local alpine peaks include Capitol and the Maroon Bells, both are spectacular 14ers.


In 1871, Edward Whymper published Scrambles Amongst the Alps.
His dramatic tale of the first ascent of the Matterhorn established climbing literature as both a tradition and a driving force. Since then, writing has played a pivotal role, influencing generations of climbers inspired by the tales of Heinrich Harrer, Lionel Terray and Reinhold Messner. Climbing as we know it has been crafted by words.

The John Long Writing Symposium is a five-day course on the arts of storytelling, writing and reporting. Taught by climbing’s most acclaimed and accomplished writer, John Long, and with break-out clinics by Rock and Ice editors the Writing Symposium will honor and keep the tradition of quality climbing literature alive.


The symposium will be held on the Colorado Rocky Mountain School (CRMS) campus, adjacent to the Rock and Ice offices in Carbondale, Colorado. The CRMS campus is a working ranch and private school along the banks of the Crystal River. The setting is picturesque and quiet, with Mount Sopris as the backdrop. Students will get to tour the Rock and Ice offices, meet the staff including that of Trail Runner magazine, and see a publishing house at work.. 


June 26 through June 30, from 9:00 a.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m. Students should arrive a day in advance.

How to apply

Prospective students should send a letter of interest to Francis Sanzaro at fsanzaro@bigstonepub.com

You will then be contacted with additional instructions for applying.



email: Francis Sanzaro at fsanzaro@bigstonepub.com 




Ten students will be selected from the field of applicants based on their writing skills, willingness to learn, and whether their ongoing work will benefit the climbing community.




$995, includes five lunches during the symposium at the on-campus Bar Fork (vegetarian options are available with every meal) and one off- site dinner with John Long and the Rock and Ice editors.




A typical class day will include a series of one- to two-hour clinics on different topics, with time to work on writing assignments and receive feedback. John Long’s sessions will primarily be on creative writing and story development, while the editors will discuss the nuts and bolts of submitting articles to publishers for review, query writing, news reporting, making connections, and editing.




In full upon acceptance of the applicant into the course. You may pay by credit card. Since the course is limited enrollment, refunds for no-shows will not be available. However, if circumstances beyond your control prevent you from attending, you may receive a refund if a replacement student is available.




You may eat on campus at the Bar Fork. Breakfast is $9 and Dinner is $12. If you would like this service you will need to inform project manager, Francis Sanzaro, a week before arriving at the symposium. Carbondale has numerous places to eat, including a nice pizzeria, several cafes, upscale restaurants and rustic bars. We will be happy to make recommendations.




We recommend you stay locally in Carbondale. The two main hotels, The Comfort Inn and Day’s Inn (summer rates will vary from $100 to $125 for single) are within walking distance (about half a mile.) Staying on campus in a dorm might be an option, but the school won’t know until March 1 if space will be available. The dorm would be $85 a night and include meals. The dorm is simple but clean, with shared bathrooms




Travel to and from Carbondale is the responsibility of the symposium participants. Aspen is the closest airport and has connecting flights from Denver. The airport in Grand Junction is two hours from Carbondale. Once you are in Carbondale you will not need transportation unless you would like to venture into the mountains or check out the local crags.




The Carbondale area has an abundance of rock climbing, bouldering, fishing, hiking, and mountain bike and running trails. All within 20 minutes of the campus. From campus you can access Red Hill and its popular trail systems, and the Crystal River, for fishing, kayaking and swimming. Rifle Mountain Park and Independence Pass are one hour away.




Based on merit, one student may be selected as a freelance Contributing Editor to Rock and Ice. This will be an opportunity to work at a high level with the editors on article development, as well as get published clips and on the mast of a leading publication. Published articles will be paid at Rock and Ice’s word rate.




Based on quality and editorial needs, articles may be selected for publication in Rock and Ice, and additional articles may be included in an adidas climbing publication (adidas publishes an annual collection of climbing essays and photos.) Submission for publication will be on a volunteer basis. There will be no fee for use of the manuscripts, but authors will received a published byline and gain experience working closely with the editors one-on-one.



JOHN LONG is a Senior Contributing Editor for Rock and Ice and Ascent, and is one of Yosemite’s original Stonemasters and climbing’s most prolific writer and popular storyteller. He has authored over 40 books. 1980, Long began working for David Frost Productions, writing and producing ABC and BBC specials, including the International Guinness Book of World Records, which also became a long-running syndicated series. Moving into feature films in the 1990s, Long worked on the second unit for dozens of motion pictures, including the Rambo series. His novella, Rogue’s Babylon, was the basis for Sylvester Stallone’s hit movie, Cliffhanger. During this time Long also worked for Bennett Productions, in Santa Monica, writing and producing action sport shows for TBS, NBC, CBS, FOX, HDTV, RUSH and others. Later work with New Wave Entertainment involved writing and producing long form shows for Discovery, History Channel, Showtime, A&E, Lifetime, and HBO. In September, 2013, Long and Rock and Ice editor Jeff Jackson, were signed by Steven Schwartz and Chockstone Pictures to write a screenplay based on Long’s short story volume, Gorilla Monsoon. One Night Stand (also written with Jeff Jackson), a new television series, is currently in development with producer Randy Cordray, longtime producer of the hit series The Office, and current producer of the series Dads (Fox).


FRANCIS SANZARO is the Editor of Rock and Ice and Ascent. Sanzaro (Ph.D.), is the author of The Infantile Grotesque: Pathology, Sexuality and a Theory of Religion, and The Boulder: A Philosophy for Bouldering. His articles and fiction have appeared in Happy Hipocrite, Greyrock Review, Continental Philosophy Review, Counter Culture, Sierra Nevada Review, The Baltimore Post Examiner and Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory. Sanzaro is a former professor in humanities at Morgan State University. 


DUANE RALEIGH is the Publisher of Rock and Ice, AscentTrail Runner and DIRT and the co-founder and president of Big Stone Publishing. He is the former publisher and editor in chief of Climbing, and the recipient of a National Outdoor Book Award and the H. Adams Carter Literary Award.


ALISON OSIUS is the Senior Editor for Rock and Ice, Ascent and Trail Runner. She is the author of Second Ascent: The Story of Hugh Herr, and was the recipient of the H. Adams Carter Literary Award. Osius has a masters in Journalism from Columbia University.