Crag Course

The Crag Climbing course is designed to teach the skills, knowledge, and techniques needed to safely lead traditional routes on outdoor crags. The course consists of one hands-on skills review weekend at the Seattle program center, one field trip to Tieton and 3 weekend field trips to Leavenworth.  By the completion of the course you will have had the opportunity to climb and swap leads on at least 3 multi pitch climbs in the Leavenworth area.

The Crag Course will teach safe use of active and passive protection needed for lead climbing in the crag environment, construction of safe anchor systems for top-rope/lead climbing, swinging leads on mid-5th class (5.4 - 5.8) multi-pitch climbs, belaying a partner from multiple directions, rappelling in a variety of settings, and other pertinent skills. The Crag course does not teach alpine travel and navigation techniques, nor is it a beginning climbing class. 

Individuals who graduate from the Crag course may be able to apply these skills to other Mountaineers climbing courses; interested individuals should consult with the Administrative branches of the prospective course to determine equivalency.

Instruction Topics

  • Selection and use of equipment needed to safely lead traditional rock climbs
  • Climbing techniques and strategies
  • Safe anchor construction and top-rope setups
  • Placement and efficient use of passive and active rock protection

Costs and Schedule

The course fee is $475 for Mountaineers members and $575 for non-members.  All students must sign up for the course on the Mountaineers website and pay the course fee.  There will be NO REFUNDS after 02/01/2015.

Equipment costs are your own responsibility, and can range from $200 to $800 or more depending on what you already own and how much you can afford.  Gear commonly used throughout the course includes:

  • Rope
  • Passive protection (e.g. 1 set of nuts)
  • Active protection (e.g. 1 set of Black Diamond cams, size 0.4 to 3 or equivalent camalots)
  • Alpine draws (e.g. 6 sewn runners with 12 wiregate carabiners)
  • Personal gear (harness, rock shoes, helmet, auto blocking belay device i.e., BD ATC Guide or Petzl Reverso, and 2 personal anchors)

Additionally, obtaining a Remote Medical First Aid Training certification, if not current, is required for graduation.  This is an additional course and fee.

2015 Schedule:

  • Thur Mar 26: Kickoff Meeting at Seattle Program Center from 6:30pm to 9pm
  • Sat and Sun. Apr 18th and 19th: Skills Review at Seattle Program Cener from 8am-5pm.
  • Sat May 2nd or Sun May 3rd: Field Trip 1 at Tieton (only 1 day is required)
  • Sat May 16th and Sun May 17th: Field Trip 2 at Leavenworth (both days are required) The group camp site at Bridge Creek Campground has been reserved for all students Friday May 15th and Saturday May 16th..
  • Sat May 30th and Sun May 31st: Field Trip 3 at Leavenworth (both days are required) The group camp site at 8 mile camp ground has been reserved for all students and instructors Friday May 29th and Saturday May 30th.
  • Sat Jun 13th or Sun Jun 14th: Field Trip 4 at Leavenworth (only 1 day is required) This is the final field trip and all students will be climbing a multi pitch route with an instructor.  The group campsite at Bridge Creek cam grounds has been reserved for all students and instructors for Friday June 12th and Sat. June 13th.  Friday June 12th will be an optional climbing day for students that qualify to climb on Snow Creek wall.


The Crag Course is not an introductory climbing course.  It is open to anyone over the age of 16 with rock climbing experience that meets the minimum requirements below:

  • Ability to climb at least 5.7 on top-rope outside
  • Able to LEAD climb 5.6 on bolts (indoors or outdoors)
  • Safe belay technique
  • Knowledge of basic knots used in climbing

Acceptance of the applicant is also based on:

  • Depth of previous rock climbing experience,
  • Current rock climbing activities.

Applicants must have prior rock climbing experience. Applications are screened to select candidates who are dedicated to improving their climbing skills, and who have the best chance of graduation from the course. In order to ensure that students will have a safe and educational experience, class size is limited.

Course size limit: 24 students

How to Apply

Applications accepted no earlier than December 1, 2014.

Registration Opens: December 1, 2014

Download the application form and e-mail it to

For questions contact Loni Uchytil, Crag Course Leader at:

Once an applicant is accepted into the course, they will need to register online for the class and pay the course fee.

Graduation Requirements

  • Pass all required field trips, including the skills assessment/review and indoor gym session.
  • Successfully complete three multi-pitch Crag Climbs with a minimum of 2 leads on each climb.  No sport climbing will be done in this class and it may not count towards graduation requirements.
  • Remote Medical First Aid training (or equivalent or better) must be completed prior to graduation from this course   This course is offered throughout the year at the Mountaineers Clubhouse. 
  • All requirements must be complete and the application submitted by the first Tuesday of October 2015. Students who are not able to complete all the requirements by this time can apply for a one year extension.

Volunteer to Instruct

If you are a seasoned Crag graduate, seasoned Intermediate student or graduate, or climb leader, we highly value your help instructing at Crag Course Field Trips.  Inquiry with Loni Uchytil at


Contact the Crag Course leader, Loni Uchytil, at