Tacoma Climbing Subcommittee -  Intermediate Climbing

Tacoma Climbing Subcommittee - Intermediate Climbing

The Tacoma Branch offers an Intermediate Alpine Climbing Program, enabling students to develop the skills to lead multi-pitch trad rock routes, steep snow and alpine ice.

The Tacoma Intermediate Climbing Program consist of a series of modules which help students to progressively develop and solidify skills for leading  alpine routes at the Intermediate level (trad rock routes at 5.6/5.7 and/or 55-degree snow/ice). In addition to technical skills, students will develop leadership, self-assessment and safety awareness skills, which will enable them to lead basic level climbs and participate on intermediate level climbs.  

Intermediate skills can be used on thousands of routes in the Cascades, Sierras, Tetons, Canadian Rockies and other ranges around the world. The course provides a good foundation for continuing education to more advanced skills, such as leading long multi-pitch alpine rock routes, waterfall ice,  mixed,  and aid climbing.

Additional course requirements can include successful completion of Level 1 AIARE avalanche training and the Leadership seminar.

 Prerequisites

To enter the program students are expected to:

  • Have graduated from the basic course or gained equivalency.
  • Have met a minimum experience requirement (2 successful climbs with one being a basic rock or basic glacier climb, and have at least attempted a third climb or have extensive rock leading experience). Scrambles and alpine climbs do count towards experience, the more climbs/experience the better.
  • Are very comfortable scrambling on 3rd and 4th class terrain.
  • Have a current navigation and WFA or equivalent badge.
  • Have participated in volunteer activities with the The Mountaineers or other non-profit organizations.
  • Give back to the community by teaching at activities or leading trips.
  • Must pass a two-day qualifier test that evaluates basic climbing skills/knowledge and a paced conditioner hike. 

Modules

Each module has its own cost, prerequisites and graduation requirements. It is expected that you teach at field trips to not only solidify your skills, but to remain in good standing with the Intermediate Committee, and to continue taking the modules. More information on the modules and requirements can be found here, in the 2019 Tacoma Intermediate Course Setting Expectations document.

  • Intermediate Glacier Travel: focuses on winter mountaineering skills, snow anchors, crevasse rescue, and winter shelters. (2 evening lectures, 1 overnight field trip, and a written exam)
  • Anchors and Self Rescue: focuses on the basics of building SERENE anchor systems and  rescuing a follower. There is a mini review of leading on bolts. (2 evening lectures/practice sessions, 2 all day field trips, and a written exam).
  • Intermediate Rock - Trad Climbing Single Pitch focuses on leading with traditional gear placements and crag anchors (2 evening lectures/practice session and 2 all day field trips) Multi-pitch focuses on gear anchors and transitions (2 evening lecture/practice sessions, 2 all day field trips and a written exam)
  • Alpine Ice and Hard Snow:  focuses on teaching techniques for leading on hard snow or alpine ice in moderate terrain (Grade II, up to 45 degrees) (4 evening lecture, 2 overnight field trips, and a written exam)

Equivalency

Intermediate Equivalency is handled on an informal basis by the Intermediate Committee. If you are interested in gaining Intermediate Equivalency please send a detailed climbing resume to the Intermediate Climbing Chairs.

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