Basic Climbing Course - Kitsap - 2024

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.

Follow these instructions.

  • Read the basic climbing course information below.
  • Request permission to register.
    • Send email to Ed Lucas at e_lucas11@live.com with the following information.
      • Full name
      • Physical address (house or apartment number, street, city)
      • Why do you want to register for the course?
      • Any hiking, backpacking, or climbing experience? No experience is necessary to register.  We encourage people with no or minimal experience to register. We will teach you everything you need to know.

The course includes 14, 1-day activities. each 1-day activity is divided into 2 groups. saturday and sunday groups. we will fill the saturday group first. if we have enough volunteer support, we will open the sunday group. 

Basic Alpine Climbing Course Information.

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 activities, and field 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.  Classroom 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.  Field activities primarily occur at Hurricane Ridge for snow instruction and McCleary Cliffs for rock instruction. Both locations are in the Olympic Peninsula.

During the course, students of the Mountaineers Basic Alpine Climbing Course will demonstrate the following:

  • Proficiency and safety in the required skills and competencies associated with the basic alpine climbing course.
  • Effective teamwork while working and climbing with their fellow students, instructors, and climb leaders.
  • A sufficient, accurate, and honest level of self-assessment to properly determine their ability to
    successfully participate in basic alpine climbs. Their self-assessment would include, but not be
    limited, to an accurate evaluation in the following:
    • Proficiency with the basic alpine climbing curricula of skills and competencies.
    • A necessary level of conditioning and fitness.
      • Prior to the end of each course module (foundations, snow, rock) students will record and email their personal trip (conditioning) statistics. This can be accomplished using the GAIA or similar app to record your hike at Mt. Walker, Mt. Rose or similar terrain stats.
      • To participate on graduation climbs, as a minimum students will have demonstrated the ability to travel 3 miles in 2 hours, gaining an average of 800’/mile, carrying at least 30 lbs. 
    • A level of comfort with exposure.
    • Ability to match their skill and fitness level to selected climbs.

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 the course requires an investment of both time and money.

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 classroom and field activities and actual climbs students 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 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:

  • 1 Course Kickoff and Gear meeting.
  • 10 instructional activities.
  • Many extra hours of reading, study and practice.
  • Passing all tests that includes written and practical elements.
  • Successful completion of 2 graduation climbs, one glacier and one rock climb.
  • Complete the Avalanche Awareness online course.
  • Purchase, rent, or borrow climbing gear necessary prior to date required.
  • Complete the Low Impact Recreation online course prior to the first classroom activity.
  • 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 level of fitness that will allow you to safely and effectively participate in the field activities and climbs.
  • A personal commitment to a regular & disciplined training program to ensure the necessary fitness level and skills retention.
  • Participants have 2 years to complete the course and graduation climbs.

 Please keep this in mind as you consider sending the email requesting permission to register. 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 available to attend ALL activities.

  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 Basic Alpine Climbing course fee does not include the cost of a Mountaineer’s membership, text for the course, personal gear and equipment, Avalanche Awareness, 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.

 

Graduation Climb Information

  • Participants are responsible for signing up only for climbs that are within their physical and technical capabilities, wearing suitable clothing, and carrying appropriate equipment including the ten essentials.
  • Students must successfully complete the foundation and rock modules prior to participating on a rock climb.
  • Students must successfully complete the foundation and glacier modules prior to participating on a glacier climb.
  • Good overall physical conditioning, cardiovascular strength, and psychological commitment are needed as the participants will experience travel in challenging terrain with vertical exposure while carrying a heavy pack in all types of weather conditions.
  • BR (Basic Rock): The route will include two or more pitches of low 5th class rock.
  • BG (Basic Glacier): The route will include one hour or more of glacier travel during the ascent.
  • At a minimum, students will have demonstrated the ability to travel 3 miles in 2 hours, gaining an average of 800’/mile, carrying at least 30 lbs. Additionally, students will have a practical understanding of the fitness expectations of participating in a Mountaineers climb. Many climbs require a higher level of fitness. Climb leaders will communicate fitness expectations to participants based on selected climb.

At course completion, successful graduates of the Mountaineers Basic Alpine Climbing Course will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Successful participation in Mountaineers basic alpine climbs as a competent team member.
  • The necessary judgment and skills to plan and engage in their own trips in non- or low-technical scramble terrain.
  • A sufficient understanding of group dynamics and fundamental decision-making skills in the
    backcountry. 
  • An awareness of hazards and good safety habits to manage risk in the backcountry.
  • A mindfulness for environmental stewardship and respect for other parties.

Graduation Requirements;

  • Current Mountaineers membership.
  • Complete the Low Impact Recreation online course (free).
  • Complete the Avalanche Awareness online course ($25 in 2023).
  • Fulfill at least 1 Stewardship activity on public lands.
  • Attend and successfully complete all course activities.
  • Passing score on skills and tests.
  • Complete a separate Wilderness First Aid or Mountain-Oriented First Aid course ($300 in 2023).
  • Complete a separate Navigation course ($90 in 2023).
  • Successfully completion 2 required graduation climbs, one glacier and one rock climb.
Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Activity 8 (2023) Snow and Glacier Travel
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sat, Apr 13, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
0 participants
3 instructors
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sun, Apr 14, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
8 participants
5 instructors
Activity 9 (2023) Snow Practical
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sat, Apr 20, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
0 participants
3 instructors
Hurricane Ridge (winter)
Sun, Apr 21, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
8 participants
6 instructors
Activity 10 (2023) Belay, Rappel, and Ascending a Rope Skills Training
McCleary Cliffs
Sat, May 4, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
5 participants
2 instructors on waitlist
McCleary Cliffs
Sun, May 5, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
3 participants
4 instructors
Activity 11 - Rock Climbing Technique and Belay Escape
McCleary Cliffs
Sat, May 18, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
5 participants
1 instructor
McCleary Cliffs
Sun, May 19, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
3 participants
5 instructors
Activity 12 - Basic Rock 1
McCleary Cliffs
Sat, Jun 1, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
5 participants
2 instructors
McCleary Cliffs
Sun, Jun 2, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
3 participants
3 instructors
Activity 13 - Basic Rock 2 (exam)
McCleary Cliffs
Sat, Jun 8, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
5 participants
2 instructors
McCleary Cliffs
Sun, Jun 9, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
3 participants
4 instructors
Activity 14 (2023) Rock Module Practical
McCleary Cliffs
Sat, Jun 22, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
5 participants
3 instructors
McCleary Cliffs
Sun, Jun 23, 2024
Registration closed Jan 26
3 participants
5 instructors
Roster
Required Equipment

Request equipment requirements from course leader.

Course Materials
Name/Description