Welcome to Skagit Alpine Club

Basic Mountaineering Course (BMC).

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The Skagit Alpine Club usually runs an 8 week Basic Mountaineering Course annually. The course typically covers basic rock climbing and mountaineering skills. However, due to the global pandemic, our regular 8 week course will not be offered. We will offer individual one-week courses that can be taken separately or together, equal to the first four weeks of our typical course. This is to provide increased safety for students and instructors and continue to offer opportunities for students to learn basic rock and snow skills in small groups. 


Course Offerings

Each of the following courses will be offered according to the calendar below and will cover the skills listed. Each course can be registered for separately, and includes one weekday evening session to introduce skills and cover important information, followed by a weekend day trip to practice skills in the field. Weekday sessions will be located outdoors, and undercover as much as possible. Weekend sessions will typically be planned for Saturday, but will be weather dependent and may be moved to Sunday. Participants will be registered for one session that includes a weekday session and weekend outing of the same week. Participants must show basic skills competence during weekday session prior to weekend outing. 


Snow Travel 1- Intro to Ice Axe Arrest and Snow Travel: This course will address basic skills and safety using ice axes, basic avalanche awareness and snow travel practice. Open to all students, no previous experience with snow travel necessary. 


  • Weekday Course Date: 5/6/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up): 5/8/21 (5/9/21)

  • Weekday Course Date: 5/20/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up): 5/22/21 (5/23/21)

  • Weekday Course Date: 6/9/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up): 6/12/21 (6/13/21)

Snow Travel 2- Snow Camp & Basic Navigation Skills:This course will include navigation and route description overview, snow camping basics and basic snow travel with a rope team or along a fixed line. Overnight snow camp possible based on weather. Prerequisite: Snow Travel 1 Course. 


  • Weekday Course Date: 6/23/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up)6/26-27/21

Rock Climbing 1- Intro to Outdoor Rock Climbing: This course will cover proper belay and rappel technique, including climbing knots and basic climbing technique. Open to all students, no previous experience with climbing necessary. 


  • Weekday Course Date: 5/13/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up): 5/15/21 (5/16/21)

  • Weekday Course Date: 5/19/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up): 5/22/21 (5/23/21)

  • Weekday Course Date: 6/3/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up): 6/5/21 (6/6/21)

Rock Climbing 2- Climbing and Lead Belay Techniques: This course provides experience with lead belaying, cleaning routes, checking anchor systems, and increasing rock climbing techniques. Prerequisite: Rock Climbing 1 Course.


  • Weekday Course Date: 6/16/21

  • Weekend Outing Date (Weather Back up)6/19/21 (6/20/21)

Gear Requirements:

Required for all courses:

  • Navigation (map & compass or GPS)

  • Water bottle or hydration system

  • Sun protection (sunglasses, sunscreen, and lip balm)

  • Head lamp

  • Personal first aid kit -- the class carries large group kits on every outing, but you will want your own small collection of simple first aid supplies

  • Lighter or waterproof matches 

  • Insulating synthetic or down jacket

  • Shell type rain jacket(waterproof recommended)

  • Food and snacks for class sessions and outings

  • Hiking pants

  • Baselayer shirt

  • Mask

  • Hand sanitizer

Rock Climbing 1 Course:

  • Hiking boots or Approach shoes

  • Climbing shoes

  • Well-fitting harness (rock or alpine)

  • Helmet

  • 3 locking carabiners

  • 3-4 regular carabiners

  • Personal Anchor system

  • Belay/Rappel device (ATC recommended)

Rock Climbing 2 Course:

  • All items for Rock Climbing 1 Course

  • Nut Tool (recommended but not required)

Snow Travel 1 Course:

  • Waterproof boots - leather or synthetic mountaineering boots recommended

  • Waterproof Pants

  • Ice Axe

  • Gaiters

  • Good synthetic or wool socks

  • Long underwear top and bottom

  • Water-proof mittens or gloves, synthetic over-mitts are an option too

  • Waterproof gloves

  • Blue bags

  • Wool or synthetic cap

  • Dark Sunglasses (Glacier glasses recommended)

Snow Travel 2 Course:

  • All items for Snow Travel 1 Course 

  • Leather or synthetic mountaineering boots strongly recommended. Plastic boots are also an option. 

  • Overnight pack (60-65L is recommended)

  • Sleeping Bag (recommended temperature rating depends on preference, 20F-0F is common)

  • Sleeping pad, 4+ R-value for sleeping on snow recommended

  • Foam Pad

  • Tent - 3 season, 1-2 person recommended. 

  • Shovel -- one collapsible avalanche shovel

  • Stove, cookware, bowl, spoon 

  • Trekking poles- not required, but they are very nice

  • Crampons- optional

  • Food and Snacks for overnight trip


Fitness Levels

Each outing will be physically demanding and requires strong hiking fitness and endurance. We recommend that all students have weeks of regular hiking experience with more than 1,000ft of elevation gain each hike. Strength training experience is also recommended. 


Important Course Dates

Registration Opens: January 15th

Virtual Information session: Thursday, February 25th at 7pm (Link to be provided soon)

Registration Closes: April 10th

First Course starts: May 6th

Course Fees:

Each course includes one weekday course and one weekend outing. All courses begin at $200 per course. Registering for two or three courses will decrease the cost of each course to $180. Registering for all four courses (Rock 1 & 2, Snow 1 & 2) will discount each course to $150/course. Discounts can only be provided across one participant’s registration.


Registration for one course: $200

2+ Course Discount: $180/course

4 Course Discount: $150/course


All Course registrations include a one-year membership to the Skagit Alpine Club meetings, newsletters, and events. 


COVID Notice

All courses are subject to change based on Washington SafeStart protocols. If courses are cancelled based on COVID restrictions, a full refund will be provided. COVID requirements will be strictly adhered to throughout courses, including wearing masks when in proximity of other people to maintain safety for instructors and students. Students may be asked to leave if not adhering to policies. Students will be asked to complete a COVID Waiver for each course.


Cancellation  & Refund Policy

If courses are cancelled based on COVID restrictions, a full refund will be provided.  Courses that do not meet the minimum enrollment may be cancelled with full refund or offer transfers to other course dates. 


Students experiencing any possible symptoms of COVID or exposed to anyone with COVID symptoms should report them immediately. Students will get a full refund or transfer to a later course if an isolated quarantine period and negative COVID test are confirmed.