Climb Conditioning Leader


Climb Conditioning Leader

The Climb Conditioning Leader runs hiking conditioners for climbing students on trails and non-technical terrain no more than a few hours from the car. The Climb Conditioning Leader is not a leader for the hiking committee and cannot run hiking trips without a separate Hike Leader badge.

Scope - What does this badge allow me to do?

The Climb Conditioning Leader leads trips on hiking trails for conditioning day hike outings sponsored by their climbing committee. This leader has displayed enough experience and leadership to take climbers on trips to maintained trails that are close to trailheads and cellular service.

Examples of the types of trips a Climb Conditioning Leader runs might be a conditioning hike up Mt. Si or a hike to the Kendall Katwalk on the PCT. 

Examples of the types of trips a Conditioning Leader is not qualified to run would be a scramble on Guye Peak, a through hike of the Enchantments, or any hike that is not a part of a climbing course (such as standard hikes from hiking committees). These types of trips would not qualify as an appropriate outing due to their being more remote, alpine objectives with higher technical difficulties and more complex risk management strategies, or being out of scope of the role. All conditioning hikes should be posted as a part of the climbing course related activities. Conditioning Leaders who are unsure of what kind of trip is appropriate should ask their climbing committee.

This is an entry level leadership role. Conditioning Leaders may be Basic Graduates who have displayed strong leadership skills and experience, or they may be more experienced climbers who prefer to lead frontcountry outings.

Please note: The Climb Conditioning Leader is not a leader for the hiking committee and cannot run hiking committee trips without a separate Hike Leader badge. Frontcountry Hike Leaders are encouraged to contact their branch hiking committee to pursue a Hike Leader badge.


The Conditioning Leader is well versed in a variety of skills necessary to lead trips in a hiking environment.

Technical Skills

Movement & Fitness: When moving in hiking terrain Conditioning Leaders are fluid and efficient. They are able to carry loads up to 25lbs, while maintaining a pace of one mile per hour climbing and/or descending 1000ft of elevation for durations of up to four hours. 

Terrain Identification & Management: is adept at identifying appropriate routes and terrain, as well as objective hazards. This includes downed trees, water hazards, and more. They are also aware of and manage environmental and weather hazards. Conditioning Leaders are skilled in using both digital and traditional navigational tools to move through terrain.  

Snow & Avalanche: the Conditioning Leader avoids traveling on routes with significant snow travel, unless combined with a Snow Leader badge. The Conditioning Leader avoids routes with potential for avalanche danger. 

Rescue & Assistance: Conditioning Leaders have completed a wilderness first aid course (or better) and understand the concepts of basic wilderness medicine. They also plan and prepare for emergencies that could arise during a trip.

Leadership Skills

The Conditioning Leader is expected to be able to safely lead their party for the duration of the outing. To do this, they employ the following skills:

Communication: excel at communicating in a variety of ways. Conditioning Leaders convey information that is clear and relevant. They are attentive to questions and can deliver difficult information when needed. They understand the importance of keeping the group informed and the value of good communication. 

Risk Management: have an understanding of the risks involved in facilitating outings. They also understand and can demonstrate the skills needed to identify, communicate, and manage those risks. The Conditioning Leader can create and adhere to emergency action plans, determine others risk tolerances and experience levels, and properly set expectations for an outing. 

Group Management & Leadership: The Conditioning Leader is able to plan and prepare for an outing, is responsive to the needs of the group, and creates a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. Conditioning Leaders can keep a group moving efficiently and can stay attuned to the changing needs of the group. 

Trip Planning and Facilitation: are able to facilitate the full scope of a hike outing, including creation, planning and preparation, execution of the outing, and any communications, debriefs, and reporting. 

Route Selection: understands their own abilities and that of the group, and selects routes based on that information. The Conditioning Leader also understands what types of trips are appropriate for their leadership role, and only leads the types of trips permitted. 

Mentoring & Coaching: is able and willing to identify and mentor aspiring leaders. The Conditioning Hike Leader is also able and willing to coach novices through difficult situations and deliver feedback in a way that is positive and helpful.


To apply for Climb Conditioning Leader, the candidate must have at a minimum the following field experience:

  • 1 year of hiking experience.
  • 3 leadership experiences in a hiking or climbing role *
    • At least 2 of these outings must have been done with The Mountaineers.

Prerequisites & Training

To apply for Climb Conditioning Leader, the candidate must have the following training (Mountaineers or equivalent experience) :

  • A graduate of the Basic Alpine Climbing course (or equivalent)
  • Outdoor Leadership (Any 2 hour session or better such as the leadership development series, leadership conference, Outdoor Leadership Seminar, etc.)
  • First Aid
  • Navigation
  • Foundations of Leadership eLearning course

How do I get this badge?

How does a candidate apply for this leader role?

  • Fill out the application for leadership

Apply Now

Applications will be reviewed by the branch climbing committee. Under special circumstances, applicants with equivalent experience from outside The Mountaineers who are not enrolled in the basic climbing course  may be considered if their skills and experience are extraordinary and the committee deems them ready for this leadership role. 

*A leadership experience is any kind of trip this leader would normally run (field trips, conditioner hikes, crag rock climbs, snowshoe conditioner, etc.), but can also include backcountry experience such as rope leads on climbs. Leadership outings are defined as an outing in which the applicant was not a follower. For example, the applicant swung leads, lead a trip, or otherwise participated in a leadership role. These outings could be Mountaineers trips or private.