Are you an experienced hiker and backpacker looking to climb some of the iconic mountains of the Pacific Northwest, like Mt. Adams, Mt. Saint. Helens, or Mt. Hood? Offered in late spring, the Introduction to Alpine Climbing (IAC) program is a great way to gain the mountaineering skills needed to climb big snow-covered peaks as a climbing team member, and get the basic skills for outdoor rock climbing.
This is a team-based class that strongly emphasizes experiential learning through its four field sessions. You will get a chance to learn and practice climbing skills in realistic terrain and conditions. The field sessions provide practical exposure to rock and snow climbing skills, as well as team-based climbing skills, and have overall goals of developing your mountain-sense, decision-making skills, and understanding of Leave No Trace principles. Some field sessions will include overnight camping, and may include an “alpine” (i.e., nighttime) start. Ultimately, you will learn the technical skills needed to climb snow-covered, glaciated, and rock peaks as a climb team member.
Mazama members pay reduced tuition and receive priority admittance.
When you have completed the Introduction to Alpine Climbing class, you will be able to:
- Demonstrate proficiency with general mountaineering and alpine camping skills
- Demonstrate knowledge of Leave No Trace principles
- Demonstrate foundation technical climbing skills for rock up to low 5th class (5.0 - 5.4)
- Demonstrate foundation technical climbing skills for moderately steep snow
- Demonstrate fixed-line usage, and running-belay skills
- Demonstrate competency with basic climbing knots
- Demonstrate knowledge of preparing for a Mazama A or B climb
Each team will get eight days of total training, including four required field sessions. (The field session schedule will vary by team.)
Skills Session at the Mazama Mountaineering Center (MMC) (1 day): An opportunity to learn and practice some technical skills before going outdoors.
Adventure Hike Field Session (1 day): This is an opportunity to continue to practice the skills learned at the Skills Session in an outdoor, but relatively easy-going terrain. Objectives of this field session include a lot of skills practice, building team cohesion, and emphasizing and assessing physical fitness.
Rock Field Session(s) (2 days total): Two days of outdoor learning and practice of rock climbing skills on outdoor rock. These two days of training typically occur on a single weekend (with group camping), or may be broken up into two individual field session days. This depends on the specific team.
Snow Field Session(s) (2 days total): Two days of outdoor learning and practice of snow climbing skills on realistic snow climbing terrain. These two days of training typically occur on a single weekend (with group camping), or may be broken up into two individual field session days. This depends on the specific team.
Alpine Snow Camping Field Session (Optional, 2 days): This optional two-day field session includes an overnight camping experience in the alpine. You will learn and practice alpine snow camping skills in realistic snow climbing terrain. As a secondary goal, this field session may include a climb to the summit (e.g. Mt. Adams).
|Proper Equipment Selection and Usage
|Running-Belay and Basic Glacier Travel
|Fitness for Mountaineering
|Self-Arrest with an Ice Axe
|Proper Communication & Signals
|Increase Awareness of Avalanche Danger & Risks
|Leave No Trace Principles
|Traveling on a Fixed Line
|Preparing for an Alpine climb
Upcoming Class Information
IAC teams generally get underway in late spring and finish in late fall, though each team's schedule is independent.
Time Commitment: High–IAC requires full commitment to four weekends of activity.
Duration: Moderate–IAC takes place over a maximum period of eight weeks.