Basic Climbing Course - Tacoma - 2023

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course - Tacoma - 2023

  • The application period is closed
  • Applicants may be contacted to schedule a short conversation with a committee member 
  • Application results published via email: during the month of November
  • Successful applicants can register: within a week of notification
  • Further admissions past the application deadline may be available if there are still spots open

Do not email or request leader permission to join the course, only use the course application link.

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. 

***Please do not sign up for the course unless you can attend ALL field trips and ALL lectures (see activities below)


The Mountaineers are committed to making our courses accessible to everyone, regardless of your ability to pay.  We encourage students who cannot afford this course to apply for our scholarship program, which is funded by generous donors.

Please apply early for a Scholarship. Applications may take up to 2 weeks to process and financial assistance can only be applied before you register for the course.


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

 Lecture Schedule (All lectures scheduled for Wednesdays at 6:30pm)  (Note: All dates/times/locations subject to change)

1/18 -  Nutrition and Conditioning - Remote

2/1 -  Intro to Snow and Glacier Travel - Remote

2/15 -  Navigation Course Requirements prep, Weather and Trip Planning, Winter Overnight Prep - Remote

3/15 - Decision Making & Power Dynamics - Tacoma Clubhouse

3/29 - Climbing classification, Rock climbing overview, signing up for climbs - Remote

5/10 - Leader Halo - Remote

Field Trip Schedule (Note: All dates/times/locations subject to change)

1/14 - Course Prep - Tacoma Clubhouse

1/28 - Fundamentals - Tacoma Clubhouse

2/11 - Glacier Climbing I - Tacoma Clubhouse

2/25 or 2/26 - Glacier Climbing II - Paradise, MRNP

3/11 or 3/12 - Glacier Climbing III - Paradise, MRNP

3/25 and 3/26 - Glacier Climbing IV: Winter Overnight - Paradise, MRNP

TBA (Optional) - Top Rope Belay Clinic - Tacoma Clubhouse

4/8 - Alpine Rock I - Tacoma Clubhouse

4/22 - Alpine Rock II - Tacoma Clubhouse

5/6 or 5/7 - Alpine Rock III - Mt. Erie

6/3 or 6/4 (all optional) - Alpine Rock IV - Mt. Erie

Graduation Requirements

  • Attend all lectures and field trips 
  • Satisfactorily complete all field trips and critical skills checkpoints
  • Complete one conditioner (Mt. Si or similar) with weighted pack in under 2 hours (or as otherwise permitted by the climbing committee) prior to Winter Overnight field trip 
  • Satisfactorily complete a minimum two Basic Climbs, including one Rock and one Glacier climb
  • Successfully complete the Wilderness 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 manual
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
  • 6 non-locking carabiners
  • 4 locking carabiners (in addition to pear)
  • 1 large locking pear-shaped carabiner
  • Belay device (ATC, not a GriGri or similar)
  • 2 double slings (120 cm, pre-sewn)
  • 2 single slings (60 cm, pre-sewn)
  • 2 autoblock/prusik cords (5-6 mm perlon cord cut into 2 sections of 4 ft. each)
  • Chest harness (1” tubular webbing 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, can be shared)
  • Stove, fuel, & pot (can be shared)
  • Belay gloves
  • Nut tool
  • Rock climbing shoes
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.