Basic Alpine Climbing Equivalency - Olympia - 2023

Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Equivalency

A way for experienced climbers to participate in many of the Mountaineer's climbing activities.


If you cancel the course within these timelines:

  • Up to one month prior to the date of the Equivalency Evaluation for which you are registered - refund minus $10
  • One month to one week before the  Equivalency Evaluation for which you are registered - 50% refund
  • One week prior  - no refunds

course information:

Equivalency is for experienced climbers who have not taken the Mountaineers Basic Climbing course. This is an opportunity for those climbers to gain access to and participate in many of the club’s climbing activities. These activities may include but are not limited to alpine scrambles, Basic level climbs, climbing seminars, and additional/advanced climbing courses. In addition, if applicants are granted equivalency, one will qualify to participate in snowshoe tours, hikes and will have the opportunity to become involved with certain leadership activities.

You must complete the application in order to be accepted into the Equivalency course. Do not self-register until you are accepted into the course and receive an acceptance email.

Information about the current learning objectives and course material can be found here:

To be eligible for Basic Climbing Course equivalency, the applicant must:

  • Submit a resume of their climbing experience (submitted with the application) that shows that they have mountaineering training and experience that meets or exceeds the requirements for course graduation, and
  • Demonstrate through a practical examination, and through in-field demonstration, proficiency in the required skills for course graduation (listed below), and
  • Participate in a meeting with the Basic Climbing Committee.

Once the applicant is eligible for Equivalency:

  • The applicant will receive an acceptance email, at which point they can register for the course online.
  • The applicant will receive a Basic Climbing Student badge in their profile which will allow them to sign up for basic climbs.
  • Once all other requirements are met (navigation course, first aid course, climbing conditioner, stewardship activity), the student may apply for graduation and receive Basic Climbing Graduate badge.

Equivalency will be granted to students who:

  • Demonstrate through a practical examination, and through in-field demonstration, proficiency in all required skills (listed below)
  • Complete a Mountaineers Navigation Course or Equivalent
  • Complete a Wilderness First Aid Course (or show current certification)
  • Complete a climbing conditioner with The Mountaineers
  • Participate in a Stewardship activity
  • Participate in (2) Basic Mountaineering climbs, including:
    • (1) Glacier
    • (1) Rock               

Required Skills


  • Equipment and Clothing;
  • Packing Wisely;
  • Ten Essentials;
  • Mountain Weather, including lightning;
  • Etiquette & ethics on crowded climbs;
  • Decision Making Skills;
  • Teamwork;
  • Risk Management & Mitigation


  • Overhand
  • Water Knot
  • Girth Hitch
  • Bachmann Hitch
  • Figure 8 on a Bight
  • Rewoven Figure 8
  • Munter Mule Overhand
  • Butterfly
  • Clove Hitch
  • Munter Hitch
  • Double Fisherman
  • Prusik Hitch
  • Autoblock
  • Bowline (optional)
  • Klemheist (optional)

Anchor systems:

  • Understanding and evaluating Belay Anchors, and constructing simple belay anchors (i.e.: using a cordelette or webbing to sling existing natural anchors like trees and boulders or 2 or more bolt hangers);
  • Recognizing appropriate load-bearing points, connecting to it with clove hitch, and pull-testing;
  • Placing snow anchors including pickets, bollards & deadman/T-Slot; Running belays (passing pickets) on snow;
  • Mid-clip vertical picket anchor


  • ​​Belaying:  Top rope belay, lead belay, belaying with a device using PBUS belay technique, belaying with a munter using slip-slap-slide
  • Related Belay Skills: Following a leader including cleaning pro and climbing commands.

Related Belay Skills:

  • Following a leader including cleaning pro,
  • Climbing Commands in the alpine

Belay Escape:

  • Tie off using a modified device mule (leader tie-off),
  • transfer the load using prusik and MMOs
  • come out of the system


  • Double strand extended rappel on an ATC using a dedicated extension;
  • Sit & Spin Rappel;
  • Autoblock;
  • Fireman’s Belay

Rock Skills:

  • Strategies for avoiding party-caused rock fall;
  • Rock Climbing Techniques

Snow Skills:

  • Avalanche Awareness;
  • Snow Emergency Shelter Construction;
  • Ice Ax Self-Belay;
  • Snow Travel and assessing runout;
  • Self Arrest;
  • Snow Camping

Glacier Travel:

  • Shortening the rope on a glacier climb (Kiwi Coil vs putting the rope in the pack);
  • Prussik a follower in;
  • Roped Glacier Travel

Responding to a Crevasse Fall:

  • Team arrest; 
  • Anchoring the rope including backup;
  • Making a plan;
  • Executing a raising system

Crevasse Rescue Raising Systems:

  • All students will learn both 3:1 Z-pulley and 2:1 drop-loop C-pulley. Students will demonstrate proficiency in at least one raising system.

Optional Snow Skills:

  • High Dagger;
  • Step Cutting;
  • Chopping Steps;
  • Front Pointing;
  • French crampon & ice ax techniques;
  • German crampon & ice ax techniques;
  • Effective cramponing on steep terrain;
  • Descending walking forward

The Applicant will be granted Student status once proficiency is demonstrated in all required skills. Once all other requirements are met, the Student may apply for graduation and receive Course Equivalency.


Climbers wishing to obtain Equivalency should submit a comprehensive climbing resume with relevant climbing experience and education related to rock climbing and glacier summits to the Basic Equivalency Course leader indicated on the course listing, expressing interest. You should include the peak / route / date / your role (i.e. private, guided, leading or following) and whether or not the climb was successful. In addition, please note any of the other requirements that you have already completed. If your resume appears to have experience equivalent to that of graduates of our courses, you will be invited to sign up for the Equivalency Skills Assessment. At the assessment the climber's knowledge and skills are reviewed.

Basic skills reviewed at the evaluation are listed above. You will notice that rock-climbing skills are not explicitly evaluated; we do not expect our applicants to necessarily be able to climb 5.8 face or 5.9 crack for instance. The emphasis in our mountaineering course work is safe travel in alpine environments, including hazards such as steep ice, hard snow, loose rock, wilderness route finding and inclement weather. In our experience, success is more often found in developing good judgment for those situations, as opposed to gymnastic climbing abilities. Though of course, instruction on specific climbing techniques are a part of our courses.


Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Refer to the Basic Climbing Course Student Manual under Equipment. 

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.