Alpine Scrambling Course - Kitsap - 2024

Scrambling Course

Alpine Scrambling Course

Alpine Scrambling - The area between hiking a trail and full protected (roped) climbing to the summit. Here we will explore how to safely travel those wonderful, off trail routes that go to many summits around us!

Please READ ALL OF THIS Before Registering 

This course gives preference to Kitsap, Olympic Peninsula and Gig Harbor area people. If you live outside the area please message the course leader to be added to the waitlist.

Alpine scrambling is non-technical climbing of ridges, peaks and mountains,  though for someone coming from traditional basic trail hiking, it may feel technical as we add new skills to your strengths. Ropes are not usually necessary but are brought along for occasional situations where a level of protection is desired or required. Glacier travel is not part of alpine scrambling.

Trips with the Mountaineers are one to several days long. Many Kitsap Branch scrambles are in the Olympic Mountains. As a Scramble Course graduate and a member of the Mountaineers, you will have the ability to sign up for scrambles with any of the Mountaineers' branches.

No prior experience is required, though a background in hiking and backpacking will be greatly beneficial. Scrambling is the next level.

Generally speaking, good physical fitness is expected. That does not mean you're the example of peak physical fitness, but simply that you are in overall good enough shape to carry a 25-pound pack up and down a trail similar to Mount Walker in less than 2.5 hours. If you are unsure about this, please contact us to seek further understanding before signing up for the course. For the sake of fairness to everyone who takes the course, your conditioning is your responsibility outside of the course itself. This course is not here to bring you into condition, but there are many hikes offered through the Mountaineers that you can use for conditioning. The course will also cover how to match your fitness level with your climbing goals.

In this course, you'll learn good equipment choices, how to prepare for a scramble and rock and snow skills as they apply to the alpine scrambling environment, and how to manage risk in the backcountry. You'll also learn basic navigation and route finding (since much of scrambling occurs off the trails). However, thorough navigation education will happen during a separate navigation course (required for graduation). Also required for graduation is a separate Wilderness First Aid course, but we will spend some time talking about basic mountain maladies and concerns. A day-long stewardship activity through the Mountaineers or a recognized nonprofit is also required to graduate. Finally, we'll teach you how to travel in the fragile alpine environment while limiting damage to the fragile alpine area we all love! While not required for graduation, being able to overnight in the wilderness is an incredibly empowering skill set. During the course we will touch briefly on this subject as well.


BEFORE THE CLASS BEGINS the leader will email students with required reading and information about the class. This is necessary to get everyone on the same page when we all enter the course at the first lecture. You will need to go over this information before coming to class.

The course schedule is as follows:

Date Item Location
Tuesday March 5, 2024 Optional Gear Discussion  Olympic Mountain Rescue in Bremerton (6- 9 pm)
Saturday, April 20, 2024 Class #1 Gear and Overview  Olympic Mountain Rescue in Bremerton
Tuesday, April 23, 2024 Class #2 Snow Travel Zoom Class (6-9 pm)
Saturday, April 27, 2024 FT#1 Snow Travel Hurricane Ridge or Snoqualmie East
Saturday, May 11, 2024 FT#2 Steep Snow Travel Ellinor or Rainier
Tuesday, May 14, 2024 Class #3 Rock and Off-Trail Zoom Class (6-9 pm)
Saturday, May 25, 2024 FT#3 Rock and Off-Trail McCleary Cliffs (Lake Cushman) or Green Mountain


  1. Participate in and show competence at all class/"lectures" and field trips.
  2. Navigation Course (offered separately)
  3. Wilderness First Aid Course (offered separately)
  4. Successful completion of three Mountaineers led scrambles (including at least one "rock" and one "snow" rated trip)
  5. Stewardship Credit (one day volunteering)

NOTE: If you cannot achieve the required scrambles in one year, an extension will be granted if you are continuing to accumulate mountaineering experience

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment


We understand that some of these items can be expensive. You want to get the right gear the first time. However, that does not always happen.  The first class will cover the pluses and minuses of different types of gear. In addtion an optional gear discussion will be held 6 weeks before the first FT for those wanting more time to collect gear. It is recommended that you not buy any new gear until after Class #1 or the optional gear discussion and to buy from a reputable retailer that has a great return/exchange policy!

You are encouraged to contact the course leaders with questions before the class to start accumulating your gear.

                 THE GEAR

  • Ten Essentials
  • UIAA rated Climbing Helmet
  • Mountaineering Boots
  • Minimum 30L Backpack
  • Ice Ax
  • Crampons-12 point
  • Snow shoes (Optional and can be rented)
  • Trekking Poles (Optional)
  • Appropriate clothing (No Cotton)
  • Locking pear shaped carabineer
  • 25 ft of one inch tubular webbing (or light alpine harness)
  • 8 ft of 6mm perlon. 


Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.