Intense Basic: Innovation in Climbing

Last year we created a newly imagined Intense Basic Climbing Course as an opportunity for people interested in learning at a more rapid pace. We compressed six months of rock and alpine instruction and field trips into 10-continuous days. Learn more and sign up for our 2014 Intense Basic Course.
Eric Linxweiler Eric Linxweiler
May 19, 2014
Intense Basic: Innovation in Climbing
Photo by Mike Warren
“There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” —Robert F. Kennedy

Creating Intense Basic

Mountaineers members have a long and proud history of being leaders in the outdoors. Over one-hundred years ago, early Mountaineers were inspired to create a member-based organization unlike any other at the time. Soon Mountaineers were forging routes to the summits of some of the most challenging peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

In each decade since The Mountaineers was formed, the organization has adapted to changing times and members’ needs by promoting innovation and the development of courses and opportunities to get people outside. The Mountaineers pioneered alpine climbing techniques, logged many first ascents and established new routes all over the Pacific Northwest. We also produce THE comprehensive text of best practices for mountaineering and climbing and more recently saw the introduction of specialized courses to provide the most current and relevant education and instruction.

This culture of innovation has enabled The Mountaineers to adapt to the changing needs of its members to ensure that successive generations of outdoor enthusiasts would be inspired to find their next great challenge and be able to achieve their goals. We continue to be a growing community with the capacity to generate ideas and solutions for future needs not yet realized.

Over one hundred years of constant innovation and invention is not indicative of a culture of luck, it represents a sustainable culture of innovation—one that seeks challenges, overcomes them, and asks “what’s next?”

Intense Basic Alpine Climbing course is a recent example of members taking the initiative to develop an intensive educational opportunity for people interested in learning at a more rapid pace. Launched in June 2013, the course compresses six months of rock and alpine instruction and field trips into ten continuous days. Although not the first, it is the most recent example of the creativity we bring to outdoor instruction.

“It’s a lot of information and instruction presented in a short period of time. Because the skill level varied among students, those with more skills and experience started assisting those with less experience. By the end of the course, a few even committed to volunteering next year.” said John Ohlson, Intense Basic mastermind and course leader.

Inspired by volunteers like John, Jason Thomas (pictured above) has—in just four months—joined The Mountaineers, completed the Basic course, and has already volunteered to help with the Program Center’s friction slab project as a site leader.

Whether you want it to or not, change happens. However, in spite of constant change, it’s the ever present culture of innovation that enables us to uphold our core values of volunteerism, mentorship, and stewardship. Mountaineers have learned, and continue to demonstrate, that it’s a never ending challenge to maintain relevancy and ensure that the next generation learns what it means to be a Mountaineer.

Interested in participating this year? 

For 2014, The Intense Basic Alpine Climbing Course compresses the regular Basic Alpine Climbing Course (6 months of 5 lectures and 8 days of 7 field trips) into 9 continuous and full days. It is a comprehensive and thorough program in training to become a competent climbing partner on technical rock, snow, and glacier climbs in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. 

Check out the course listing to learn more or sign up.