Tacoma Climbing Subcommittee -  Intermediate Climbing

Tacoma Climbing Subcommittee - Intermediate Climbing

The Tacoma Branch offers the Intermediate Alpine Climbing Course, where students will learn to lead multi-pitch trad rock routes, ice-climb, and climbing leadership.

The Intermediate Climbing course teaches skills for climbing at the intermediate level (generally up to 5.6 rock, 55-degree snow and ice, and easier mixed). Students will practice snow anchors, belays, emergency shelters; leading on rock, including how to place protection, build and equalize anchors, swing leads and perform self-rescues.

The course teaches various snow and ice skills, including placing ice screws, other ice anchors, German and French technique, and introduces steep (55 degrees) ice climbing. Lectures include expedition planning and high-altitude climbing (up to 20,000 ft), such as for the Mexican volcanoes and Denali. The emphasis is on alpine climbing and all-around rock, ice, and snow technique rather than on developing a high level of technical skill.

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

Intermediate skills can be used on thousands of routes in the Cascades, Sierras, Tetons, Canadian Rockies and other ranges around the world. Skills taught in the course are required to lead technical basic climbs. The course also provides a good foundation for advanced skill development, such as 5.9+ rock, Class 4 ice, difficult mixed climbing and aid climbing.

To enter the course students must complete a two-day qualifier that includes an evaluation of their basic climbing skills and a conditioner. 

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