Basic Climbing Course - Tacoma - 2024

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course - Tacoma


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.


  • Graduates of a Mountaineers scrambles course may request to register before general registration opens by contacting the co-chairs listed below.
  • The course will open for general registration on Nov. 1st. General registration is first-come, first-served.
  • Please fill out the Pre-course Questionnaire at time of registration. The questionnaire includes some expectations on participation and fitness for the course, and we encourage you to self-evaluate whether this course is a good fit for you. Based on your responses to the questionnaire we may contact you to discuss these topics further.
  • If the course is full, we encourage you to join the waitlist and keep the course dates open on your schedule. Spots often open up and we may invite some on the wait list to join the first session in case others decide to drop late.
  • ***Please do not sign up for the course unless you can attend ALL field trips and ALL lectures (see activities below)

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 registrations from people with these identities or who are members of other underrepresented communities. 


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. If you have questions please email

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 Wednesday at 7pm)  (Note: All dates/times subject to change)

1/17 -  Nutrition and Conditioning - Remote

1/31 -  Intro to Snow and Glacier Travel - Remote

2/21 -  Navigation Course Requirements prep, Weather and Trip Planning, Winter Overnight Prep - Remote

3/13 - Decision Making & Power Dynamics - Tacoma Clubhouse

3/27 - Climbing classification, Rock climbing overview, signing up for climbs - Remote

5/8 - Leader Halo - Remote

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

1/14 - Course Prep - Tacoma Clubhouse

1/27 - Fundamentals - Tacoma Clubhouse

2/10 or 2/11 - Glacier Climbing I - Tacoma Clubhouse

2/24 or 2/25 - Glacier Climbing II - Paradise, MRNP

3/9 or 3/10 - Glacier Climbing III - Paradise, MRNP

3/30 and 3/31 - Glacier Climbing IV: Winter Overnight - Paradise, MRNP

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

4/6 - Alpine Rock I - Tacoma Clubhouse

5/4 - Alpine Rock II - Tacoma Clubhouse

5/11 or 5/12 - Alpine Rock III - Mt. Erie

6/1 or 6/2 (all optional) - Alpine Rock IV - Mt. Erie

Graduation Requirements

  • Attend all lectures and field trips 
  • Satisfactorily complete all field trips and critical skills checkpoints
  • Satisfactorily complete one conditioner (Mt. Si or similar) under the required time while carrying the required weight (details to be provided later)
  • 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
  • Current Mountaineer membership

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

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Tacoma Basic FT 10 - Alpine Rock IV: In the Field
Sat, Jun 1, 2024
Registration closes May 30
4 participants on waitlist
3 instructors
Sun, Jun 2, 2024
Registration closes May 31
4 participants
2 instructors
Required Equipment

Required Equipment

(we recommend waiting until after the first field trip to purchase any new equipment)

  • Ten Essential Systems
  • Pack (35-50 liters)
  • Mountaineering boots
  • Climbing harness
  • Climbing helmet
  • 6 non-locking carabiners (may be solid or wire gate)
  • 4 Medium Locking carabiners (in addition to pear)
  • 1 Large locking pear-shaped carabiner
  • Approved belay device
  • Nut tool
  • Rock climbing shoes
  • Belay gloves
  • Two Double Slings (pre-sewn)
  • Two Singles Sling (pre-sewn)
  • Chest harness (1” tubular webbing)
  • Two autoblock/prusik cords (5-6 mm perlon)
  • Ice axe with leash (cover adze w/ duct tape)
  • Aluminum picket, 24” in length
  • Rescue pulley
  • 10 or 12-point crampons
  • Snow shovel
  • Snowshoes (can rent)
  • Sleeping/sitting pad
  • Sleeping bag (warm to 30ºF or less, check weather)
  • Personal items (utensils, cup, hand warmers)
  • Appropriate clothing layers (check the weather)
  • Gaiters (optional)
  • Blue bag system

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.