Aid & Big Wall Climbing Course - Seattle - 2023

Climbing Course

Aid & Big Wall Climbing Course

Aid & Big Wall Climbing Course - Seattle

The Aid & Big Wall Climbing 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 2023 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.

2023 Course Schedule:

January 29, 2023 (Sunday) - FT 1 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

February 11, 2023 (Saturday) - FT 2 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

February 25, 2023 (Saturday) - FT 3 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

February 26, 2022 (Sunday) - FT 4 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

March 12, 2023 (Sunday) - FT 5 - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

March 25, 2023 (Saturday) - FT6 - Zig Zag Wall, Frenchman's Coulee, near Vantage, WA

March 26, 2023 (Sunday) - FT7 - Middle East Wall, Frenchman's Coulee, near Vantage, WA

April [TBD], 2023 - FT8 - Lower Town Wall & other locations, Index, WA

April/May [TBD], 2023 - FT9 Upper Town Wall Day 1, Index, WA

April/May [TBD], 2023 - 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.


Qualified applicants will be admitted on a rolling basis beginning in October  2022.

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

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.