Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Seattle 2019

Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Seattle 2019

The course is now full (and oversubscribed).  See the last paragraph below to explore other options.

Registration Timeframes: 
Applications accepted : Oct 1st - Oct 7th (non-members can apply)
Application results published : October 21st
Successful applicants register : October 22nd - October 31st
Cancellation: Refund minus $10 by Dec 7th. No refunds after this.

The course is often oversubscribed (>300 applicants for 120 seats). Students are selected from the applicant pool via a lottery, after screening for a basic level of outdoor experience. 

The Basic Alpine Climbing Course is a year-long program preparing students to be solid and competent climbers reaching rock and glacier summits of the Pacific Northwest. The course format is a combination of class lectures, in-town field trips, small group instruction at local crags and alpine climbs in the mountains during the summer. The course includes 5 lectures and 7 field trips plus readings.

After the "in town" training, students start going on climbs, always with carefully selected, experienced leaders. A reasonable level of physical fitness is required.

Skills taught include belaying, rappelling, rope handling, 5th class rock climbing, snow climbing, glacier travel, back-country camping including on snow, guidance on gear purchases and conditioning, and more - lots more.

The course is a significant time commitment and also requires the purchase of several hundred dollars of clothing and equipment, especially for those who do not already have hiking or backpacking gear. Even those who have some equipment already can expect to spend at least $500 on gear, and the course fee is $650.

Not all things need to be purchased right away, however, and some things can be rented from local mountain shops or borrowed from friends. But be aware our course requires an investment of both time and money. Some things to keep in mind: This is not rock climbing at the crags, it's summit-oriented alpine climbing in the mountains on rock, snow and glaciers. 

Alpine climbing with The Mountaineers is an awesome opportunity to confidently and competently visit places where few can go; to experience levels of instant trust, bonding, and community not commonly experienced in everyday life, all while pushing your physical limits and achieving personal goals. Welcome to your new adventures. We look forward to sharing them with you.

Some alternate options to the Basic Alpine Climbing Course with the Seattle Mountaineers include -

1) The club has individual modules (rock, alpine rock, glacier and alpine skills). This allows you to take the equivalent of the basic class at your own pace (and test out of skills you already possess).

2) Explore classes with other branches of the Mountaineers. Everett and Tacoma are nearby and have great climbing programs too!

3) The Alpine Scrambling class offers a great bridge between hiking and technical mountaineering to take adventurous off-trail routes to summits in the Cascades and the Olympics. Students with scrambling experience are preferred when applying for the Basic Alpine Course.

4) If you are already a graduate of the Alpine Scrambling class, there is a Glacier Travel Class. This covers the glacier skills from the Basic Alpine Climbing Class – bringing within reach mountains like Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker. Glacier grads can join the Basic Alpine Climbing class for a reduced fee – and get some credit towards the classes and climbs required.

5) Seattle Mountaineers also conducts an Intense Basic Alpine Climbing Course. It compresses the Basic Alpine Climbing Class into ~9 continuous and full days – intense!

6) If you are already an experienced climber with material experience on basic rock and glaciers climbs, you can apply for Basic Equivalency and participate in club activities that require graduation from the basic climbing class.

