Basic Alpine Climbing Course - 2023

Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Course

The Olympia Basic Climbing Course is a combination of classroom 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.

APPLICATION PERIOD

Please complete the application to be added to the waitlist. Waitlist is open now. 

https://forms.gle/yiz7Uj2oojj7LZzP6

REFUNDS 

If you cancel the course within these timelines:

  • November 1 through December 31 - refund minus $10
  • January 1 through January 15 - 50% refund
  • After January 15 - no refunds

COURSE INFORMATION

Course lectures and field trips begin in February, and are completed in June, consisting of seven lectures, seven field trips and additional optional climbing events. 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. 

Graduates must attend all lectures and field trips, pass the final exam, successfully complete physical conditioning requirements, three experience climbs, Wilderness First Aid (April 1 or 2, 2022), Navigation course (May 6 or 7, 2022), and a stewardship project. There is a separate course fee for both FA and Navigation. While Climbing Conditioners are listed as "optional" in the course requirements, all students are required to pick at least one Climbing Conditioner (more conditioners are recommended). Please take this into account when determining your schedule availability before applying for acceptance into the course. Additionally, students must purchase a copy of “Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition”.

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. The 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.

The course runs for one season beginning with the first lecture in February and ending September 30, and participants must complete the lectures and field trips the first year. If a student is unable to complete course co-requisites in one year, they may apply for second-year student status, which may incur an additional registration charge. 

RECOMMENDATIONS

Wilderness Skills is a recommended course prior to Basic Climbing. Wilderness Skills teaches the basics of traveling in the outdoors and how to prepare for multiple situations. Basic Climbing students interested in taking Wilderness Skills should reach out to the Basic Climbing course leader for a discount on registration costs.

Basic Climbing students are urged to consider taking the Alpine Scrambling course prior to Basic Climbing. Completion of scrambling allows the student to learn a portion of the skills that will be taught in Basic Climbing, have completed the co-requisite classes and activities, as well as provide even more opportunities to meet like-minded outdoor enthusiasts.

MORE INFORMATION

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. Please use the Scholarship link to apply for financial assistance, and do this early so you may have your scholarship in time to register if you're accepting into the course.

For more information about Basic Climbing, potential students are encouraged to attend the Olympia Branch open house, held in early January each year at St. Martin’s University in the Worthington Center. In the meantime, direct climbing course questions to the Basic Climbing  course leader.

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Climbing Conditioner (optional)
Mount Si Old Trail
Sat, Jan 21, 2023
Registration closes Jan 19
2 participants on waitlist
Mount Rose
Sat, Jan 28, 2023
Registration closes Jan 26
1 participant
0 instructors
Dog Mountain Loop (Columbia River)
Sat, Feb 4, 2023
Registration closes Feb 2
0 participants
Mount Rose
Sat, Feb 18, 2023
Registration closes Feb 16
1 participant
Copper Creek
Sat, Mar 11, 2023
Registration closes Mar 9
0 participants
Mount Rose
Sat, Mar 11, 2023
Registration opens Feb 1; Instructor registration open now
5 participants
0 instructors
Mount Rose
Sat, Mar 25, 2023
Registration closes Mar 23
1 participant
Mount Si
Sat, Apr 1, 2023
Registration closes Mar 30
2 participants on waitlist
1 instructor
Mount Teneriffe
Sat, Apr 8, 2023
Registration closes Apr 6
2 participants
0 instructors
Basic Climbing Pre-course Workshop (optional)
Lacey Community Center
Tue, Jan 24, 2023
Registration closes Jan 22
7 participants
13 instructors
BC Lecture #1: Intro and Basic Skills
Lacey Community Center
Tue, Feb 7, 2023
Registration closes Feb 5
0 participants
3 instructors
BC Field Trip #1: Basic Skills
Michael T. Simmons Elementary School
Sat, Feb 11, 2023
Registration closes Feb 9
0 participants
6 instructors
BC Lecture #2: Basic Skills
Lacey Community Center
Tue, Feb 21, 2023
Registration closes Feb 19
0 participants
17 instructors
BC Field Trip #2: Belay Practice
Squaxin Park
Sat, Mar 4, 2023
Registration closes Mar 2
0 participants
7 instructors
BC Lecture #3: Mountain Hazards
Lacey Community Center
Tue, Mar 7, 2023
Registration closes Mar 5
0 participants
18 instructors
BC Field Trip #3: Snow Travel
Paradise
Sat, Mar 18, 2023
Registration closes Mar 16
0 participants
1 instructor
BC Lecture #4: Risk Management
Lacey Community Center
Tue, Mar 28, 2023
Registration closes Mar 26
0 participants
17 instructors
BC Field Trip #4: Snow Weekend
Paradise
Sat, Apr 15, 2023 -
Sun, Apr 16, 2023
Registration closes Apr 13
0 participants
5 instructors
Paradise
Sat, Apr 22, 2023 -
Sun, Apr 23, 2023
Registration closes Apr 20
0 participants
6 instructors
BC Lecture #5: Intro to Rock Climbing
Lacey Community Center
Tue, Apr 25, 2023
Registration closes Apr 23
0 participants
15 instructors
BC Field Trip #5: Rock Fundamentals
SPIRE Rock
Sat, Apr 29, 2023
Registration closes Apr 27
6 participants
5 instructors
SPIRE Rock
Sun, Apr 30, 2023
Registration closes Apr 28
21 participants
17 instructors
BC Activity: Rock Gym Climbing Night (optional)
Cirque Climbing Gym
Sun, May 7, 2023
Registration closes May 5
6 participants
6 instructors
BC Activity: Rock Climbing Practice (optional)
SPIRE Rock
Sat, May 13, 2023
Registration closes May 11
7 participants
11 instructors
BC Field Trip #6: Rock Weekend
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, May 20, 2023
Registration closes May 18
4 participants
2 instructors on waitlist
BC Lecture #7: Crevasse Rescue Practice
Burfoot Park
Tue, May 23, 2023
Registration closes May 21
0 participants
12 instructors
BC Field Trip #7: Crevasse Rescue
Paradise
Sat, Jun 3, 2023
Registration closes Jun 1
0 participants
1 instructor
BC Final Written Exam
Lacey Community Center
Tue, Jun 6, 2023
Registration closes Jun 4
0 participants
4 instructors
Roster
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.