Olympia Climbing Committee

Olympia Climbing Committee

The Olympia Climbing Committee includes Courses and Trips in Basic Alpine Climbing, Traditional Climbing, Intro to Leading on Bolted Routes, and Intermediate Alpine Climbing. Climbs vary from nontechnical ascents to high angle rock and ice. Depending upon the classification, they are open to Alpine Scramble graduates, Basic Alpine Climbing graduates and equivalents, and Intermediate Climbing students and graduates. The Olympia Mountaineers offers an array of climbing courses and activities.


This course is designed to teach the fundamental skills necessary to safely climb most rock and glaciated peaks in the Pacific Northwest with an experienced leader. The course includes instruction and practice in alpine travel and in the technical aspects of roped climbing on rock, snow and glaciers. The course emphasizes basic climbing and mountaineering skills, including navigation, rope handling, knots, crevasse rescue, and belay and rappel techniques. Throughout the course, students will gain an appreciation for wilderness ethics and conservation.

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Traditional Climbing

Participants of this course will be introduced to a broad range of techniques and scenarios.  Upon successful review of safe, basic climbing techniques, students will be guided through the following topics: Climbing Technique, Sport Leading, Sport Anchor Setup and Cleaning, Trad Protection Introduction and SERENE anchors.

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This course can teach you the skills to safely lead on sport (bolted) routes. Instruction includes clipping, anchors, lowering off, and climbing techniques. The course is suggested for gym climbers, scramblers, and anyone else who wants to further develop their rock skills and learn to lead.



The intermediate climbing course provides classroom and field instruction designed to teach the techniques of safe climbing on rock, hard snow, ice, and mixed alpine terrain. Leadership and safety skills are major components of the course. The Olympia intermediate climbing course is offered in a module format that includes instruction on winter mountaineering including emergency shelter construction and avalanche safety and rescue; leading on rock including setting pro, building and equalizing anchors, swinging leads and self-rescue; hard snow and glacier travel including German and French technique; and vertical ice climbing including the placing of ice screws and swinging leads on 60+ degree ice.

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Climbing Self Rescue is a seminar-based course with the goal of facilitating practice and learning of self rescue skills by providing scenarios for the participants to work through. Participants must be Intermediate Climbing students, Traditional Climbing (formerly Beyond Basic) students, or a graduate of the Leading on Bolts course the year prior to the class.  Course availability varies and may  not be offered every year. Registration typically begins in January  and the course goes from May to October. Questions? Email the climbing chair.  

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Become a leader

If you are interested in becoming a Basic Climb Leader, Basic Glacier Climb Leader, or a Basic Rock Climb Leader through the Olympia Branch please use this checklist to guide you on your path. Once you have completed all the requirements, apply for Climb Leader status using the standard application found here

The Olympia Branch requires applicants to have instructed at Olympia Basic Field Trips to become a climb leader. Olympia does not require applicants to be Intermediate students or graduates, or to have completed AIARE 1 or Climbing Self-Rescue courses. We do require knowledge of and comfort with these skills which will be evaluated during an interview after application. Direct all questions to the Olympia Branch Climbing Chair.

There are three levels of Basic Climb Leader in the Olympia Branch and an applicant may apply to any individual level or for the full climb leader:

  • Full Climb Leader: Can lead any Basic Rock Climb or Basic Glacier Climb
  • Basic Rock Leader: Can lead any Basic Rock Climb that does not involve glacier travel
  • Basic Glacier Leader: Can lead any Basic Glacier Climb that does not involve rock climbing

The checklist can be completed in any order and can be completed in multiple years. Navigation and First Aid should be current at the time of application.

    Leaders may also access the Schedule & Manage pages to learn how to manage trips, clinics & seminars, course activities, and  Trips Reports to research past trips and post a trip report.

    Climbing courses Planning calendar

    Please use this Google planning calendar to ensure that our climbing courses and related co-requisite courses don't overlap within the Olympia Branch. 

    Planning Calendar