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Seattle SIG Practices and Conditioners (optional)
West Tiger Mountain No. 3 Cable Line
Mon, Dec 10, 2018
Registration closed Dec 8
4 participants
Mount Si Old Trail
Sat, Dec 15, 2018
Registration opens Dec 12; Instructor registration open now
6 participants
0 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Jan 12, 2019
Registration closes Jan 10
12 participants
5 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Feb 3, 2019
Registration closes Feb 1
12 participants
5 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Apr 6, 2019
Registration closes Apr 4
12 participants
5 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #1 - Course Introduction, Top-rope Belay/Lower, & Rope Ascending
Seattle Program Center
Fri, Jan 4, 2019
Registration closes Jan 2
3 participants
7 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing - Optional Student Skills Practice (optional)
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 7, 2019
Registration closes Jan 5
80 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 14, 2019
Registration closes Jan 12
88 participants
15 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 21, 2019
Registration closes Jan 19
88 participants
16 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 28, 2019
Registration closes Jan 26
94 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 4, 2019
Registration closes Feb 2
94 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 11, 2019
Registration closes Feb 9
90 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 18, 2019
Registration closes Feb 16
98 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 25, 2019
Registration closes Feb 23
91 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 4, 2019
Registration closes Mar 2
100 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 11, 2019
Registration closes Mar 9
91 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 18, 2019
Registration closes Mar 16
99 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 25, 2019
Registration closes Mar 23
96 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 1, 2019
Registration closes Mar 30
101 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 8, 2019
Registration closes Apr 6
93 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 15, 2019
Registration closes Apr 13
99 participants
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 22, 2019
Registration closes Apr 20
96 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 29, 2019
Registration closes Apr 27
100 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 6, 2019
Registration closes May 4
92 participants
19 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 13, 2019
Registration closes May 14
100 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 20, 2019
Registration closes May 11
94 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #1 - Top-rope Belay/Lower, Anchor Intro. & belays.
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Jan 9, 2019
Registration closes Jan 7
5 participants on waitlist
4 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Jan 10, 2019
Registration closes Jan 8
1 participant
5 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Jan 17, 2019
Registration closes Jan 15
17 participants
12 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Fri, Jan 18, 2019
Registration closes Jan 16
17 participants
15 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #2 - Rappels, Belays, & Anchors
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Jan 30, 2019
Registration closes Jan 28
3 participants
14 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #2 - Rappels, Belays, Climbing, & Anchors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Feb 9, 2019
Registration closes Feb 7
1 participant on waitlist
13 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Feb 10, 2019
Registration closes Jan 8
1 participant on waitlist
10 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Feb 16, 2019
Registration closes Feb 9
8 participants
14 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #3 - Alpine Rock
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Mar 6, 2019
Registration closes Mar 4
9 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Basic SIG ROCK FT (Rock Climbing, Belay, Rappel, & Anchors)
Tieton River: Royal Columns
Sat, Mar 9, 2019 -
Sun, Mar 10, 2019
Registration closes Mar 7
2 participants
Tieton River: Royal Columns
Sat, Mar 9, 2019 -
Sun, Mar 10, 2019
Registration closes Mar 7
11 participants
The Feathers
Sat, Mar 9, 2019 -
Sun, Mar 10, 2019
Registration closes Mar 7
9 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
The Feathers
Sat, Mar 9, 2019
Registration closes Mar 7
1 participant
0 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Mar 9, 2019 -
Sun, Mar 10, 2019
Registration closes Mar 7
4 participants
0 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Mar 16, 2019 -
Sun, Mar 17, 2019
Registration closes Dec 14
3 participants
1 instructor
The Feathers
Sat, Mar 16, 2019 -
Sun, Mar 17, 2019
Registration closes Mar 14
11 participants
5 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Apr 13, 2019
Registration opens Feb 25; Instructor registration open now
11 participants
11 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #3 - Rock Evaluations
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Mar 23, 2019
Registration closes Jun 22
0 participants
9 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Mar 23, 2019
Registration closes Mar 21
6 participants
0 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 24, 2019
Registration closes Mar 22
0 participants
2 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 24, 2019
Registration closes Mar 22
7 participants
3 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 31, 2019
Registration closes Mar 29
22 participants
11 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 31, 2019
Registration closes Mar 29
17 participants
5 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #4 - Snow Travel, Avalanche
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Apr 4, 2019
Registration closes Apr 2
8 participants
25 instructors
Seattle Basic SIG SNOW FT - SIG Snow Overnight (Snow Anchors & Belays, Crevasse Rescue, Snow Camping, & Roped Travel)
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, Apr 20, 2019 -
Sun, Apr 21, 2019
Registration closes Apr 18
0 participants
0 instructors
Bean Creek Basin
Sat, Apr 20, 2019 -
Sun, Apr 21, 2019
Registration closes Apr 18
11 participants
5 instructors
Bean Creek Basin
Sat, May 4, 2019 -
Sun, May 5, 2019
Registration opens Feb 27; Instructor registration open now
10 participants
1 instructor
Camp Muir & Anvil Rock
Sat, May 18, 2019 -
Sun, May 19, 2019
Registration closes May 16
2 participants
Seattle Basic Field Trip #4 - Snow Travel, and Crevasse Rescue
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, Apr 27, 2019
Registration closes Apr 25
2 participants on waitlist
3 instructors
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sun, Apr 28, 2019
Registration closes Apr 26
3 participants on waitlist
6 instructors
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, May 4, 2019
Registration closes May 2
25 participants
10 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #5 - Glacier Travel
Seattle Program Center
Wed, May 1, 2019
Registration closes Apr 29
8 participants
26 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #5 - Crevasse Rescue Evaluation
Seattle Program Center
Wed, May 8, 2019
Registration closes May 6
2 participants on waitlist
1 instructor
Seattle Program Center
Thu, May 9, 2019
Registration closes May 7
2 participants on waitlist
3 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Wed, May 15, 2019
Registration closes May 13
0 participants
4 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, May 16, 2019
Registration closes May 14
7 participants
8 instructors
Seattle Climbers Reunion (optional)
Seattle Program Center
Fri, Oct 25, 2019
Registration opens Aug 1
199 participants
Roster
Required Equipment

Gear

If you have little or no climbing experience, it might be better NOT to purchase any technical climbing equipment until after the first lecture.  This includes boots.

