Basic Climbing Course   - Kitsap - 2020

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

The Basic Climbing Course is a year-long course preparing students to be competent climbers reaching rock and glacier summits.

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

Basic Climbing Course

Thank you for your interest in joining the 2020 Basic Climbing Course offered by the Kitsap Branch of the Mountaineers.

  • Applications accepted;
  • Olympic peninsula residents (current - 1/13/2020)
  • All other locations (12/15/2019 - 1/13/2020)

An optional Meet & Greet with the Kitsap mountaineers is scheduled on Saturday, November 23 at the Kitsap Program Center (address mentioned below). The meeting starts at 12:00 pm and is scheduled to last 4 hours. You may register for the meeting by selecting the Kitsap Meet & Greet hyperlink below. There is no attendance cost. The Meet & Greet is an informational session for those interested in the Kitsap Climbing course. We will communicate what the course entails and the gear and clothing that is needed. Please notify Ed Lucas by email if interested,

Kitsap Meet & Greet<<<<<<Select here

As a basic climbing student, you will meet interesting and goal-oriented people that share a common interest - mountaineering.  The course is a combination of reading, online knowledge tests, classroom, and field trips that prepare you for safely climbing rock, snow, and glaciers.  The course is taught by experienced mountaineers, assisted by newer mountaineers, that share their knowledge and time as volunteers.  Students will progressively gain knowledge and technical skills throughout the course and ultimately apply them to actual climbs.  The course utilizes the book, Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition as part of the instruction.  Classes are held at the Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center (aka Olympic Mountain Rescue Center and Harold Brooks Community Center) located at 1550 Rocky Point Rd. NW. in Bremerton.  Field trips occur at a variety of locations to meet the specific training requirements.

Participants must have a desire to learn technical mountaineering skills and understand this course requires a significant investment in time, energy, and requires the purchase of at least a couple thousand dollars of clothing and gear, especially for those who do not already have backpacking gear. Even those who have some equipment can expect to spend several hundred dollars on gear.

Not all things need to be purchased right away and some things can be rented from local shops or borrowed from friends. But be aware our course requires an investment of both time and money.

Solid overall physical conditioning, good cardiovascular strength and psychological commitment are needed as the participants will experience travel in difficult terrain with vertical exposure while carrying a heavy pack in all types of weather conditions.

The course is set up to be completed in roughly eight months and skills taught include; selection and care of equipment, wilderness travel and camping, rope handling, snow climbing, glacier travel, belaying, rappelling, 5th class rock climbing, crevasse rescue, guidance on gear purchases and conditioning, and many other topics.  During field trips and actual climbs the student will put these skills to practical use with experienced mountaineers. 

It is critical to remember scheduled field trips and graduation climbs may get rescheduled due to weather. If this should occur, the field trip or climb will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Very likely the following weekend to maintain the course schedule. Participants need to consider this when making personal plans after a scheduled field trip or climb. Participants must be available the following weekend after a field trip or climb when weather forces a reschedule.

One of the many things the Kitsap branch offers is smaller class sizes and great student to instructor ratio. In many cases, you’ll see close to a 1-2 student to instructor ratio. Our instructors have a huge commitment to you and spend a lot of time and resources to ensure your safety while providing a rich learning environment. With this level of instructor commitment, we expect a high commitment from you as well.

This course requires a commitment to the following:

  • 5 classroom lectures
  • 7 field trips; 2 overnight weekend field trips
  • Many extra hours of reading, study and practice
  • Passing all tests that includes written and practical elements
  • Successful completion of 3 graduation climbs, including at least one glacier and one rock climb
  • Purchase of climbing gear necessary prior to date required
  • Complete the Low Impact Recreation online course prior to the first field trip
  • Fulfill at least 1 Stewardship activity on public lands (priceless)
  • Passing score on skills and tests
  • Complete a separate Wilderness First Aid or Mountain-Oriented First Aid course
  • Complete a separate Navigation course
  • A strong level of fitness that will allow you to safely and effectively participate in the field trips and climbs
  • A personal commitment to a regular & disciplined training program to ensure the necessary fitness level
  • Pass conditioning tests. Mt. Walker timed roundtrip, 4 miles total with 2000 feet elevation gain and 30# pack in 2.5 hours. Later increasing to two consecutive Mt. Walker roundtrips with 45# pack in 5 hours. A good article on conditioning is at
  • Participants have 2 years to complete the course

 Please keep this in mind as you complete the application. As instructors, our goal is to ensure that you have the best experience possible where you can learn to climb safely. A big part of accomplishing that goal is your participation and your commitment to the class, your fellow students and the instructors.

Please consider the time commitment, course schedule, and cancellation policy (see below) before registering.

***Please do not register for the course unless you can commit to the items mentioned above and attend ALL field trips and ALL lectures.

 ***All applicants must complete an application form prior to receiving permission to register.  Registering without permission will likely result in cancellation. To obtain an application, contact Ed Lucas, Co-Chair Kitsap Basic Climbing Course, at or 704-701-3589.

