Basic Climbing Course   - Kitsap - 2018

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course - Kitsap

Contact Ralph Wessels, Chair Kitsap Basic Climbing Course, for course information.; (253) 857-5658. 

The course is filled but we suggest getting on the wait list in case there are cancellations.  Those on the wait list will receive first notification for the 2019 course.

Thank you for your interest in joining the 2018 Basic Climbing Course offered by the Kitsap Branch of the Mountaineers.  As a basic climbing student, you will meet interesting and goal-oriented people that all share a common interest - mountaineering.  The course is a combination of classroom and field sessions that prepare you for climbing rock, snow, and glaciers.  The course is taught by experienced mountaineers that share their knowledge and time as volunteers.  Students will progressively gain knowledge and technical skills throughout the class and ultimately apply them to actual climbs.  The class will utilize the book, Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition that becomes available in October 2017, as part of the instruction.  Classes are held at the Kitsap Cabin and field sessions at a variety of locations to meet the specific training. 

For insight about the course from a 2016 student, please read the blog at the following link.

The climbing course involves a commitment of time both in and outside of the scheduled classes and field trips for learning about mountaineering and climbing, developing technical abilities, and conditioning. 

Cancellation from the course will incur a $100 fee prior to registration closure. Cancellation after registration has closed will result in partial or no refund, subject to the Chair's decision.

Please consider the time commitment, course schedule, and cancellation policy before registering. 

Participants must be members of the Mountaineers.  Graduation requirements include the following:

  • Participants have up to 2 years to complete the course
  • Attend all classroom sessions
  • Satisfactorily complete all field sessions
  • Obtain the gear by the date required.
  • Pass all skills tests
  • Pass a conditioning test
  • Complete 3 climbs consisting of one rock, one glacier, and one of either rock, alpine, or glacier
  • Complete a separate Navigation course (~ $70)
  • Complete a separate Wilderness First Aid or Mountain-Oriented First Aid course (~ $190)
  • Fulfill a Stewardship activity

Class and field sessions are as shown below (some dates or locations subject to change).

Classroom Sessions

Field Sessions

Class #1 -Wilderness Basics

Kitsap Cabin

January 17, 2018. 6:00 PM.

10 Essential Systems, Knots, Leave No Trace, Conditioning, Packing, Documentation, Course Expectations

FT #1 - Initial Field Experience

Green Mountain State Forest

January 20, 2018. 8:00 AM

Class #2 - Ropes, Anchors, and Belay

Kitsap Cabin

January 31, 2018. 6:00 PM.

FT #2 - Ropes, Anchors, and Belay Field Session

Kitsap Cabin

February 10, 2018. 8:00 AM.

Navigation (separate class registration)

Kitsap Cabin

TBD, 2018. 6:00 PM

Maps, Compass, Navigation Systems

Navigation Field Session (separate class registration)

Kitsap Cabin/Green Mountain State Forest

TBD, 2018. 8:00 AM.

Class #3 - Snow Climbing and Avalanche Awareness

Kitsap Cabin

March 7, 2018. 6:00 PM.

FT #3 - Snow Climbing and Avalanche Awareness (Snow 1)

Mt Rainier National Park

March 17 and 18, 2018. 9:00 AM.

Snow Camping, Roping Up, Avalanche Evaluation Skills, Belaying on Snow, Snow Anchors

Class #4 - Rock Climbing in the Alpine Environment

Kitsap Cabin

March 28, 2018. 6:00 PM

FT #4 - Rock Climbing (Rock 1)

Tacoma Mountaineers Club House

March 31, 2018. 8:00 AM

FT #5 - Rock Climbing (Rock 2)

Mt. Erie, vicinity Anacortes

April 14, 2018. 8:00 AM

(FT #5 - reserve dates of 4/15, 4/28, & 4/29 in case of inclement weather)

Class #5 - Glacier Climbing and Crevasse Rescue

Kitsap Cabin

May 2, 2018. 6:00 PM.

FT #6 - Crevasse Rescue Ground School/Prusik Practice

Kitsap Memorial Park

May 5, 2018. 8:00 AM.



FT #7 - Glacier Climbing and Crevasse Rescue Practice (Snow 2)

Easton Glacier, Mt Baker National Forest.

May 26 and May 27, 2018. 8:00 AM

Possible break into groups for climbs of Mt. Baker and Sherman Peak on May 29th.


Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment
  • Helmet
  • Climbing harness with belay loop
  • Mountaineering boots (not hiking boots)
  • Non-locking carabiners (6)
  • Locking carabiner pear shaped (1)
  • Locking carabiner - oval or D-shaped (3)
  • Approved belay device (i.e., Petzl Reverso 4 or Black Diamond ATC Guide)
  • Chock pick
  • Belay gloves (big box leather gloves work)
  • 10 essentials (see info on approved compasses)
  • Overnight pack (suggest 60 to 75 liter)
  • Day pack (suggest 35 to 40 liter, can also use Overnight pack)
  • Ice axe (sized appropriately) with leash
  • Crampons - 12 point steel with horizontal front points that fit your boots
  • Snow shovel (metal, not plastic)
  • Picket - 24"
  • Rescue pulley - prusik minding (will have square shoulders)
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Camping items that fit into pack
  • Slings, webbing, and perlon cord (we will go over what is needed in class)


Course Materials
Name/Description Type
Class 1 and FT 1

Class 2 and FT 2

Class 3 and FT 3

Class 4 and FTs 4 & 5

Class 5 and FTs 6 & 7