Alpine Scrambling Course - Olympia - 2024

Scrambling Course

Alpine Scrambling Course

Alpine Scrambling Course - Olympia 2024 Extended enrollment now open

**Update 1/23/24** -- Extended enrollment available through 2/7/24

The Alpine Scrambling course teaches essential techniques of off-trail wilderness travel needed for scaling snow and rock summits. Alpine scrambling may at times involve unroped movement on and across low or moderately-exposed snow and rock terrain, but does not include roped climbing on high-angle, seriously-exposed technical rock faces, nor does it involve roped travel on crevassed glaciers.

The Olympia Alpine Scrambling Course is a combination of classroom lectures, field instruction and scrambling experiences with an emphasis on active, hands-on learning to achieve the goal of teaching students to safely scramble on rock and snow.

Graduates must attend all lectures and field trips, successfully complete physical conditioning requirements, complete three scrambles, and complete Wilderness First Aid, Wilderness Skills, and Navigation co-requisite courses.  Students will need to obtain a copy of Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition”.

In addition to having a desire to learn rock and scrambling skills, students must have or be able to develop solid overall physical conditioning, good cardiovascular strength, and psychological commitment. The course is challenging; however, the payoff will be opportunities to connect with new scrambling partners and friends as well as life-changing outdoor experiences, while learning the skills that can be used to safely travel in the wild for a lifetime.

The course runs for one season from the end of January to the middle of May.  Required scrambles should be completed by September 30 for course graduation.  Second year status can be requested if there is an extraordinary circumstance during the course.

Prospective students should consider taking the Conditioning Hike Series course prior to Alpine Scrambling if you are new to hiking or if you anticipate significant conditioning challenges.   Scrambling students are expected to complete a conditioner prior to being cleared to go on your first scramble.  There is a conditioning component to the course to help students reach that goal.  An example of a conditioner would be Mt. Si New Trail one way in about 2.5 hours or less  Please e-mail the course leader if you need help assessing if Scrambling or Conditioning Hike Series is right for you.

Below is the anticipated schedule for the 2024 course  Please note that dates are subject to change:

January 4, 2024 -- OPTIONAL - "Cookie Night" - 7 to 8 pm Come meet your scrambling instructors in a relaxed setting.  We'll be at NW Beerwerks in Olympia (420 Steele St SE, Olympia 98501)

January 2024 - Wilderness Skills pre-requisite course - virtual lecture Tuesday 1/23/24 , Field Day 1/27/24 (Leader will add you manually, please don't sign up on your own for this)

***Update 1/23/24** - If you missed the Wilderness Skills course, you still need do a Wilderness Skills equivalency. Scramble course leader will help arrange this upon sign up.  Equivalency will be Google Classroom content.

January 2024/February 2024 - Take one of the free Avalanche Awareness classes (1/24, 1/25, or 2/21)

Saturday February 10, 2024 - Basic Skills Lecture and Field Trip (9-3 in person)

March 2024 (Date TBD) - Wilderness First Aid hybrid - 8 hours of online and 8 hour field day (in person)

Tuesday  April 9, 2024 - Rock Lecture 6-9pm - in person Olympia

Saturday April 13, 2024 - Rock Field Trip - McCleary Cliffs (near Staircase (9-4)

Tuesday April 16, 2024 - Snow Lecture - 6-9pm - in person Olympia

Saturday April 20, 2024 - Snow Field Trip 1 - 8:30-4 - Paradise

Saturday May 4, 2024 - Snow Field Trip 2 8:30-4 - Narada Falls to Reflection Lakes to the Castle Saddle, Mt. Rainier National Park

Tuesday May 6 (tentative) or May 8 (tentative) - Navigation workshop - Olympia

Saturday May 11 or Sunday May 12 - Navigation Field Trip full day - Kennedy Creek (near Shelton)

In addition to the course fee, there are additional costs to consider

Wilderness Skills prerequisite - no cost to scrambling students

Navigation - $100 (leader will provide $25 discount code to students)

WFA - $175

Gear (ice axe, snowshoes, helmet, Microspikes, 10 essentials, protected downclimbing kit - caribeaners, prusik cord, and webbing), boots .  Please do not purchase gear until after the first lecture.

Please reach out to course leader - Paul Kallmann - if you have any other additional questions.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Required Equipment

Gear list to be provided at first lecture.   Please do not purchase gear until after the first lecture as we will be discussing approved gear at that time.

ice axe



protected downclimbing kit

10 essentials


Mountaineering boots or heavy duty crampon compatible boot

Correct clothing

crampons optional

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.