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Climbing Course

Alpine Ice

Introduction to climbing alpine ice & mixed routes. Application period June 11 - June 25.

This module teaches the skills necessary to swing leads on alpine ice  typical for the Cascades. This includes:

  • Crampon techniques for ascending and descending on ice
  • Placing ice screws
  • Building v-threads
  • Building top rope anchors on ice
  • Swinging leads on 45-60 degree glacier ice

The Alpine Ice Module consists of three evening sessions at the Program Center and a two day FT to the seracs on Mount Baker. If conditions allow, we will also climb an alpine ice route (Observation Rock, Kautz Route, North Side of Adams). Instruction will include

  • Walking on Ice with and without crampons
  • Usage of Ice Tools
  • Placing Ice Screws
  • Building Ice Anchors
  • A and V threads
  • Top Roping, mock leading, and leading on Ice

There are a number of things for potential students to be aware of, as space is limited:

  • The Coleman Seracs are a popular place for field trips, as it's uniquely suited in terms of safety from rockfall/icefall, terrain, size, and accessibility.  (We are actively investigating other possible venues.)  The overall Mountaineers permit provides us with a limited number of "user days" to share between all of the potential trips for Seattle and the other branches.  (There is an annual lottery to allocate days.)  We need to allocate 60 days across the students in the module, and we may need to limit or even reduce enrollment to ensure that we comply with the available user days.
  • Finding leaders and instructors can be a challenge, and we cannot compromise on the safe student-to-instructor ratio of 3:1.  If we can't staff the leader/instructors for a trip, we'll need to reduce the number of students on that trip.
  • Poor weather and unforeseen issues may impact scheduled trips, and FTs may be shortened or canceled and may not be able to be rescheduled based on dates allocated for the seracs and leader/instructor availability. 
  • Ice is a new and unforgiving climbing medium, and as you make plans, I would strongly advise spending additional time on the ice on your own as much as you're able.  If you're on a one-day FT1, spend an extra day practicing footwork/tool swinging or top-roping.  After FT2, spend an extra day top-roping or on choose-your-own-adventure multi-pitch. 

This course is prioritizes Foothills Branch Climbing Students, Graduates, and volunteers. All participants must have completed Winter Mountaineering & Advanced Crevasse Rescue  module AND Leading on Trad (Single Pitch, Multipitch, Self Rescue) or equivalent. If there are more applicants than spots, then the following prioritization will take place. If room is available for members of other branches after the application period, please reach out to the course leader for consideration.

  1. Volunteer Hours & Volunteer Quality - Number hours volunteer with Foothills Climbing plus type of volunteering, i.e. Field Trips>Lectures>Activities
  2. General volunteering with the Mountaineers
  3. Climbing Ability & Experience

Leader Permission is required to enroll in this course. Instructions for applying

  1. Email me using the request leader permission/apply button between June 11-June 25
  2. In your email, including a short summary of the number of hours you've volunteer plus the activity name between October 1, 2023 and June 25, 2024. You can get a quick summary of this by going to "My Volunteer Hours" when you click on your profile
  3. Hang out and keep climbing while I figure out how to prioritize folks
Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Alpine Ice - Kick off
Online Classroom
Tue, Jul 23, 2024
Registration closes Jul 21
6 participants
4 instructors
Alpine Ice - Dry Tooling
Seattle Program Center
Tue, Jul 30, 2024
Registration closes Jul 28
6 participants
5 instructors
Alpine Ice - Foam Wall
Seattle Program Center
Tue, Aug 6, 2024
Registration closes Aug 4
6 participants
4 instructors
Alpine Ice Field Trip
Mount Baker Lower Coleman Seracs & Glacier
Sat, Aug 10, 2024 -
Sun, Aug 11, 2024
Registration closes Aug 8
6 participants
5 instructors
Alpine Ice Experience Trip
Observation Rock/North Face
Sat, Sep 21, 2024 -
Sun, Sep 22, 2024
Registration closes Sep 19
6 participants
2 instructors
Required Equipment


Course Materials

There are no materials for this course.