Basic Climbing Course - Tacoma - 2018

Climbing Course

Basic Climbing Course

Tacoma Basic Climbing Course

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.

The Tacoma Basic Climbing Course combines 5 classroom lectures, 3 field trip prep nights and 7 field trips (one being a mandatory overnight), all designed to provide the basic skills necessary to safely climb rock, snow and glaciated peaks of the Pacific Northwest.  The course is set up to be completed in roughly eight months and covers topics such as, selection and care of equipment, wilderness and glacier travel, snow climbing and camping, belaying, rappelling, 5th class rock climbing, crevasse rescue, and many other topics.  During field trips and on 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 mountainous environments for a lifetime.

If you are unsure about whether you meet the course expectations and/or want more information about the course, please attend one of our Information Nights, scheduled for October 19th, 2017 (7PM) and  November 9th, 2017 (7PM) at the Tacoma Mountaineers Program Center, attendance at the information meetings is not required to take the course.

Because  the course applicants often exceed course capacity  (>2 applicants for every seat available). Students are selected from the applicant pool via a lottery, after  screening for a basic level of outdoor experience. Applications can be completed between October 1st - November 13th and results should be published by ~November 21st.

The lecture, field trip prep and field trip schedule can be found under the required equipment tab for now. 

*NOTE: The course fee does not include the cost of the Mountaineers membership, text for the course, personal gear and equipment, Wilderness First Aid (WFA) class nor Navigation course.

If you have questions or concerns, please email the course chair (Jill) and/or

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Basic Climbing Course Graduation (optional)
Tacoma Program Center
Fri, Oct 28, 2022
Registration closes Oct 26
15 participants
13 instructors
Required Equipment

Lecture Schedule:
December 16, 2017 - Second Year Qualifier (second year students only)
February 7, 2018 - Lecture 1: Course Expectations, Conditioning, Equipment
March 7 - Lecture 2: Accident Response, Mountain Rescue, Health, Nutrition
March 21 - Lecture 3: Snow Travel, Avalanche Hazards
May 2 - Lecture 4: Rock Climbing
May 16 - Lecture 5: Glacier Travel, Crevasse Rescue
June 13 - Final exam
October 20 - Climbing division graduation and potluck (optional)

Field Trip Prep And Field Trip  Schedule:
Feb 13th or 14th -FT 1 Prep: Knots, Prusiking, Belaying, and Leader Tie-off Demo
Feb 17th or  18th -FT 1: Fundamentals, Knots, Prusiking, Belaying, and Leader Tie-off Practice 
March 17th or 18th -FT 2: Prusik, Leader Tie-off, and Belay Test
March 31st AND April 1st -FT 3: Winter Overnight- Snow Camping, Glacier Travel, Crevasse Rescue, and Ice Axe Arrest Practice                                                            April 10th or 11th -FT4 Prep: Rock Climbing Basics                                                      April 20th or 21st or 22nd -FT 4: Rock I- Rock Climbing and Rappelling Practice
May 4th or 5th or 6th -FT 5: Rock II - Rock Climbing and Rappelling Test
May 30th or 31st -FT 6 Prep: Crevasse Rescue Practice
June 2nd -FT 6: Crevasse Rescue Test                                                                                            June 3rd - FT 7: Glacier Travel and  Hard Snow Ice Axe Arrest Test

Mentor Nights Schedule (Optional but recommended):                                      March 7th - Mentor Night 1: Prusik, Leader Tie-off, and Belays                                  May 3rd - Mentor Night 2: Rock climbing and Rappelling                                                  May 24th - Mentor Night 3: Crevasse Rescue                     

Graduation Requirements

  • Attend ALL lectures, field trip preps, and field trips 
  • Pass final examination
  • Satisfactorily complete all field trips
  • Satisfactorily complete one Conditioner hike
  • Satisfactorily complete three Basic Climbs, including one Rock and one Glacier climb
  • Successfully complete the Navigation course
  • Complete the Avalanche Awareness course
  • Participate in one day of stewardship or conservation activity/trail maintenance offered by the Mountaineers or another recognized organization 
  • 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
  • Note: It is preferred that participants complete the course in one year, but can have up to two years to finish. There is an administrative fee for returning 2nd yr students.


Course Materials