Basic Climbing Course - Tacoma - 2022

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course - Tacoma 2022


The Tacoma Basic Climbing Course will be adhering to the current Mountaineers COVID-19 Response.



The Tacoma Basic Climbing Committee is committed to building and fostering a representative climbing community that reflects the spaces in which we live and recreate. We recognize that outdoor recreation has historically excluded communities of color, women, and LGBTQ people. Hence, we strongly encourage applications from people with these identities or who are members of other underrepresented communities. 


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 nine 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 Mountaineers membership, text for the course, personal gear and equipment, Wilderness First Aid (WFA), or Navigation course.

Classroom Session Schedule (All sessions scheduled for Wednesdays at 6:30pm)  

*1 in person sessions held at the Tacoma Mountaineer's Clubhouse (all others are via video call)

1.  CS 1 (01/12/2022)- VIRTUAL: Course Introduction, Clothing/Equipment, Safety & Types of Climbing Overview

2. CS 2 (01/26/2022) - VIRTUAL: Nutrition & Conditioning

3. CS 3 (02/02/2022) - VIRTUAL: Introduction to Snow and Glacier Travel, Avalanche Awareness

4. CS 4 (03/09/2022) - VIRTUAL: Weather, Trip Planning, Winter Overnight Prep

5. CS 5 (03/23/2022) - IN PERSONDecision Making & Power Dynamics

6. CS 6 (04/20/2022) - VIRTUAL:  Climbing classification, rock climbing overview, signing up for climbs

7. CS 7 (05/11/2022) - VIRTUAL: Leader Halo

Field Trip Schedule (All locations NOT at the Tacoma clubhouse subject to change based on weather or permits)

1. FT 1: Fundamentals - Tacoma Clubhouse (Gear Review and Construction, Knots, Prusiking)

1/22 OR 1/23 (half-day sessions available 8am-12pm or 1pm-5pm both days)

2. FT 2:  Glacier Climbing I  - Tacoma Clubhouse (Crevasse Rescue, Prusiking, Glacier Travel)

2/05 OR 2/06 (half-day sessions available 8am-12pm or 1pm-5pm both days)

3. FT 3: Glacier Climbing II - Paradise (MRNP) (Glacier Travel, Crevasse Rescue)

2/19 OR 2/20 (attend only one full-day session)

4. FT 4: Glacier Climbing III - Paradise (MRNP) (Crevasse Rescue, Ice Axe Self-Arrest)

3/5 OR 3/6 (attend only one full-day session)



Our first rock field trip on April 2nd covers lead belaying. We expect students to know how to top rope belay (PBUS method) already. If you do not know how to top rope belay, you will need to attend this clinic. Otherwise, you can show us your climb gym top rope belay card or that you can adequately PBUS belay at the 4/2 and 4/3 field trip. If nobody signs up for this optional clinic, it will be cancelled.

5. FT 5: Glacier Climbing IV - Paradise (MRNP) (Winter Overnight) (Snow Camping, Nutrition, Alpine Start, Roped Glacier Travel, Snow Shelters)

3/26 AND 3/27 (All day/both days), Overnight Snow Camping

6. FT 6:  Alpine Rock I - Tacoma Clubhouse (Lead belay, Rappelling, Anchors)

4/02 OR 4/03 (half-day sessions available 8am-12pm or 1pm-5pm both days)

7. FT 7:  Alpine Rock II - Tacoma Clubhouse (Lead belay, Belay Escape, Rappelling, Rock Climbing Technique)

4/09 OR 4/10 (half-day sessions available 8am-12pm or 1pm-5pm both days)

NAVIGATION COURSE  - Irish Cabin Property (MRNP)

4/16 - Link to sign-up

This is not a field trip but an additional course requirement. This course is being offered for Tacoma Basic students only. If you already have taken a navigation course with the Mountaineers (or similar) and have  Navigation badge, you do not need to attend.

8. FT 8: Alpine Rock III - Mt. Erie (Rappelling, Rock Climbing Technique, Into to multi-pitch trad on follow)

4/22 OR 4/23 OR 4/24 (attend only one full-day session)

9. FT 9: Alpine Rock IV - Leavenworth (Multi-pitch trad climb practice)

5/13 OR 5/14 OR 5/15 (attend only one full-day session)

***WFA classes available in Leavenworth (put on by Tacoma Leader Scott Schissel) on Friday, 5/13 and Saturday, 5/14**** You only need to attend one day (whichever day you aren't attending FT9). Registration links are below:

Graduation Requirements

  • Attend all classroom sessions and field trips 
  • Satisfactorily complete all field trips and critical skills test
  • Satisfactorily complete one conditioner as outlined here.
  • Satisfactorily complete at least 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 (MOFA not accepted)
  • Apply for graduation as described in the course Google Site
  • Current Mountaineers membership
  • Participants who do not finish course material in year 1 and wish to finish the course in a 2nd year can pay a small, administrative fee, and must pass a skills qualifier for placement in the course (repeat lectures and/or field trips may be required) 
Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

We recommend waiting until after the course lecture on gear before acquiring any new equipment.

  • Ten essential systems
  • Pack (~50 liters)
  • Mountaineering boots
  • Appropriate clothing layers (check the weather)
  • Climbing harness appropriate for both rock and glacier climbing
  • Climbing helmet
  • 5 non-locking carabiners
  • 4 locking carabiners (in addition to pear)
  • 1 large locking pear-shaped carabiner
  • Belay device (if purchasing new, we recommend a guide-mode belay device but if you already have a standard ATC that is fine too)
  • 2 double slings (120 cm, pre-sewn)
  • 2 single slings (60 cm, pre-sewn)
  • Personal anchor (pre-sewn PAS or double sling)
  • 2 autoblock/prusik cords (5-6 mm perlon cord cut into 2 sections of 4 ft. each)
  • Chest harness (1” tubular webbing x 9 ft)
  • Texas prusiks (5-6 mm perlon cord,  1 x 15 ft ) 
  • Chest Prusiks/Leader Tie-Off (5-6 mm perlon cord, 1 x 10 ft) 
  • Ice axe with leash
  • Aluminum picket, 24” in length
  • Rescue pulley
  • 10 or 12-point crampons (check fit on YOUR boots)
  • Snow shovel
  • Sleeping/sitting pad
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Snowshoes (you can rent these)
  • Blue bag system
  • Personal items (utensils, cup, hand warmers)
  • Sleeping bag (warm to 30ºF or less, check weather)
  • Tent for 2-3 (3 or 4 season w/ snow stakes)
  • Stove, fuel, & pot
  • Belay gloves
  • Nut tool
  • Rock climbing shoes
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.