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Mountaineering Skills

Activity Description

This is a super intensive yet fun way to spend half a day. Learn how to use crampons (or any traction), properly. Understand the choreography between the ice axe your feet… the dance that is solely that of the mountaineer is far from random. Learn to rest step onto the higher ridges to conserve energy, and learn to breathe when the air thins as you climb. Learn how to self arrest with an ice axe, and even learn some rope tricks that can save your day — and maybe your life. The primary focus, however, is proper crampon techniques. While knowing self-arrest methods is a must, if you can stay on your feet you will always be ahead of the game.

Activity Offerings

We have considered trying to run this course in the off-season, utilizing gravel banks, but it would be less than adequate. Therefore, the best experiences will occur when there is snow and ice on the ground making the availability of this course range from as early as December to as late as May (since we have access to secret stashes of snow at lower elevations, late season classes are possible). This is available as half-day course lasting 3-4 hours, or so, and sometimes longer (depending on group size). It is also available as a full day course lasting 6-8 hours covering the material, plus some, in greater depth. Training for something special? Please include any special objectives or learning desires you may have, if applicable, in the comments box of our Booking Form.

What to Wear

This course takes place entirely outdoors (not too, too far from the urban world) and will literally involve rolling around in the snow. Therefore your clothing should consist of layers: at least one to keep you warm and another to protect you and your under layers. You may also opt to wear mountaineering gear if you own such clothing and are training for something else. The course provides a great shakedown opportunity. In any case, these general guidelines can help:

  • Think layers. While a ski jacket, for example, may be warm and waterproof, if the insulation can’t be separated from the rain/snow protection layer, it really isn’t suitable. You will overheat if you need rain/snow protection while mountaineering, training or otherwise. Bring independent layers. Having our “Ready Pack” will help.
  • Never wear cotton, even at the underwear level. Synthetic materials, wool, and especially performance/wicking materials should be your clothing of choice. For mountaineering, since cotton won’t dry and doesn’t insulate while wet, it can pose a hazard. You will want to wear sports or mountaineering clothing and you will want to bring extra.
  • For footwear, wear proper winter mountaineering boots with step-in crampons (which can be rented, even done for you as a convenience if we lack your size). That said, for this course, you may opt to use stiff winter hiking boots and strap-on crampons. For this course, this footwear is adequate. You will still learn the correct techniques. That said, using the real deal is strongly recommended for the optimum experience.

Necessary Gear

For your mountaineering skills course gear needs, in addition to your own non-cotton base layers, hiking/climbing pants with shirt, and footwear, as described above, plus rain pants/jacket, we offer three options. Click to expand.

Gear Option 1 - Open
Rent our “Alpine Ready Pack” for $75/person/day. This option will satisfy all your gear needs to include all your layers from mid-layer up, everything except for hardshell pants and jacket (we will not subject our gear to self-arrest training so you will want to bring your own inexpensive rain pants and jacket for sliding in the snow), even your food and water needs for the duration of the activity, including all specialty gear (but excluding mountaineering boots). This only leaves a need for personal items such as…

  • Personal first aid kit/meds.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Camera/phone (weather-protected).
  • Lip balm, sun block.
  • Sunglasses (glacier glasses).
  • Proper footwear (see information above).
  • Proper clothing layering (see information above).

SPECIAL NOTE: You may get an “Alpine Ready Pack, Lean” without food and water for $60/person/day.
SPECIAL NOTE: You can also order just food and water for $15/person/day. (Available with any option.)

Gear Option 2 - Open
Bring your own pack containing, in addition to the items above, the gear shown in the list below, as needed per the season and practice objective, but rent any necessary specialty gear items in the sub-list below that…

  • A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~40-50 liters).
  • Hardshell jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
  • Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
  • Winter-rated mid-layer, maybe a soft shell (much colder).
  • Food for the day, plus extra.
  • Water for the day, at least 2 liters, plus extra.
  • Seasonally-rated hat, gloves/mittens.
  • Headlamp with spare batteries (or backup device).
  • Whistle or sound-making device (sternum strap whistles are okay).

Plus any of these applicable Specialty Gear Items, which may be rented…

  • Headlamp, $5/person/day.
  • Microspikes, $10/set/person/day.
  • Ice axe, $10/person/day.
  • Strap-on crampons, $15/pair/person/day.
  • Climbing helmet, $5/person/day (needed for self arrest training).
  • Mountaineering boots, $25/person/day.
  • Gear Insurance, $10/person/day.
  • Plus any outsourced gear items, call for current pricing.

SPECIAL NOTE: If any outsourced gear such as plastic mountaineering boots with step-in crampons is wanted or needed (recommended for shakedown purposes if you will be climbing something the next day or are in training), we can rent it ahead of time for you if we lack your size for $40 plus the applicable rental fees.

Gear Option 3 - Open
Bring everything and rent nothing. In which case, you will need everything from the above lists appropriate to your activity and expected conditions. Contact us if you have questions, mention it on the booking form, or simply note it when we call to finalize your booking.

Okay… Let’s Do This!

Here is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want to know.

Half Day Course Pricing
For one person$125
For two people$175
Added people$75 each
Full Day Course Pricing
For one person$200
For two people$325
Added people$150 each
Premium Course Options
Make it privateAdd $75
Other Information
  • The difficulty of this activity is as requested but it’s not tough.
  • This activity has up to a 1:4 instructor/student ratio.
  • The maximum group size is 8 with 2 guides.
  • For parties larger than 8, please contact us.
  • Gratuities not included; 15-20% is customary for a good job.

A little more than you need? Try out our Hiking Intro or Winter Skills courses instead. But if you’re ready to rock and roll, as they say,  go ahead and BOOK IT NOW!

Don't Wait Too Long!

Book today to begin your outdoor experience. Use the button to the right to go to our booking form page...