Basic Climbing Course - Kitsap - 2023

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

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

Basic Climbing Course

Please read course information completely prior to determining to follow this path.

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, and activities 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.  The first 3 activities 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.  The remaining activities occur at a variety of locations to meet the specific training requirements.

You may be able to complete the 10 skill instructional activities with less than medium conditioning level. Medium conditioning means able to complete 1 Mt. Walker cycle in under 2.5-hours with a 30 lb. backpack. You need a high level of conditioning to complete the three required graduation climbs. High conditioning means able to complete 2 Mt. Walker cycles (back-to-back) with a 45 lb. pack in under 5 hours.

What are your outdoor climbing goals?

  1. Graduate the Basic Alpine Climbing course and possibly continue learning advanced climbing skills with registration in the Intermediate Climbing course.
  2. Meet lifelong climbing partners and gain the skills to safely enjoy mountain environments for a lifetime.
  3. Learn the skills necessary to safely travel in mountain environments but not ready to climb mountains.

If one of these goals sounds like you, we are interested in helping you achieve your goals.

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 instructional activities are set up to be completed in roughly five 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 activities and actual climbs the student will put these skills to practical use with experienced mountaineers.

One of the many things the Kitsap branch offers is smaller class sizes and great student to instructor ratio. In many cases, you’ll experience a 2-1 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:

  • 1 Course Kickoff and Gear meeting
  • 10 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

 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 instructional activities. 

Graduation Requirements;

  • Current Mountaineers membership
  • Complete the Low Impact Recreation online course
  • Fulfill at least 1 Stewardship activity on public lands
  • Attend all activities
  • Successful completion of all activities
  • 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

 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 fellowship, 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 prior to March 31 will incur a $100 fee. Cancellation after March 31 may result in no refund, subject to the Co-Chair's decision.

 If interested. Please email me at the following information. I will get back to you ASAP with additional instructions.

  1. Full name
  2. Physical address
  3. Climbing goals
Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Request equipment requirements from course leader.

Course Materials