Basic Alpine Climbing Course - 2021

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

The Olympia Basic Climbing Course is a combination of online lectures, field instruction and climbing experiences with an emphasis on active, hands-on learning to achieve the goal of teaching students to safely climb rock, snow and the glaciated peaks of the Pacific Northwest.

Info
COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

9-15-20: Due to limited instructor availability we are opening a waitlist for Basic Climbing 2021 - Olympia. We may open up more student seats, to a max of 40, as instructors become available. If you are from the Olympia branch and are interested in taking Basic Climbing in 2021, please register for the waitlist or reach out to the course leader.

Priority  is given to members of the Olympia Branch until January 25, 2021. If you are in the Olympia Branch, please waitlist. Other branches, please wait until after January 25, 2021 to waitlist or you may be removed from the roster.

Course leaders are making every effort to offer the course as outlined below, however we may need to alter the structure of the course which could affect some dates. Please understand this before committing to the course.


 

The goal of the Olympia Basic Alpine Climbing Course is to teach students to safely climb rock, snow, and the glaciated peaks of the Pacific Northwest using a combination of online lectures, field instruction and climbing experiences with an emphasis on active, hands-on learning. 

The course begins with the prerequisite course Wilderness Skills.  Wilderness Skills is included at no extra charge for Basic Climbing students, and the Basic Climbing Chair will register climbing students -- do not self-register. The Wilderness Skills course is a two-day course and Basic Climbing students are required to attend both days, TBD for 2021.

The course lectures and field trips begin Tuesday, February 2, 2021, consisting of  6 lectures, 7 field trips, the final exam, and additional activities (see below, "requirements and commitments"). Students are expected to put in the necessary practice outside of structured course time for becoming proficient at skills. Topics covered include equipment/gear, backcountry travel and camping, snow camping, glacier travel, belaying, rappelling, rock climbing, crevasse rescue, and more. Previous experience in off-trail hiking and camping is helpful.

REQUIREMENTS AND COMMITMENTS

Basic Climbing students must:

  • Complete the pre-course questionnaire
  • Attend Wilderness Skills 
  • Attend all lectures
  • Attend all field trips
    • February 13, March 6, March 20, April 10-11 (overnight), May 1 or 2 (choose one), May 15 or 16 (choose one), May 29-30 (overnight)
  • Pass the final exam on June 8
  • Attend the additional practice session at SPIRE Rock on May 8 (optional but recommended)
  • Attend the climbing clinic at Cirque Climbing,  date TBD (optional but recommended)
  • Successfully complete physical conditioning requirements
  • Participate in three experience climbs (glacier, rock, alpine)
  • Complete Mountaineering Oriented First Aid (MOFA) or equivalent – you must self-register and pay the separate course fee for first aid courses
  • Complete Navigation course – you must self-register and pay the separate course fee for Navigation
  • Complete a stewardship requirement 

Additionally, students must purchase a copy of “Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition.” Note that there are significant gear and equipment needs for this course that will be required in order to participate in activities. Some examples: mountaineering boots, harness, helmet, crampons, ice axe, etc.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

In addition to having a desire to learn technical rock and mountaineering skills, successful graduates possess solid overall physical conditioning, good cardiovascular strength, and psychological commitment. This course is challenging; however, the payoff will be opportunities to connect with lifelong climbing 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.

Interested students are urged to consider taking the Alpine Scrambling course prior to Basic Climbing. Completion of Scrambling allows the student to master a portion of the skills that will be taught in Basic Climbing, as well as provide even more opportunities to meet like-minded outdoor enthusiasts. Additional courses such as MOFA and Navigation will also be completed prior to taking Basic Climbing, meaning fewer requirements for graduation in the same year.

The Olympia Branch climbing program is committed to supporting a diverse climbing community in spaces in which we live and recreate. We strongly encourage applications from people from underrepresented communities. 

For more information about Basic Climbing, potential students are encouraged to contact the Basic Climbing Chair Julie Dasso (julie@mountainjules.com).

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
BC Lecture #1: Intro and Basic Skills
Online Classroom
Tue, Feb 2, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
7 instructors
BC Field Trip #1: Basic Skills
Michael T. Simmons Elementary School
Sat, Feb 13, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
15 instructors
BC Lecture #2: Basic Skills
Online Classroom
Tue, Feb 23, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
17 instructors
BC Field Trip #2: Belay Practice
Priest Point Park
Sat, Mar 6, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
17 instructors
BC Lecture #3: Mountain Hazards
Online Classroom
Tue, Mar 9, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
17 instructors
BC Field Trip #3: Snow Travel
Paradise
Sat, Mar 20, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
16 participants
16 instructors
BC Lecture #4: Risk Management
Online Classroom
Tue, Mar 30, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
16 instructors
BC Field Trip #4: Snow Weekend
Paradise
Sat, Apr 10, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 11, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
15 instructors
Priest Point Park
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
18 participants
17 instructors
BC Lecture #5: Intro to Rock Climbing
Online Classroom
Tue, Apr 20, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
17 instructors
BC Field Trip #5: Rock Fundamentals
Tacoma Program Center
Sat, May 1, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
1 participant
17 instructors
Tacoma Program Center
Sun, May 2, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
16 participants
18 instructors
BC Field Trip #6: Rock Weekend
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, May 15, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
2 participants
14 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sun, May 16, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
15 participants
16 instructors
BC Lecture #6: Crevasse Rescue Practice
Tumwater Historical Park
Wed, May 26, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
15 instructors
BC Field Trip #7: Crevasse Rescue
Mount Baker Recreation Area: Easton Glacier
Sat, May 29, 2021 -
Sun, May 30, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
17 participants
15 instructors
BC Final Written Exam
Online Classroom
Tue, Jun 8, 2021
Registration closes Jan 31
18 participants
9 instructors
Roster
Required Equipment

Students will not need to purchase gear until after the first lecture.  Gear examples and discussion will be presented at that time, to be purchased for the first field trip in February.  It's OK to wait to buy until you see and handle gear that is exactly what you want and will use.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.