Join us on a 6 Day Alpine Climbing Skills Course
The term “alpine climbing” refers to climbing involving pitches of rock, ice, or steep snow where a rope is needed for protection from a fall off of a mountain feature. The term “mountaineering” generally refers to lower-angle climbs where a rope may be needed for glacier travel, but is not needed to protect against a fall off the mountain. Climbers can walk up the majority of a mountaineering objective, while they need to use their hands, feet, and sometimes specialized tools like ice axes to climb alpine routes. Alpine climbing forms a foundation for “alpinism”, which is the pursuit of alpine climbing in a fast-and-light style. The pursuit of alpine climbing requires more skills than mountaineering, has a larger psychological component, and takes longer to master. If this sounds interesting to you, then read on.
Have you already climbed glaciated peaks like Mt. Baker or Mt. Rainier and want to further your development as a climber? Or perhaps you are just getting into climbing and want to do more than climb simple glacier routes? If so, then this is this Alpine Climbing Skills course is for you. We keep our ratios low so we can get into plenty of technical terrain and push students’ skill sets without sacrificing safety.
This Alpine Climbing Skills course prepares students to climb peaks that have significant sections of rock climbing on faces and ridges, steep snow climbing, and complex approaches and descents. This includes Forbidden Peak, The Tooth, Liberty Bell, the Early Winter Spires, Black Peak, and other classic alpine rock climbs of the Cascades. It is also the perfect preparation for alpine rock climbs in the Rocky Mountains- such as the Colorado Fourteeners or the Grand Teton, and for routes in the High Sierra of California such as Mt. Whitney. If you’d like to also cover glacier travel, crevasse rescue, and summit a large glaciated peak consider combining this course with our Mountaineering Skills Course. Or if you’d like to tackle steep ice routes such as the North Ridge of Mount Baker add our Ice Climbing Course. By taking all three courses you have 14-days of world-class instruction that allows students to tackle peaks with large glaciers, multi-pitch rock, ice faces, snow-filled couloirs, and long technical ridges. Routes requiring these skills include Mt. Shuksan via the Fischer Chimneys route or North Face, more complex climbs in Boston Basin such as the North RIdge of Forbidden, or a climb of challenging rock routes in North Cascades National Park such as Dorado Needle, Early Morning Spire, Inspiration Peak, or Mt. Goode.
Our Alpine Climbing Skills course begins with an introduction to multi-pitch rock climbing at a crag with easy access and a short approach. This day you will be introduced to equipment used for multi-pitch traditional (trad) climbing, rope management techniques, lead belaying, climbing techniques, multi-pitch belay station management, and technical descents such as rappels. You will also participate in a multi-pitch climb. The next two days will be split between instruction in multi-pitch alpine climbing systems, and a climb of an alpine rock route. Possible routes include classics like The Tooth, routes on Vesper Peak, or a route on Morning Star Peak.
For the final three days we head into Boston Basin, where we combine our multi-pitch skills with steep snow climbing and more complex alpine systems. We learn the fundamentals of moving on snow, and also learn how to progress together along ridges. Possible objectives include Sharkfin Tower, the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak, or- for more advanced students- the North Ridge of Forbidden Peak. The amount of learning on this course is substantial, the scenery fantastic, and the climbing experiences last a life-time.
For those with previous experience in complex alpine terrain, or for those interested in pursuing alpine climbing at a high recreational level or for a future profession, take a look at our Alpine Climbing Leadership Program.
Skills Covered During the Alpine Climbing Skills Course:
- Equipment selection for multi-pitch rock and alpine climbs
- Packing a pack for alpine routes
- Rope management
- Belay systems
- Belay station management
- Rock climbing movement technique
- Walking/climbing techniques for steep snow
- Introduction to snow anchors
- Techniques for shortening and lengthening the rope
- Alpine rock anchors
- Basic wilderness navigation
- Hazard mitigation
- Campsite selection and set-up
- Leave-No-Trace principles
- Previous multi-day backpacking experience
- Previous experience using crampons and an ice axe. This can be gained on our Intro to Snow Climbing Course, or by adding one extra day to your itinerary.
- Previous indoor or outdoor rock climbing experience is strongly recommended, but not required for those with a tolerance for steep and exposed terrain. Rock climbing experience can be gained on our Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing course.
