Basic Alpine Climbing Course - Seattle - 2021

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 of November 15, 2020, we can no longer accept any applications or inquiries. There are no available spots. Please do not ask for exceptions. We recommend that you read about the other climbing classes offered by the club, through the Seattle Branch or other branches; see descriptions below. 

Due to the COVID-19 situation and possible continued restrictions, most of the seats in the 2021 Basic Climbing course are reserved for students continuing from the 2020 course.  We plan to offer the course if conditions allow, with potential changes to the course structure. The event dates below are tentative and likely to change.

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. 

Application Process

For 2021 we can only accept applications from Alpine Scramble graduates. Please contact the course leader directly by October 15th, 2020.

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 Climbing: learn 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 course 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 program 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 good 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 SIG Practices and Conditioners (optional)
Mount Si Main Trail
Wed, Apr 14, 2021
Registration closes Apr 14
1 participant
Leavenworth
Sat, May 15, 2021 -
Sun, May 16, 2021
Registration closes May 13
0 participants
2 instructors
Seattle Basic SIG ROCK FT (Rock Climbing, Belay, Rappel, & Anchors)
Mount Erie
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closes Apr 16
1 participant
4 instructors
The Feathers
Sat, Apr 17, 2021
Registration closed Apr 12
1 participant
3 instructors
Exit 38
Thu, Apr 22, 2021
Registration closes Apr 20
1 participant
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sat, May 1, 2021
Registration closes Apr 26
1 participant
1 instructor
Leavenworth
Sat, May 8, 2021
Registration closes Apr 26
0 participants
1 instructor
Vantage (Frenchman Coulee)
Sun, May 16, 2021
Registration closes May 6
1 participant
1 instructor
Seattle Basic SIG SNOW FT - SIG Snow Overnight (Snow Anchors & Belays, Crevasse Rescue, Snow Camping, & Roped Travel)
Austin Pass (winter)
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closes Apr 15
0 participants
0 instructors
Mount St. Helens/Worm Flows
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closes Apr 15
1 participant
0 instructors
Skyline Ridge & Tye Peak
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closed Apr 9
2 participants
Bean Creek Basin
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closes Apr 15
0 participants
1 instructor
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closes Apr 15
0 participants
0 instructors
Heliotrope Ridge and Lower Coleman Glacier & Seracs
Sat, Apr 17, 2021 -
Sun, Apr 18, 2021
Registration closed Apr 12
0 participants
0 instructors
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Fri, Apr 30, 2021 -
Sat, May 1, 2021
Registration closes Apr 28
3 participants
Mount St. Helens/Worm Flows
Sat, May 1, 2021 -
Sun, May 2, 2021
Registration closes Apr 29
0 participants
1 instructor
Devil's Peak/South Ridge
Sat, May 1, 2021 -
Sun, May 2, 2021
Registration closes Apr 29
1 participant on waitlist
0 instructors
Bean Creek Basin
Sat, May 15, 2021 -
Sun, May 16, 2021
Registration closed Apr 12
0 participants
Seattle Basic Climbing - Optional Student Skills Practice (optional)
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 19, 2021
Registration closes Apr 17
37 participants
16 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, Apr 26, 2021
Registration closes Apr 24
38 participants
15 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 3, 2021
Registration closes May 1
35 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 10, 2021
Registration closes May 8
36 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Mon, May 17, 2021
Registration closes May 15
36 participants
18 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #4 - Snow Travel, and Crevasse Rescue
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, Apr 24, 2021
Registration closes Apr 22
2 participants
10 instructors
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sun, Apr 25, 2021
Registration closes Apr 23
28 participants
10 instructors
Snoqualmie Summit Ski Areas
Sat, May 1, 2021
Registration closes Apr 29
37 participants
14 instructors
Seattle Basic Climbing Lecture #5 - Glacier Travel
Online Classroom
Wed, Apr 28, 2021
Registration closes Apr 26
54 participants
11 instructors
Seattle Basic Field Trip #5 - Crevasse Rescue Evaluation
Seattle Program Center
Wed, May 5, 2021
Registration closes May 3
3 participants
0 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Thu, May 6, 2021
Registration closes May 4
4 participants
0 instructors
Seattle Program Center
Wed, May 12, 2021
Registration closes May 10
20 participants
1 instructor on waitlist
Seattle Program Center
Thu, May 13, 2021
Registration closes May 11
24 participants
5 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
Google Classroom

This is an invitation link to join Google Classroom for students only, where we share more reading and practice materials.

2021 Basic Climbing Handbook

2020 Seattle Basic Climbing Handbook

Seattle Basic Alpine Climbing Field Trip Curriculum v2021-03-14

Seattle Basic Alpine Climbing Curriculum 2021 update 2021-03-14, FT #3 update

Crevasse Rescue Illustrated v2018

Crevasse Rescue Illustrated 2018

2021 SIG Rock FT Guide.pdf

Guidance for SIG Rock Field Trip

2021 SIG Snow FT Guide.pdf

Guidance for SIG Snow Field Trip

Reporting an Overdue Climber

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

Basic Climbs Guide

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

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). Use this form to apply for extensions or for a conditional graduation request.

FAQs

Your survival guide to Basic Alpine Climbing