Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Seattle - 2020

Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Course

Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Seattle

The application window 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
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Seattle Basic Climbing - Optional Student Skills Practice (optional)
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Dec 9, 2019
Registration closed Dec 7
100 participants
23 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Dec 16, 2019
Registration closes Dec 14
32 participants
4 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 6, 2020
Registration closes Jan 4
99 participants
26 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 13, 2020
Registration closes Jan 11
113 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 20, 2020
Registration closes Jan 18
112 participants
26 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Jan 27, 2020
Registration closes Jan 25
120 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 3, 2020
Registration closes Feb 1
112 participants
29 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 10, 2020
Registration closes Feb 8
115 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 17, 2020
Registration closes Feb 15
117 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Feb 24, 2020
Registration closes Feb 22
119 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 2, 2020
Registration closes Feb 29
106 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 9, 2020
Registration closes May 7
108 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 16, 2020
Registration closes Mar 14
105 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 23, 2020
Registration closes Mar 21
108 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Mar 30, 2020
Registration closes Mar 28
106 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 6, 2020
Registration closes Apr 4
109 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 13, 2020
Registration closes Apr 11
106 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 20, 2020
Registration closes Apr 18
109 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 27, 2020
Registration closes Apr 25
108 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 4, 2020
Registration closes May 2
108 participants
28 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 11, 2020
Registration closes May 9
106 participants
27 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 18, 2020
Registration closes May 16
108 participants
28 instructors
Seattle SIG Practices and Conditioners (optional)
Little Si
Tue, Dec 10, 2019
Registration closes Dec 10
1 participant
0 instructors
Private Residence
Wed, Dec 11, 2019
Registration closed Dec 9
2 participants
1 instructor
Private Residence
Wed, Dec 11, 2019
Registration closes Dec 10
0 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Old Trail
Sun, Dec 15, 2019
Registration closes Dec 13
10 participants
0 instructors
Private Residence
Sun, Dec 15, 2019
Registration closes Dec 13
11 participants
0 instructors
Poo Poo Point
Wed, Dec 18, 2019
Registration closes Dec 17
9 participants
1 instructor
Mailbox Peak
Sat, Jan 4, 2020
Registration opens Dec 12; Instructor registration open now
8 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Old Trail
Thu, Jan 9, 2020
Registration opens Jan 1; Instructor registration open now
10 participants
1 instructor
Mount Si Old Trail
Sat, Jan 11, 2020
Registration closes Dec 12
8 participants
Mount Walker
Sat, Jan 11, 2020
Registration closes Jan 12
6 participants
2 instructors on waitlist
Mount Si Old Trail
Sat, Jan 25, 2020
Registration opens Jan 12; Instructor registration open now
10 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Mount Si Main Trail
Sat, Jan 25, 2020
Registration opens Dec 12; Instructor registration open now
8 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Old Trail
Sun, Jan 26, 2020
Registration closes Jan 24
1 participant
0 instructors
Mount Washington (Snoqualmie, winter)
Sat, Feb 8, 2020
Registration closes Feb 6
9 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Main Trail
Wed, Feb 12, 2020
Registration closes Feb 10
9 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Old Trail
Thu, Feb 13, 2020
Registration closes Feb 11
5 participants
1 instructor
Mailbox Peak
Sat, Feb 22, 2020
Registration opens Jan 12; Instructor registration open now
10 participants
0 instructors
West Tiger Mountain No. 3 Cable Line
Tue, Feb 25, 2020
Registration closes Feb 23
9 participants
0 instructors
Mailbox Peak
Sun, Mar 1, 2020
Registration closes Feb 28
4 participants
0 instructors
Blaine Stairs
Tue, Mar 10, 2020
Registration closes Mar 8
8 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Main Trail
Thu, Mar 12, 2020
Registration opens Jan 9; Instructor registration open now
9 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Old Trail
Tue, Mar 24, 2020
Registration closes Mar 22
8 participants
0 instructors
Mailbox Peak
Sat, Apr 4, 2020
Registration opens Jan 12; Instructor registration open now
10 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Mailbox Peak
Sat, Apr 11, 2020
Registration closes Apr 9
8 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Mount Si Old Trail
Thu, Apr 16, 2020
Registration closes Apr 14
8 participants
0 instructors
Mount Si Old Trail
Tue, Apr 21, 2020
Registration closes Apr 19
5 participants
0 instructors
Mailbox Peak
Sun, Apr 26, 2020
Registration closes Apr 24
7 participants
0 instructors
Mailbox Peak
Sat, May 16, 2020
Registration opens Jan 12; Instructor registration open now
10 participants
0 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #1 - Course Introduction, Top-rope Belay/Lower, & Rope Ascending
Seattle Program Center
Tue, Jan 7, 2020
Registration closes Jan 5
3 participants
23 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #1 - Top-rope Belay/Lower, Anchor Intro. & belays.
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Jan 16, 2020
Registration closes Jan 14
1 participant
10 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Fri, Jan 17, 2020
Registration closes Jan 15
4 participants
14 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Jan 22, 2020
Registration closes Jan 20
4 participants
7 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Jan 23, 2020
