This guide covers etiquette, advice, and expectations for those seeking to climb with the Mazamas, including applying to climbs, being accepted, preparing for the climb, and participating on the climb.

Remember that all climb leaders are volunteers. Be kind to them. They’ll be kind to you.

Choosing Climbs

  • Apply for climbs that are appropriate for your skill level, comfort level, and experience. Consider the skills required for the climb. For instance, if you don’t have any training in crevasse rescue, you should obtain that before applying for a climb of Mt. Rainier. If you are not comfortable with 5th-class rock and exposure, perhaps do some private climbing on that terrain before applying for The Ogre. 
  • There are numerous classes offered by the Mazamas that can help you obtain the skills necessary for you to meet your climbing goals. 
  • You will be climbing as a member of a team and contributing your skills to the success of the climb. While different skill levels can usually be accommodated, there may be a point where participation isn’t possible. 
  • If you are unsure of the skills required for a climb, contact the climb leader for clarification.

Getting Accepted

Mazama climb leaders consult a variety of factors when selecting participants. Though we cannot guarantee you’ll be accepted on every climb, here are some tips for ensuring that climb leaders have the information about you they need to make the best decision possible.

  • Have a resume and share it. Google Docs is a good way to share a climbing resume. Leaders will look at your Mazama profile and see your training and climbing through the Mazamas there. 
  • You can add information about additional climbing and training to your profile or you can link to a resume there. The resume format used by the Intermediate Climbing School (ICS) is a good template. Feel free to use this, especially if you intend to apply to ICS in the future.
  • Without this information, leaders will likely not select you. 
  • Team selection can be the most difficult part of organizing a climb. Leaders look at skills and experience but also consider your volunteering history as well as whether or not you’ve been accepted on other climbs and strive to balance their teams by gender and background. 
  • Climbs may consist of diverse groups with skill levels from beginner to advanced, depending on the circumstances and requirements for the climb. Sometimes, when all things are equal, being accepted comes down to a flip of the coin. Most often there are far more applications to a climb than there are available spots.
  • Include a photo on your profile. This is optional but completes your profile and can help with finding team members at the trailhead. It's also an opportunity to show yourself enjoying the mountains!
  • If you end up on the waitlist, check in with the leader.

Do Review

  • Review our Cancellation Policy, and remember, climb leaders can see your climb history, including your cancellations.

Do Not!

  • Apply for multiple instances of the same climb. This can cause excessive “churn” if/when you are selected for the same climb and creates extra work for climb leaders. It also fills up the available application spots and deprives others of an opportunity to apply for the same climb. Be able to complete the climbs you apply for without conflicting with other climbs. Consider your travel and recovery time!
  • Apply for climbs on the same day. Again, this creates unnecessary churn when you’re accepted to multiple, conflicting climbs.
  • Wait until the last moment to cancel. We understand that life happens and you sometimes need to cancel. Please cancel through the website as soon as you know you won’t be able to participate, even if you’re on the waitlist, as this allows the climb leader time to fill your spot. Canceling within a few days of the climb presents the leader with the challenge of filling your spot while trying to finalize the last-minute preparations like checking the weather, printing permits, and communicating with the team. At this point, the prospectus and carpools have likely been set and changes are more difficult. Filling your spot may not be possible.

Participating on the Climb

  • Respond to emails and other communications in a timely manner. The leader will likely send an email with information about the climb a week or two in advance. Confirm with the leader that you received the information.
  • Be prepared with your gear. Be on time. If there are specific skills required for the climb, refresh yourself on those skills by reading appropriate sections of Freedom of the Hills, practicing knots, and watching YouTube videos. Invest in your preparedness.
  • On the climb, help carry the rope and other group gear. Contribute to the group gear with a stove or water filter. Help with flaking and/or coiling the rope. Communicate concerns. Ask questions. Look out for your and other's needs. Be a team player.
  • Decision-making may involve group consensus or may be at the discretion of the leader. Participate in the decision-making but understand that some decisions may not be up for debate.
  • Understand that the team's pace may make or break the ability to summit. The pace of the climb should be noted on the climb activity on the website. Your pace may be slower than is appropriate for the climb and you may be turned back at the leader's discretion. Your pace may be faster as well, and you may have to slow down to accommodate the team. These are the realities of climbing as a team. Communicate any concerns you have about pace. There may be adjustments that can be made. It’s best when we can all reach the summit and your leader and team members want to help if you need a little extra support. We’ve all had our “off” days and have leaned on the support of others.
  • If you have any health issues before or during the climb, express them to the team or to the leader in confidence as appropriate. Health issues can create serious problems if not addressed properly.
  • Be considerate of your team members. We all have different backgrounds and experiences. Consider that expressing strong opinions about social or political issues may create an uncomfortable environment. Be open to other views. Remember, the goal is climbing— conversations we have during the process of climbing should enhance the experience, not degrade it.

Contact Info

  • Have an emergency contact listed in your Mazama profile. 
  • Please do not list an emergency contact who will be climbing with you or out climbing while you’re climbing, or will be otherwise unavailable.