Introduction to Alpine Rock Climbing

Course Overview

The Alpine Rock Climbing course is appropriate for 6-day course graduates with a firm understanding of the basics of rock climbing including the ability to tie knots, belay and rappel competently—multi pitch climbing experience is preferred. While there is a day of review, the majority of the course is spent climbing 3 separate, full-day (8+ hours) alpine rock objectives. Students can expect strenuous approaches of 1.5-3 hours, long days, big exposure, and minimal opportunity to rest between pitches.

The granite spires of the Cascades are often overshadowed by their colossal snowy neighbors to the west, however what these peaks lack in height and glaciation they more than make up for with sheer rocky faces, big vertical relief, mild weather and spectacular views. The alpine rock climbing program is a phenomenal four day course open to those climbers who have experience rock climbing and basic mountaineering skills. A favorite among the guides, this challenging, yet fun and rewarding course often reaches three unique summits in just four days.

This is great training for the Matterhorn and can be used as the Prep Course. Please note, climbers using this course as a Matterhorn Prep will have a slightly different gear list.

Maximum Team Size:  Six climbers with three guides.

I have been seriously climbing for about a year now with the help of friends & books. I feel like I learned more in four days on this trip than I have learned in an entire year. Not to mention the new found confidence I’m walking away with, thanks to our guides! This program is incredible! –

The course was incredible. As an intermediate climber I wasn’t sure whether the material would be over my head or stuff I already knew. Our guides did a great job of making sure people left with exactly what they wanted, both in terms of education and climbing. I cannot speak highly enough of either of our guides, both from a personal and professional level.

Course Objectives

This program is designed for the beginner or intermediate climber who wishes to develop strong fundamental skills in all aspects of alpine rock climbing.

Increasing technical knowledge/skills in all aspects of alpine rock climbing including:

  • Rope/belay techniques
  • Rappelling
  • Knots and anchor systems
  • Moving efficiently and quickly through moderately technical terrain
  • Gaining confidence and skill in 5.6-5.8 alpine rock terrain
  • Face-in down climbing and face-out down climbing
  • Route finding
  • Climbing risk management

For those who are using this course to prepare for a climb of the Matterhorn, you will also gain experience in the following:

  • Climbing with a lightweight mountaineering pack
  • Climbing in technical mountaineering boots
  • Climbing easy 4th/5th class terrain in crampons

The Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing Course combined with the 4 Day Mount Shuksan Fisher Chimneys Climb offers outstanding preparation for a climb of the Matterhorn and is highly recommended for those who can make the time.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist. We would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will take you to Amazon, where you can read reviews or make purchases.

Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills
Don Graydon (Ed.), Kurt Hanson (Ed.), Mountaineers Society, Mountaineers Books
Rock Climbing: Mastering Basic Skills
Topher Donahue, Craig Luebben, Mountaineers Outdoor Experts, Mountaineers Books
Climbing Anchors
John Long, Bob Gaines

The course was incredible. As an intermediate climber I wasn’t sure whether the material would be over my head or stuff I already knew. Our guides did a great job of making sure people left with exactly what they wanted, both in terms of education and climbing. Everything I learned was clear, concise, and I […]

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Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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