Peer Glacier Climb Leader


Peer Glacier Climb Leader

Peer Glacier Climb Leaders can coordinate glacier climbs that are within their technical abilities for intermediate students and above, but not for basic students, graduates, or other novice climbers. The purpose of this role is for aspiring leaders to develop their skills and grow as leaders without taking on the responsibility of leading those with little experience.

Scope - What does this badge allow me to do?

The Peer Glacier Climb Leader role is intended for those who wish to climb with their peers of similar experience, and it is a development role for future Climb Leaders. The Peer Glacier Climb Leader may run any type of glacier or snow climb that is within their technical abilities. The types of trips a Peer Glacier Leader runs may include technical travel on snow and glacier, including avalanche terrain and other notable navigational challenges or travel hazards. The Peer Glacier Climb Leader may encounter some minimal rock travel without significant hazard. Leading on routes with 5th class rock or significant rock hazards requires a Peer Rock Leader designation.

The Peer Glacier Climb Leader has displayed enough experience and competence to run trips with other climbers who have similar experience. This role excludes the coaching and mentoring of novices in a backcountry setting. This leadership role allows someone to gain more experience on the path to becoming a climb leader of a higher discipline. They can run trips with Intermediate students or other climb leaders, but the Peer leader cannot run trips with any basic students or graduates. 

The Peer Glacier Climb Leader may run frontcountry outings with basic students and graduates by obtaining a frontcountry leader designation in a separate application


The Peer Glacier Climb Leader is well versed in a variety of skills necessary to lead trips in a range of complex terrain. Leaders are proficient in all of the following skills:

Technical Skills

Snow Travel Movement: experienced in climbing on a variety of glacial terrain and features. Peer Glacier Climb Leaders display skill while traveling on a variety of snow surfaces, move efficiently and confidently on 3rd and 4th class terrain, and are able to coach novices through all of these types of terrain. 

Terrain Identification & Management: is adept at identifying appropriate routes and terrain, as well as objective hazards. This includes avalanche and third and fourth class terrain, terrain traps, rockfall, water hazards, and more. They are also aware of and manage environmental and weather hazards. Peer Glacier Climb Leaders are skilled in using both digital and traditional navigational tools to move through terrain.  

Rope Management, Knots & Hitches: displays adequate rope management skills. On glacier terrain, leaders can effectively manage ropes for glacier travel including the use of kiwi coils, efficient rope shortening through rock terrain, and proper glacial travel setup. In third and fourth class terrain, Peer Glacier Climb Leaders can employ fixed/hand lines, terrain belays, and running belays. Peer leaders may also use more advanced techniques when the route and skill of party deems it to be necessary. 

Protection Systems & Anchor Building: adept in selecting, placing, and evaluating a variety of protection types, including terrain itself, in a wide array of climbing environments. Peer Glacier Climb Leaders understand the general principles behind an item’s construction and functionality and common mechanisms of failure. They also understand and use appropriate and modern belay techniques.

Avalanche: has completed a level 1 avalanche course and has spent time moving through avalanche terrain. Peer Peer Glacier Climb Leaders can perform basic search and rescue with avalanche equipment.

Rescue & Assistance: understands and can execute basic rescue techniques in the terrain in which they operate. Peer Glacier Climb Leaders have completed a wilderness first aid course (or better) and understand the concepts of basic wilderness medicine.

Leadership Skills

Communication: excel at communicating in a variety of ways. Peer Glacier Climb 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. Peer Glacier Climb Leaders can communicate effectively to group members who may have as much or more experience than they do.

Risk Management: have an understanding of the risks involved in facilitating climbing outings. They also understand and can demonstrate the skills needed to identify, communicate, and manage those risks. The Peer Glacier Climb Leaders 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: have skill in various aspects of group management. The Peer Glacier Climb Leader is skilled in planning and preparation, is responsive to the needs of the group, and creates a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone. Peer Glacier Climb 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 climbing outing, including creation, planning and preparation, execution of the outing, and any communications, debriefs, and reporting. Works with group members to determine appropriate objectives and plan outings.

Route Selection: understands their own abilities and that of the group, and selects routes based on that information.


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

  • 2 years of alpine climbing experience.
  • 1 mentored lead glacier climb
  • 4 leadership experience glacier climbs*
    • At least 2 of these climbs must have been done with The Mountaineers.
    • Mentored leads count towards this number.

    Requirements if candidate is already a Peer Rock Climb Leader:

    • Have lead 2 trips as a Peer Rock Climb Leader
    • Complete 2 leadership experience glacier climbs
      • At least 1 of these climbs must have been done with The Mountaineers.
    • Complete an application for a Peer Glacier Climb Leader

    Prerequisites & Training

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

    • Intermediate Glacier Climbing
    • Level 1 Avalanche
    • Outdoor Leadership Course
    • First Aid
    • Navigation
    • "Foundations of Leadership" eLearning course

    How do I get this badge?

    To become a Peer Glacier Climb Leader,

    • 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 intermediate climbing course  may be considered if their skills and experience are extraordinary and the committee deems them ready for this leadership role. 

    Leadership experience climbs 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.