Graduation Requirements;

  • Current Mountaineers membership
  • Complete the Low Impact Recreation online course
  • Fulfill at least 1 Stewardship activity on public lands
  • Attend all field trips and lectures
  • Successful completion of all field trips
  • Passing score on skills and tests
  • Complete a separate Wilderness First Aid or Mountain-Oriented First Aid course
  • Complete a separate Navigation course
  • Completion of 3 required climbs, including at least one glacier and one rock climb
  • Petition the Climbing Committee
  • Climbing Committee Approval


Course Schedule - 2020

2020 course schedule_rev30sep2019.JPG

While the course is challenging and demanding, the skills acquired provide the participants opportunities to meet lifelong climbing partners and gain the skills to safely enjoy mountain environments for a lifetime. Climbing with the Kitsap branch of The Mountaineers is an awesome opportunity to confidently and competently climb challenging mountains all while pushing your physical limits and achieving personal goals. During the course and climbs with the Kitsap branch you will experience high levels of fellowership, trust, bonding, and community. Welcome to your new adventures. We look forward to sharing them with you.

The course fee does not include the cost of a Mountaineer’s membership, text for the course, personal gear and equipment, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), and Navigation course.

Cancellation from the course will incur a $100 fee prior to December 31, 2019. Cancellation after December 31, 2019 may result in no refund, subject to the Co-Chair's decision. No refunds after first class meeting in January.



Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Basic Climbing Class #1
Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center
Wed, Jan 13, 2021
Registration closed Jan 12
15 participants
20 instructors
Basic Field Trip #1 - Knots
Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center
Sat, Jan 16, 2021
Registration closed Jan 15
15 participants
2 instructors
Basic Climbing Class #2
Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center
Wed, Jan 27, 2021
Registration closed Jan 26
15 participants
2 instructors
Basic Belay/Rappel Field Trip #2
Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center
Sat, Feb 6, 2021
Registration closed Feb 5
15 participants
1 instructor
Activity 7 - Snow Climbing
Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center
Wed, Mar 3, 2021
Registration closed Mar 1
15 participants
2 instructors
Activity 12 - Rock Climbing Technique and Belay Escape
Mountaineers Kitsap Program Center
Wed, Mar 24, 2021
Registration closed Mar 22
15 participants
2 instructors
Activity 8 - Snow 1 Field Trip
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sat, Apr 10, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 11, 2021
Registration closed Apr 9
5 participants
0 instructors
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sat, Apr 9, 2022
Registration closed Apr 7
4 participants on waitlist
1 instructor
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sun, Apr 10, 2022
Registration closed Apr 8
4 participants
0 instructors
Basic Climbing Class #5
Online Classroom
Wed, May 12, 2021
Registration closed Apr 26
5 participants
2 instructors on waitlist
Activity 9 - Crevasse Rescue
Hurricane Hill
Sat, May 15, 2021
Registration closed Apr 29
2 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sun, May 16, 2021
Registration closed May 14
5 participants
2 instructors
Stewardship Credit
McCleary Cliffs
Sat, Mar 26, 2022
Registration closed Mar 24
7 participants
0 instructors
Activity 15- Basic Alpine Climb (counts as graduation climb) (optional)
Mount Ellinor & Mount Washington
Sat, Jun 25, 2022
Registration closed Jun 16
2 participants
2 instructors
Mount Ellinor & Mount Washington
Sat, Jul 9, 2022
Registration closed Jun 23
0 participants
2 instructors
Required Equipment


  • Climbing helmet
  • Climbing harness with belay loop
  • Mountaineering boots (not hiking boots, make sure they fit comfortably and are returnable if they don't)
  • Non-locking carabiners (6 - wire gates are best, not minis)
  • Locking carabiner pear shaped (1)
  • Locking carabiner - oval or D-shaped (3)
  • Approved belay device (i.e., Petzl Reverso 4, Black Diamond ATC Guide, or similar)
  • 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, may also use Overnight pack)
  • Ice axe (sized appropriately) with leash
  • Crampons - 12 point steel with horizontal front points that fit your boots
  • Gaiters
  • Snow shovel (metal, not plastic)
  • Picket - 24" aluminum
  • Rescue pulley - prusik minding (will have square shoulders)
  • 6 Slings, 3 - 60cm single, 3 - 120 cm double (dyneema, spectra, or nylon)
  • 2 Personal anchors - (sewn nylon double runners, a Metolius PAS or approved equal may substitute for one runner)
  • Webbing (nylon - we will go over what is needed in class)
  • Perlon cord (we will go over what is needed in class)
  • Snow shoes (can be rented or borrowed too)
  • Glacier glasses (or other effective eye protection for extended time on snow)
  • Appropriate clothing
  • Camping items that fit into pack (some items are shared such as tents, stoves, and water filters so may not need to purchase)
  • Fleece or puffy jacket
  • Rain jacket and full-zip rain pants
  • Belay gloves
  • Warm gloves or mittens (plus second pair)


  • Microspikes

Disclaimer, not possible to list every item we may need on a climb. The items are dependent on numerous factors such as; weather, activity, route, skill level, month, etc..