Basic Climbing Course   - Tacoma - 2019

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

The Basic Alpine Climbing Course is an intro to technical mountaineering, including roped glacier travel and rock climbing

UPDATE 1/15/19 - THIS COURSE IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2019 SEASON. Thank you for your interest in the Tacoma Basic Climbing Course - we are no longer accepting new applications at this time. If you have been accepted into the course, you will be notified via email and given permission to register.

Please check back next fall, and in the meantime, consider one of our other excellent courses in Scrambling, Sea Kayaking, Sailing, and Backpacking.

Thank you!  - the Tacoma Basic Climbing Committee



The Tacoma Basic Climbing Course combines classroom lecture, field instruction and climbing experience designed to provide the basic skills necessary to safely climb rock, snow and the glaciated peaks of the Pacific Northwest.  The course is set up to be completed in roughly eight months and covers selection and care of equipment, wilderness travel and camping, glacier travel, belaying, rappelling, rock climbing, crevasse rescue, and many other topics.  During field trips and actual climbs the student will put these skills to practical use with experienced mountaineers.  Previous experience in off-trail hiking and camping is helpful but not mandatory.  Participants should have a desire to learn technical mountaineering skills and be aware that this course requires a significant investment in time, energy, and money. Solid overall physical conditioning, good cardiovascular strength and psychological commitment are needed as the participants will experience travel in difficult terrain with vertical exposure while carrying a heavy pack in all types of weather conditions.  While the course is challenging and demanding the skills acquired provide the participants opportunities to meet lifelong climbing partners and gain the skills to safely enjoy mountains environments for a lifetime.

The course fee does not include the cost of membership, text for the course, personal gear and equipment, Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Navigation course.

Lecture Schedule:

Feb 6: Lecture 1  Course Introduction, Clothing/Equipment, Safety & Roped Climbing Overview

Mar 6: Lecture 2  Safety, Health & Nutrition, Mechanics of Belaying & Rescue

Mar 20: Lecture 3 Snow Travel, Snow Camping, GAR, and Leave No Trace Ethics

April 24: Lecture 4 Decision Making, Group Dynamics

May 15: Lecture 5 Glacier Travel, Ice Axe Arrest 

June 12: Final Exam

Field Trip Schedule:
(Bolded are tested skills at field trip and you cannot miss that fieldtrip)

Feb 19 or 20 FT 1 Prep Fundamentals 

Feb 23 or 24 FT 1 Fundamentals: Knots, Belaying, Prusiking, Anchors, Leader Tie-off and Belay Escape

Mar 23 or 24: FT 2  Critical Skills Exam: Belay, Prusiking, and Leader Tie-off  and Glacier Travel 

Mar 30-31: FT 3 Winter Overnight Snow Camping, Ice Axe Techniques, Snow & Roped Glacier Travel

April 9 or 10: FT 4 Prep Rock Climbing Technique and GAR assessment 

April 13 or 14: FT 4 Rock Climbing and Rappelling 

May 10 or 11 or 12: FT 5 Critical Skills Exam: Rappelling. Rock techniques

May 21, 2019  or May 22: FT 6 Prep: Crevasse Rescue  review 

June 1-2: FT 6 & 7: Critical Skills Exam: Ice Axe Arrest. Ice Axe Techniques, Snow & Roped Glacier Travel

Graduation Requirements

  • Attend all lectures, field trip preps, and field trips 
  • Pass final examination
  • Satisfactorily complete all field trips
  • Satisfactorily complete one Conditioner
  • Satisfactorily complete two Basic Climbs, including one Rock and one Glacier climb
  • Successfully complete the Navigation course
  • Participate in one day's conservation activity/trail maintenance offered by the Mountaineers or another recognized organization or agency
  • Hold a current Wilderness First Aid (WFA) card by the date of graduation
  • Apply for graduation as described in the course manual
  • Current Mountaineer membership
  • Participants have up to two years to complete the course (there is an administrative fee for returning 2nd yr students).


Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment


Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.