Registration closes Jan 21
28 participants
16 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #2 - Rappels, Belays, & Anchors
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Jan 29, 2020
Registration closes Jan 27
3 participants
25 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #2 - Rappels, Belays, Climbing, & Anchors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Feb 8, 2020
Registration closes Feb 6
2 participants on waitlist
17 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Feb 9, 2020
Registration closes Feb 7
1 participant on waitlist
14 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Feb 15, 2020
Registration closes Jan 13
13 participants
14 instructors
Seattle Basic SIG ROCK FT (Rock Climbing, Belay, Rappel, & Anchors)
The Feathers
Sat, Feb 29, 2020 -
Sun, Mar 1, 2020
Registration opens Jan 6; Instructor registration open now
12 participants
3 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Mar 7, 2020 -
Sun, Mar 8, 2020
Registration closes Mar 5
3 participants on waitlist
1 instructor on waitlist
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Mar 14, 2020
Registration closes Mar 12
6 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sun, Mar 15, 2020
Registration opens Mar 1; Instructor registration open now
3 participants
4 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Apr 4, 2020
Registration opens Apr 1
0 participants
Mount Erie
Sun, Apr 5, 2020
Registration opens Mar 1; Instructor registration open now
2 participants
4 instructors
Mount Erie
Sat, Apr 11, 2020 -
Sun, Apr 12, 2020
Registration opens Mar 30
11 participants
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Apr 11, 2020 -
Sun, Apr 12, 2020
Registration opens Mar 1; Instructor registration open now
11 participants
3 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sun, Apr 12, 2020
Registration closes Apr 10
11 participants
3 instructors
Mount Erie
Sun, Apr 12, 2020
Registration opens Mar 1; Instructor registration open now
10 participants
3 instructors
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, Apr 18, 2020
Registration opens Mar 1; Instructor registration open now
1 participant
0 instructors
Mount Erie
Sun, Apr 19, 2020
Registration opens Apr 1; Instructor registration open now
8 participants
3 instructors
The Feathers
Sun, Apr 19, 2020
Registration opens Mar 2; Instructor registration open now
13 participants
6 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #3 - Alpine Rock
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Mar 4, 2020
Registration closes Mar 2
3 participants
25 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #3 - Rock Evaluations
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Mar 21, 2020
Registration closes Mar 19
2 participants on waitlist
13 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sat, Mar 21, 2020
Registration closes Mar 19
0 participants
15 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 22, 2020
Registration closes Mar 20
1 participant
13 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 22, 2020
Registration closes Mar 20
8 participants
12 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 29, 2020
Registration closes Mar 27
8 participants
12 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Sun, Mar 29, 2020
Registration closes Mar 27
13 participants
15 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #4 - Snow Travel, Avalanche
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Apr 1, 2020
Registration closes Mar 30
2 participants
26 instructors
Seattle Basic SIG SNOW FT - SIG Snow Overnight (Snow Anchors & Belays, Crevasse Rescue, Snow Camping, & Roped Travel)
Artist & Huntoon Points
Sat, Apr 4, 2020 -
Sun, Apr 5, 2020
Registration opens Mar 1; Instructor registration open now
8 participants
3 instructors
Mazama Ridge (Mount Rainier)
Sat, Apr 4, 2020 -
Sun, Apr 5, 2020
Registration closes Apr 2
8 participants
2 instructors
Bean Creek Basin
Sat, Apr 11, 2020 -
Sun, Apr 12, 2020
Registration opens Feb 1; Instructor registration open now
4 participants
3 instructors
Bean Creek Basin
Sat, Apr 18, 2020 -
Sun, Apr 19, 2020
Registration opens Feb 1; Instructor registration open now
1 participant
3 instructors
Artist Point
Sat, Apr 18, 2020 -
Sun, Apr 19, 2020
Registration closes Apr 16
7 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Bean Peak & Volcanic Neck
Sat, May 2, 2020 -
Sun, May 3, 2020
Registration opens Apr 29
0 participants
Navaho Peak
Sat, May 2, 2020 -
Sun, May 3, 2020
Registration closes Apr 30
0 participants
4 instructors on waitlist
Artist Point
Sat, May 9, 2020 -
Sun, May 10, 2020
Registration closes May 7
2 participants on waitlist
2 instructors
Bean & Earl Peaks
Sat, May 9, 2020 -
Sun, May 10, 2020
Registration opens Apr 6; Instructor registration open now
8 participants
3 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #4 - Snow Travel, and Crevasse Rescue
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, Apr 25, 2020
Registration closes Apr 23
1 participant on waitlist
13 instructors
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sun, Apr 26, 2020
Registration closes Apr 24
1 participant
10 instructors
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, May 2, 2020
Registration closes May 3
24 participants
14 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #5 - Glacier Travel
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Apr 29, 2020
Registration closes Apr 27
2 participants
25 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #5 - Crevasse Rescue Evaluation
Seattle Program Center
Wed, May 6, 2020
Registration closes May 4
1 participant on waitlist
8 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, May 7, 2020
Registration closes May 5
0 participants
7 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Wed, May 13, 2020
Registration closes May 11
1 participant on waitlist
7 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, May 14, 2020
Registration closes May 12
8 participants
10 instructors
Seattle Climbers Reunion (optional)
Seattle Program Center
Fri, Oct 23, 2020
Registration closes Oct 21
83 participants on waitlist
0 instructors
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 Type
2020 Basic Climbing Handbook

2020 Seattle Basic Climbing Handbook

File application/x-maker 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