The Mazamas Advanced Rock Course provides high quality instruction and training to enable graduates to be proficient at leading traditional climbs on vertical rock. We teach the technical and mental skills that will prepare you for a wide range of climbing, from single-pitch cragging to multi-pitch and alpine rock routes.

Photo: Andrew Holman

Course Format

The Advanced Rock program is comprised of eleven lectures by knowledgeable speakers with hands-on demos or exercises where appropriate. There are seven weekend field sessions plus one optional field session, each coordinated and taught by skilled, experienced climbers. There is also an invitation to rock climbing outings post-class in the spring through fall where you can practice your new skills.

The Advanced Rock program offers you the opportunity to meet new and experienced rock climbers as you learn about climbing areas and destinations. It's a supportive group for learning new skills and challenging yourself to grow as a climber. And don't forget, lots of fun!

Advanced Rock Skills
Gear Placement
Anchor Building
Lead Climbing
Rock Rescue
Mental & Physical Preparation
Planning & Execution


Advanced Rock Committee

The Mazama Advanced Rock program was built and is run by a dedicated team of volunteers who are eager to share their knowledge and passion for rocking climbing with our community. Meet these (t)rad people below! Want to join our AR team? Email!

Kate Scanlan

Former Chicagoan and lover of all things rock climbing and snacking. My favorite climbing is long multipitch routes, thin hand cracks, run out slab, and ...

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Maureen O'Hagan

I got involved with the Mazamas in 2016 and am thoroughly enjoying the adventures and the community! I started with BCEP, then completed AR in ...

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Patrick Beeson

Hi! I'm Patrick. And I love climbing rock.

I became a Mazama shortly after moving to Portland from North Carolina in 2015 when I climbed ...

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Angie Brown

AR Committee member just wanting to meet more folx and climb more mountains.

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Eric Rutz

ASI & SkiMo in early 'oughts. AR 2018. Volunteer with SkiMo committee & class for a decade.

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Meet the full AR Committee here ›

Course Details

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Advanced Rock occurs from mid to late February through May.

The application period typically opens in the beginning of December and stays open for 2 weeks. .

The Admission test occurs in early January and there are several date options.

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Time Commitment/Duration

High/Intense–The AR course schedule requires a significant time investment and you are discouraged from taking on other projects or classes while it is in progress.

Moderate–AR takes place over a period of three months.

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Skills Taught

AR teaches trad climbing skills including gear placement, anchor building, lead climbing, rock rescue, mental and physical preparation, and planning and execution of climbs and trips.

The AR class will teach you how to use traditional protection systems, gear, and ropes in the vertical environment. The course is not intended to teach rock climbing technique. All applicants need to have the required prerequisites to be admitted into the class (see below).

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Required prior to class: harness, personal safety, rock shoes, helmet, multiple carabiners, prusik slings, and belay device. 

If you already have a full rack of gear, that’s fine. But we discourage going out and buying a whole lot of gear before class. You’ll get to test out a variety of instructors’ gear throughout the class and you’ll learn a lot more about what you like.

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Age 18+

In good physical condition

Actively leading outside in the last year

Comfortable mock-leading a climb rated 5.8 or higher without a take or fall

Have completed ICS Sport Lead class OR have a lead card at a local climbing gym.

Proficient in basic skills of belaying, rappelling, knot-tying, clipping pro, and rock climbing techniques, including:

Belaying: anchoring, climbing commands, belaying from below and above (top belay), belaying with either hand, belaying off the harness and belaying in autolock/plaquette mode off the anchor.

Rappelling: convert a top rope anchor into a rappel.

Knots: rewoven figure-8, butterfly knot, water knot, clove hitch, bowline, double fisherman’s knot, girth hitch, Munter hitch and Prusik hitch.

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Application Process

Enrolling in this class involves an application process. This includes personalizing and completing the Climb Resume template available on this page. It also includes completing the application form that is part of step 4 on the Advanced Rock 2020 page. You will need to provide a link to your personalized and completed climb resume as part of that application form.

After the application period is over, the course committee will select qualified students to come in for an admissions test. The top-scoring applicants will be admitted to the class. Notifications usually go out two weeks after the admission test.

You'll need to include one letter of recommendation from an individual who can speak to your personal climbing abilities and skills. This letter must be submitted with your application.

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Scholarship Opportunities

We are offering a limited number of scholarships to allow students to participate who will not be able to do so without financial assistance and whose participation can help expand the Mazamas membership base beyond current cultural, economic, and ethnic demographics.

A scholarship is for course tuition ONLY. Mazamas may cover the cost of your course up to 90% of the course tuition based on factors listed above. Other costs associated with the course may apply. You must have access to a computer, smartphone, or tablet to participate in the course. Please see course home page for associated costs and logistics. 

Applications for scholarships will be part of the class application. 

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AR is demanding in terms of time and gear, so apply only if you can make the necessary commitment.

Participation in all lectures and field sessions is required.

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Admission Test

The admission test is required prior to acceptance and will test a variety of the skills listed above in prerequisites. You are required to bring your personal climbing gear to this test.

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Class Completion

To complete AR and receive the AR badge, a student must:

Attend all lectures and field sessions

Pass the skills test at Horsethief Butte

Successfully participate in three sessions at Smith Rock. More information on this requirement will be available in your student handbook.

Photo: Jon Skeen