Aid & Big Wall Climbing Course - Seattle - 2022

Climbing Course

Aid & Big Wall Climbing Course

Aid & Big Wall Climbing Course - Seattle

The Aid & Big Wall Course is the instructional program of the Mountaineers Aid & Big Wall Community, a group of climbers that meet regularly in the spring to advance our knowledge and skill of aid & big wall climbing.  Each year we accept up to eight new members.

The Course covers techniques required for modern aid climbing, including gear, leading, placing clean & fixed protection, cleaning, ascending (jugging) & descending fixed ropes , traverses, pendulums, hauling, aid & big wall specific rigging, training, swinging leads, and solo aid techniques.  The emphasis is on clean aid, and the "traditional Yosemite technique." The instructional phase of the Course runs from mid-January through May, and consists of 4-6 instruction & practice sessions at the Mountaineers Seattle Program Center, a weekend field trip to Vantage, and two field trips to Index.  Aid climb outings usually take place during the summer, typically followed by a weeklong, self-organized climbing trip to Yosemite Valley in mid-to-end of September.  For additional information about the 2022 Course, see the Course Handbook (also in the “Course Materials” tab, below).

The goal for the Course is to provide participants with the skills and experience to safely swing leads on moderate (C2), multipitch aid climbs. Additional practice outside scheduled Course activities to increase proficiency is a must to achieve this goal and before being ready to attempt big wall routes such as those in Yosemite.

We encourage participants to come back during subsequent years to refine skills, climb more, and help teach the next group of new members.


  • Significant rock climbing experience at the Intermediate or Crag level.  Applicants are expected to have swung leads on at least five multipitch routes of 5.6 or higher. At least two should have been 5.7 or higher, and at least one a long route such as the North Ridge of Mt. Stuart, or Royal Arches, or similar.

Graduation Requirements:

  1. Attend instruction & practice sessions, demonstrate proficiency at aid climbing techniques, and successfully complete field trips.
  2. Complete a grade IV or greater multipitch aid climb while swinging leads and hauling.

Recognition beyond Graduation:

  1. Lost Arrow Awards go the those successfully climbing Lost Arrow Spire Tip in Yosemite.
  2. Wall Climber Awards will go to everyone successfully completing a Grade V Wall.
  3. Wall Rat Awards will go to everyone successfully completing a Grade VI Wall.

2022 Course Schedule:

January 23, 2022 (Sunday) - FT 1 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

January 29, 2022 (Saturday) - FT 2 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

February 26, 2022 (Saturday) - FT 3 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

March 5, 2022 (Saturday) - FT 4 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

March 12, 2022 (Saturday) - FT 5 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

March 26, 2022 (Saturday) - FT6 - Zig Zag Wall, Frenchman's Coulee, near Vantage, WA

March 27, 2022 (Sunday) - FT7 - Middle East Wall, Frenchman's Coulee, near Vantage, WA

April [TBD], 2022 - FT8 - Lower Town Wall & other locations, Index, WA

April/May [TBD], 2022 - FT9 Upper Town Wall Day 1, Index, WA

April/May [TBD], 2022 - FT10 Upper Town Wall Day 2, Index, WA

NOTE:  If a student has multiple scheduling conflicts with Course activities, the student should consider postponing application/enrollment to a subsequent year with fewer conflicts.


Admissions preference will be granted to qualified applicants who were wait-listed in prior years.  Thereafter,
(A) if there are fewer qualified applicants than available student slots, qualified applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis beginning on October 18, 2021; or
(B) if there are more qualified applicants than available student slots, students will be chosen by random lottery.

The application deadline for the 2022 Course admissions lottery (if needed, see B above) is 10 pm Pacific Time on October 17, 2021. To ensure the greatest chance of being admitted, prospective students should apply by 10pm Pacific Time, October 17, 2021.

To apply, send a climbing resume to Ed Mancebo at

Financial assistance/scholarships may be available to provide access to the Aid & Big Wall Climbing Course:

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Aid & Big Wall Field Trip
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Jan 29, 2023
Registration closes Jan 27
5 participants
3 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Feb 11, 2023
Registration closes Feb 10
5 participants
3 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Feb 25, 2023
Registration closes Feb 24
5 participants
3 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Feb 26, 2023
Registration closes Feb 25
5 participants
3 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 12, 2023
Registration closes Mar 11
5 participants
3 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Mar 25, 2023
Registration closes Mar 23
3 participants
7 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sun, Mar 26, 2023
Registration closes Mar 24
3 participants
7 instructors
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.