- Excellent physical fitness. This course involves long days on-the-move in the mountains while carrying a pack weighing around 40lbs on the way into base camps. While climbing you will have a small pack weighing 10 to 15lbs. Take a look at our Alpine Climbing Training Program for details.
Duration6 Days 5 Nights Camping or Car Camping
PassportNot needed for US citizens
Minimum Age16 years old
ActivityAlpine Rock Climbing
- Fuel, Pots, and Stoves
- Group climbing equipment
- Guide Services
- Parking or entry fees (when applicable)
- Food or drinks
- Accommodation before or after the course
- Personal clothing
- Personal climbing equipment (rentals available)
- Gratuities for guides
I was part of a group that summitted Mt. Baker in early August this year. Overall, it was a great experience. I went into it not knowing what to expect from a guided climb (my past few had been unguided) and was pleasantly surprised. I was concerned that I'd be bored, but was happy to find that they did a great job juggling our group's varying skill levels, and I walked away feeling like I had learned and progressed as a climber. Ben and Anthony are both very knowledgeable (you can always learn from guides, it just depends how much time they have to teach!) and I found myself getting a bunch of new experiences even just in the 24 hours that we climbed. I was also impressed by their abilities to read us and judge when clients needed encouraging or advice. They did a great job managing us, and I remember the moment that my attitude turned from "this isn't going to happen but it's still experience" to "holy crap, we have a shot!" After toughing it out through some rain, blustering winds, and low visibility, the skies cleared up and we had our chance. Thanks to Ben and Anthony for the positive attitudes and guidance that weekend! I'd definitely join them again in the future.
What an awesome experience to go on climbing Mt. Rainier with Miyar Adventures. Sandeep and his team of guides ( Kirk, Alexis, Joe, Ben, Chris, Jasmin ) did an awesome job to lead the multiple rope teams trough snow skill preparations and guiding through safely on glacier journey. The amount of efforts put into multi-month preparation, pre-trip meetings, accessibility to gears for rent and attention to details with food/weight/personal gears were all instrumental in almost all of us (in a group of 24) able to summit Mt. Rainier and have wonderful memories. We knew we were in best company and safe hands with prior experience with Miyar Adventures led climb to Mt. Baker and few other preparation trips. And guides calibrated their approach from novice climbers to experienced climbers to push enough to have an enjoyable experience. I highly recommend to go with Miyar Adventures on amazing trips they have lined up around the Puget Sound Area and internationally.
This was my first time technical/glacier climb under great guides assistance & summited Mt. Baker & can't wait for more to come, see you soon ;)
If you are interested in doing any climbing or hiking but need a guide , I highly recommend Miyar Adventures...Sandeep is a wonderful person and you will actually learn (and practice ) climbing and crevasse rescue techniques in addition to the trip/climb ...it is definitely beyond a just a "get you to the summit" experience. He genuinely cares and brings in other excellent guides for bigger groups. My husband and I recently successfully made it to the summit of Mount Baker with Sandeep, two other guides and a group of friends and we had a fantastic experience. He and the guides he works with are very knowledgeable so I had confidence in their abilities to lead us but they are also very friendly and fun so that overall trip was enjoyable. I will definitely climb with Miyar Adventures again!
I've climbed Rainier and Baker (+several other training hikes) with Sandeep and other guides from Miyar Adventures. The climbs were made super fun, safe, and informational. With Sandeep's detailed prior planning, extensive know-how of the mountaineering practices, and long climbing experience, you know the climb is going to be safe with great chances of summit. Before all big climbs, Sandeep does an indoor session to discuss the itinerary and answer any concerns. You'll definitely learn a lot whenever you spend time with Sandeep. He has expertise in all forms of climbing: mountaineering, rock and ice. So it also makes it easy to try other activities because you already know the guide well. I've taken instructions from few other guides as well and I wouldn't doubt to state that Sandeep is the best guide I've climbed with! He'll keep you motivated and answer your questions with patience. He'd have fun stories to tell from his rescue ops, first ascents, or other hard climbs. He is ready to make adjustments based on the preferences of the group which is a key in making the trip not only successful but also enjoyable. I can't recommend Miyar Adventures enough! Give them a try and you'll be glad you did.