Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Seattle - 2020

Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Seattle

Info
COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

As a result of the suspension of all courses, activities and events, this year's course is cancelled. The 2021 Basic Climbing course is now posted, with applications open in early October. 

Basic Standard Techniques

The application window for the 2020 course was October 1-7. If you missed the application, please consider taking one of the other climbing courses we offer! See descriptions and links below. 
Application results published : October 23rd by end of day
Successful applicants register : October 24th - November 3rd
Cancellation: Refund minus $10 by Dec 7th. No refunds after this date.

The course is often oversubscribed (>200 applicants for ~120 seats). Students are selected from the applicant pool via a lottery, after screening for a basic level of outdoor experience. 

Scholarships:

The Mountaineers is committed to making our courses accessible to everyone, regardless of ability to pay. Our courses are priced to cover our costs, but we know that costs add up quickly, especially when students also need to purchase gear.  We encourage students to apply for our scholarship program, which is funded by generous donors to make courses more accessible. Applications may take up to 2 weeks to process and Financial Assistance can not by applied to courses or activities already registered for. You can learn more about and apply for a scholarship, and read about the new Liesl Waldhausen Basic Alpine Climbing Scholarship

To graduate from Basic Climbing you also need to have current badges or take the Wilderness First Aid (WFA) and Wilderness Navigation courses, for which you need to register separately. These courses, along with Basic Alpine, can be added to the same financial assistance application as well.

Climbing Courses with the Seattle Mountaineers:

We offer a range of climbing courses for all interests and levels of time commitment:

Alpine Scrambling: an introduction to mountaineering that fills the gap between on-trail hiking and technical, roped climbing. Learn essential techniques of off-trail wilderness travel needed for reaching snow and rock summits. This is a great option if you are hiker but have not done much off-trail travel or rock climbing. Scramble summits include Adams, Stuart and Kaleetan, among hundreds of others!

Introduction to Rock Climbinglearn the basics of top roped outdoor climbing, including basic climbing knots, belaying skills, climbing techniques and converting to rappel. At the end of this course, you will be able to safely follow a lead climber on single-pitch sport/crag climbs. A great choice if you have never climbed before!

Basic Glacier Travel: learn to travel safely on glaciers while roped up and technical skills such as crevasse rescue and rappelling. Students and graduates of this course are able to sign up for Basic Glacier climbs just like graduates of the Basic Alpine Climbing Course, bringing peaks like Rainier, Baker and Shuksan within reach.

Introduction to Alpine Rock: learn the fundamentals to follow a leader on a multi pitch traditional alpine rock climb. You can climb classics like the Tooth, South Early Winter Spire and Kangaroo Temple. Together with the Basic Glacier Travel course this completes the entire Basic Climbing curriculum and you can then sign up for any club Basic climbing trip.

Basic Alpine Climbing Course Description:

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.

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. There are no refunds beyond the first class meeting in December. (see FAQ at http://sbca.mountaineers.org/)

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.

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

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

Four non locking carabiners 

X

X

Insulating sit-pad

O

O

Four 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
2020 Basic Climbing Handbook

2020 Seattle Basic Climbing Handbook

Basic Field Trips CURRICULUM - Folder

Field Trips 1-5 Curriculum Outline

Crevasse Rescue Illustrated 2018

Crevasse Rescue Illustrated 2018

SIG Rock Field Trip

SIG Rock Field Trip

SIG Snow Field Trip

SIG Snow Field Trip

Lectures

Material from the lectures, usually posted after each lecture

Basic Climbs Guide

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

FAQs

Your survival guide to Basic Alpine Climbing

Reporting an Overdue Climber

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

Code of Conduct

Expectations of Mountaineer members

Graduation Requirements

Seattle Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Graduation Requirements

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).

Standard Techniques

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