Alpine Scrambling Course - Seattle - 2023

Scrambling Course

Alpine Scrambling Course

The Alpine Scrambling course teaches essential techniques of off-trail wilderness travel needed for reaching snow and rock summits. NOTE; If you do not have a current Nav badge, You MUST complete the wilderness navigation course concurrently and earn the badge to be eligible for the final field trip. Seattle Navigation course opens Dec. 5 and starts January 4! see more below.

Click [More +] to read the ENTIRE description.

Alpine Scrambling fills the gap between on trail hiking and roped climbing. In the Alpine Scrambling course you will learn essential techniques of off-trail wilderness travel needed for reaching 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.

This course is ideal for people who are very comfortable hiking on trails and want something to expand their comfort zone and skills, but are not interested in or ready to enter the world of technical, roped climbing. The Cascades and Olympics are home to a huge number of stunning peaks that have a scramble route. Many of our graduates love scrambling on its own while others use it as a stepping stone to roped alpine climbing. You will find volunteer instructors of both types in this course.

Not sure if Scrambling is for you? Here are some pictures showing the types of places we go:


  • Student Registration Opens: Dec 3
  • Cancellation: Refund less $10 before Feb 13
    • No Refund after Feb 13

The Scramble course consists of 3 in town workshops and 4 single day field trips. The workshops introduce skills, which are then refined out in the field.


    • #1 Course Introduction and Gear: Overview of what scrambling is, setting course expectations, and a gear show and tell.
    • #2 Snow Travel: Snow travel safety (avalanche) presentation, ice axe introduction, ice axe arrest practice.
    • #3 Rock Travel: Movement on a variety of rock surfaces, protected downclimb (emergency descent  method).

    • #1 Conditioner Hike: Introduction to skills and a strenuous hike to gauge conditioning level.
    • #2 Snow Travel: Moving through snow, walking in balance, ice axe self belay,  ice axe arrest practice, winter navigation.
    • #3 Rock Travel: Moving on rock, protected down climb practice.
    • #4 Experience Field Trip: Putting it all together and final evaluation. Demonstrate all skills learned in the course on a trip including both snow and rock travel to a summit.


The Mountaineers strives to serve everyone, regardless of ability to pay. We are committed to providing access to outdoor recreation, education and conservation opportunities for all members and youth in the communities we serve. More information on financial assistance is available here:


In addition to the course fees, scrambling requires a substantial amount of gear. In addition to general outdoor gear (outdoor clothing, rain gear, backpack, 10 essentials, etc.) there are a few pieces of technical gear required. These pieces and rough prices buying new...

  • Mountaineering boots at $300-$500.
  • Ice Axe at $70-$100.
  • Climbing helmet at $60-$100.
  • Crampons at $120-$200.
    • We recommend you borrow or rent these for the course. They are required a the snow workshop, snow field trip, and Experience Field Trip.

The majority of the first workshop is dedicated to gear, we encourage you to wait until after the gear workshop to make purchases. Much of this gear can be bought used if you know what to look for.


There are two options for learning Scrambling with the Seattle Branch. The standard course (this one) which runs Feb - June, and the Compressed Course which covers the same material but in less time including a long weekend (May 5-7). The Everett, Tacoma, Foothills (Eastside), and Olympia branches also have Scrambling programs. Each branch runs their scrambling course differently  and course activities are not interchangeable with other branches.


If you already have the skills covered in this course or took an equivalent course from another club,  check out Scrambling Equivalency.

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

See the course handbook under "Course Materials"

Course Materials