Gear Matrix

REQUIRED EQUIPMENT (X),
OPTIONAL EQUIPMENT (O)

Rock Climbs 

Glacier Climbs 

Rock Climbs 

Glacier Climbs 

9/16" or 1" tubular nylon webbing as follows:

Gloves (wool/synthetic)

X

X

  • Two Tied runners,
  • 5 ft each, color A

X

X

Second pair gloves/mittens(T)

O

  • Two tied runners,
  • 9 ft each, color B

X

X

Mitten shells (overmitts)

O

X

  • Chest harness: One 8 ft, color C

X

X

Day pack (frameless or rucksack)(4)

X

O

  • One nylon 120 cm sewn runner
  • One nylon 60 cm sewn runner

X

 X

 

 

 

5mm or 6mm perlon as follows:

Overnight pack (internal or external) (3)

Note 5

X

  • Prusiks (length per chart), color D

X

X

Compass(T)

X

X

  • Prusiks (length per chart), color E

X

X

Map of climbing destination(T)

X

X

  • Tie-off (hero) loop 4 ft, color E

X

X

Sunglasses/eye protection(T)

X

Commercial seat harness

X

X

Glacier glasses w/side shields(T)

X

Leather belay gloves

X

X

Sunscreen(T)

X

X

Climbing helmet

X

X

Lip balm w/sun protection(T)

X

X

Six non locking carabiners 

X

X

Insulating sit-pad

O

O

Three locking carabiners

X

X

Headlamp (T)

X

X

Munter Hitch locking carabiner (1)

X

X

Extra batteries (and bulb if not LED)(T)

X

X

Rescue pulley (SMC "CR" or Petzl Mini)

X

First Aid Kit(T)

X

X

Ice Ax

X

Waterproof matches or lighter(T)

X

X

Front-point crampons

X

Fire starter(T)

X

X

Chock Pick

X

Knife(T)

X

X

Belay Device

X

X

Food

X

X

Insulating hat (wool or synthetic)

X

X

Extra food(T)

X

X

Sun hat or bandanna

X

X

Water bladder/bottle (wide mouth) (T)

X

X

Underwear (wool or synthetic)

X

X

Second water container(T)

X

X

Thermal base layer--pants and LS shirt (wool or synthetic)

X

X

Water filter or purification method  (one per 2-3 climbers)(T)

Note 5

X

Shirt/Sweater, SL and LS (wool/synth)

X

X

Emergency shelter(T)

X

X

Insulated jacket (puffy)

X

X

Paper and pencil (or waterproof pen)

X

X

Wind shell jacket (2)

O

O

Toilet kit

X

X

Rain shell jacket

X

X

Sleeping bag

Note 4

X

Pants (wool/synthetic)

X

X

Insulating pad

Note 4

X

Second pair pants (wool/synthetic)

O

O

Tent (can be shared) or bivy bag

Note 4

X

Rain pants

X

X

Stove and fuel (one per two climbers)

Note 4

X

Gaiters 

X

Pot (one per stove)

Note 4

X

Boot Socks (wool/synthetic) 2 pair

X

X

Bowl and/or cup

Note 4

X

Liner socks(T) 2 pair

O

O

Spoon

Note 4

X

Mountaineering boots

X

X

Ear Plugs/ Eye cover

Note 4

O

GEAR MATRIX NOTES:
  1. The Munter Hitch requires an oversize pear-shaped HMS locking carabiner.

  2. Lightweight windshells are great layers for many conditions when a rain shell is not necessary. ie serious rain.

  3. Instead of two separate packs, a large internal frame pack that can be compressed for day climbs may be used.

  4. You will need overnight gear on some rock, alpine and glacier climbs.

  5. It may be necessary to filter or purify water on long day trips.

T: Ten Essentials items
All personal equipment should be marked with the owner's name or initials in a prominent location to make identification easy in the event of loss, theft or when commingled with other people's equipment. Carabiners and similar articles should be marked with paint, enamel, nail polish, or electrical tape in a distinctive color or pattern.
Course Materials
Name/Description Type
Basic Alpine Climbing Handbook 2019

Your first stop for how the course works. Bonus points for reading it cover to cover!

File File
Basic Field Trips CURRICULUM - Folder

Field Trips 1-5 Curriculum Outline

Folder
Crevasse Rescue Illustrated 2018

Crevasse Rescue Illustrated 2018

File File
SIG Rock Field Trip

SIG Rock Field Trip

File Pascal source code File
SIG Snow Field Trip

SIG Snow Field Trip

File File
Lectures

Collateral from the lectures

Folder
Basic Climbs Guide

A description of climbs eligible for graduation credit. 2010 is the most recent version.

File File
FAQs

Your survival guide to Basic Alpine Climbing

Page
Reporting an Overdue Climber

What is an overdue climber, and what should family/friends do if you do not return on scheduled day.

Page
Code of Conduct

Expectations of Mountaineer members

Page
Graduation Requirements

Seattle Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Graduation Requirements

Page
Basic Alpine Course Graduation Application

On-line graduation application form. Please do not submit an application before you complete all requirements UNLESS you can not complete them before October 15 (and want 2nd year status).

Link
Standard Techniques

Minimum set of techniques to know for successful progress in the Basic Alpine Climbing Course

Page
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