Do I need to have prior climbing experience to apply for this course?

Climbing experience isn’t required, but it helps. We have a competitive application process and unfortunately we aren’t able to accommodate every student who wants to take Basic Alpine Climbing.

I haven’t climbed but I’ve camped and hiked: does that help my application?

Absolutely! Our ideal students have a well-tested passion for the outdoors and are looking to expand that passion into more challenging pursuits. If you’re not sure how you feel about carrying a backpack or sleeping overnight in a tent, then this course probably isn’t for you.

How fit do I need to be to climb?

Every little bit helps. Cardiovascular conditioning, a strong back and core for carrying heavy loads, and the endurance to walk long distances are all very important for climbers.

Some of the physical challenges you’ll face in training include the following:

               Climbing a rope using special slings called prusiks

               Climbing rock walls with a pack

               Climbing rock walls in boots

               Walking up snowy slopes like you see at ski areas

               Using ice axes and crampons

When do I have to pay?

After you have been accepted to the course, there will be a registration window in which you must pay for the course. If you do not pay by the end of the registration window, your position will be forfeited to another student.  

What if I have to cancel or drop out, will I get a refund?

The registration fee of  $200 is due upon registering for the course and is non refundable unless you are not accepted or the class is canceled.  The remaining $1150 must be paid by May 31.  If it is necessary to drop out for whatever reason before the first class session starts June 16, $500 will be refunded and the remainder will be credited toward the fee of the Seattle regular or intense BACC in the future.  If a participant drops out for any reason after June 16, 2018, no money will be refunded. They will be granted second year status and can take the regular or intense basic course in with the next 2 years at no additional fee.

How much gear will I need to buy?

It’s important not to overlook the cost of gear when you’re thinking about whether you can afford this class.

One challenge of the 9 day intense course is that you will need to have acquired most of your gear by the start date.  You’re encouraged to borrow as much gear as possible from friends.  Ask around before making big purchases. The Mountaineers have relationships with prominent vendors, and lots of great advice for finding good deals on quality gear.

That being said, the typical cost of outfitting yourself can be substantial—anywhere from $500 to $2,000 depending on what you already own and what kind of gear you buy. The required gear can be found under the Required Equipment tab near the bottom of the Intense Basic home page.

This list is provided only so that you can get an idea of how much you might need to spend for this course. Please do not start shopping for gear until after you’ve been accepted into the class and had the opportunity to talk to your instructors about gear.

What are the course requirements?

See the requirements section.

What is the time commitment?

The course curriculum includes five class meetings and seven field trips which will occur over 9 days in June.  

A minimum of three basic climbs will be required. Typically, a basic climb will be 1-3 days. You will be responsible for scheduling climbs that meet your availability. 

In addition, there are required classes in navigation and first aid, which are taught outside the formal course structure, a stewardship requirement, and self-study. See the requirements section for more information.

How flexible is the course schedule?

You are expected to attend all sessions starting June 16 through the full day and evening of June 24.

See the schedule section for a detailed listing.

What level of rock climbing will we be attempting?

This will vary depending on your skills and abilities, but in this course you will not be climbing above 5.6 on the Yosemite Decimal Scale.

Will I learn to place protection and lead climbs?

No. You will be learning how to climb rock as a follower and how to remove protection placed by leaders. After completing Basic Alpine Climbing, you’ll be eligible to apply for our Intermediate Course. It’s there that you’ll advance your trad climbing and learn to place protection on lead.

If you’re only interested in climbing rocks and not glaciers, you may want to check out our Intro to Alpine Rock instead of Basic Alpine Climbing.

Will we be ice-climbing?

No. You will learn to use a single ice axe and crampons to climb on steep, crevassed snow with a rope team, but you will not be climbing on vertical water ice. An advanced Water Ice Class is available to those who have completed both Basic Alpine and Intermediate Climbing.

I’m not sure I’m ready to climb rock faces and glaciers, but I want to get up in the mountains. Are there other options?

Yes! Many of our climbers have started off with our Alpine Scrambling Course. It’s a great way to learn some of the same tools, techniques and terrains you’ll encounter in climbing, but with lower-angle routes and fewer hazards than technical climbing.

What books do I need?

You will need a copy of the course textbook Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills - 9th Edition, published by The Mountaineers. A soft cover and ePub version of Freedom of the Hills is included in the course fee. 

How do I apply and register for the Intense Basic Alpine Climbing Course?

1. Complete the course application and get accepted into the program

2. Register for the course and pay the registration fee

When registration opens on January 10th, 2018, the application will be listed on the Intense Basic 2018 page on the Mountaineers website.