The Intermediate Climbing Course is a multi-week, multi-discipline class covering the skills needed for traditional lead climbing, climbing on ice, and party self rescue. These topics are described in more detail below.

A stand alone session of the Self Rescue module covering the same curriculum along with an abbreviated Rock module is also offered in the spring. Preference for this is given to existing Washington Alpine Club members who are active in the community.

Self Rescue

The self rescue portion will teach you how to improvise solutions to for rescuing yourself and your partner in vertical terrain. Specifically this covers things like:

  • Escaping the belay

  • Ascending the rope

  • Tandem rappels

  • Pully systems

  • Passing knots on rappel

  • Follower rescue

  • Leader rescue


The ice portion of the curriculum covers both low angle and vertical ice climbing techniques. In particular, you will learn:

  • The proper use of crampons, technical ice axes, and French technique for safe travel over low angle ice

  • Anchor building on ice including v-threads, ice bollards, and two point ice screw anchors

  • The proper technique for climbing vertical ice using crampon front-points and ice tools

  • Two person crevasse rescue


The rock portion of the curriculum covers everything you need to climb moderate multi-pitch alpine rock climbs. This includes:

  • Lead climbing technique

  • Proper gear placement using nuts, cams, and other traditional climbing gear

  • Anchor systems with trad gear

  • Multi-pitch climbing technique: belaying from above, swapping leads, rope management, etc.

  • Alpine trip planning

Rock I is your opportunity to practice placing gear on easy rock routes where the focus is on proper gear selection, organization, and placement rather than climbing technique. In addition to this you will be learning how to build trad anchors, manage ropes, and have the opportunity to simulate a multi-pitch scenario. After each mock lead climb you will rappel with an instructor and each piece of gear will be collaboratively evaluated.

Rock II moves onto more difficult and varied climbing terrain. Like Rock I, after each mock lead climb you will rappel with an instructor and each piece of gear will be evaluated jointly. The objective of the weekend is to begin doing real leads on rock routes. Unlike other Tuesday night lectures, the lecture prior to Rock II will go over Alpine climbing and trip planning for Alpine climbs.

Rock III provides additional gear placement practice with an emphasis on crack climbing technique. This weekend focuses on repetitions and introduces the concept of projecting where students climb more difficult routes multiple times focusing on movement. Students will also gain experience placing gear while mock leading in sustained crack terrain.

Alpine Climb

In the Alpine Climb weekend you will team up with classmates and choose a suitable objective in the Washington Pass Areas. You and your climbing partners will plan your trip and lead the weekend with experienced instructors along to answer questions and address safety concerns. If the weekend is cancelled due to weather, make up weekends will likely be planned for June of the following year if the weather window for the season appears closed.