Looking for a mountaineering course


Original Post
ferullo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

I have been scouring the internet looking for a course for mountaineering. I am new but have crazy goals lmao Last year I sold my house and everything I owned to travel the country and visit every national park in America as well as climb to the highest points in every state. I have done so from florida to maine. Currently in Colorado! Cheers

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Although you could find courses in Colorado, I'd recommend this guide service for instruction:

https://www.ncmountainguides.com/courses/climbing

If you can afford a private course, that would be way more beneficial.

ferullo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

I have found a few in Colorado but they are expensive for just a few days. I was looking at a NOLS course for 31 days around 4800$ basically 155$ a day. The Cascades mountain guides are on my list of prospects. They only have one specific mountaineering course and thats ski mountaineering something I have never done(skiing on snow that is) Everything else is ala carte

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

NCMG also has this glacier travel and crevasse rescue course:

https://www.ncmountainguides.com/courses/climbing/crevasse-rescue-and-glacier-travel

Edit: You could also go on their Mt. Baker trip, where you would learn basic snow travel skills (crampons, ice ax, self-arrest, etc).

https://www.ncmountainguides.com/adventures/climbing/mount-baker-climbing

Kyle Tarry · · Portland, OR · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 162

Lots of options in the PNW:

https://www.alpineascents.com/school/cascades6/
http://www.alpineinstitute.com/catalog/alpinism-1-introduction-to-mountaineering/
https://www.mountainmadness.com/adventures/schools/north-america/glacier-mountaineering-course
https://www.rmiguides.com/mt-rainier/mountaineering-day-school

And Colorado:

https://coloradomountainschool.com/courses/intro-mountaineering/

These are all on the first page of a Google search for "mountaineering course."

There are also lots of summit climb options with instruction, particularly on Rainier and Baker:

https://www.rmiguides.com/mt-rainier/5-day-summit-climb

Amanda Stern · · Redondo Beach, CA · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 5

I did the NOLS PNW Mountaineering Course in 2015. 10/10 would highly recommend! Phenomenal instructors, great climbs and tons of exposure/experience with glacial travel. Climbed the east face of Mt Baker and then climbed Mt Shuksan, almost 2 weeks on each. Seriously the best money I've ever spent and would happily do it again. Let me know if you want more info about it! Email me any time at aks86@cornell.edu

ferullo · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Thanks guys I have done the google searches lmao. I should have been more specific. I am looking for what people think of those given courses Or courses they have taken. Basically reviews of courses

FoamFinger _______ · · Rad Town, Not set (USA) · Joined Jan 2013 · Points: 250

As someone who has worked as an Alpine guide and taught courses before I can say comfortably that the best course that I have ever seen offered is through the American Alpine Institute. Their Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership courses look absolutely amazing.
The problem with courses from most organizations or guide services is that they have to maintain a significant safety margin which means while you will get a fulfilling experience you won't get the institutional knowledge of how your instructors have built up their decision making framework. That of course is developed over years of experience in the Alpine environment. Most organizations do not ever allow you to be exposed in situations where, if you were an independent climber you would have to think your way through the crux. Organizations just can't afford to put you through that kind of risk and gamble that everything will be alright.
The AAI's Alpine Leadership program comes as close to that limit of allowing you to get to the edge as I've ever heard. They really focus on helping you build up your decision-making framework so that you can recognize and analyze hazards and risks with competent and experienced instructors. These skills are far and away more important than knowing how to hold your ice-axe or french step.
Take a look at their programs, they aren't cheap but damn if they aren't worth every penny.
P.S. I have never taken one of their courses nor worked for them. You might ask how I can tell so much about them without having taken a course or worked for them? I have a discerning eye and it's all in the details.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 251

I like AAI a lot. I've done one course with them and one "intermediate" course with RMI. AAI seems to be much more into actually teaching you, while RMI is just trying to get you up the mountain while the instruction is just a side note.

Deadfish · · Bay Area, CA · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 10

I took a 6-day course from American Alpine Institute several years ago, nothing but good things to say about the instruction. I would definitely recommend them.

Laramide Erogenous · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 235

Did AAI's AMTL 1 2 &3 a couple years ago. The guides were top notch. Overall a great experience. If I were to do it again I would have skipped AMTL 1 and shifted that money to however many days of private instruction. My experience in 1 was different from the people I was with in 2. It's dumb luck I guess, I felt like I was in a group of people in poor physical condition who had little initial knowledge of mountaineering/climbing. I made a strong effort to get into good shape. Being a noob and wanting to get all I could out of my $2000+ dollars spent I bought a couple books on mountaineering/climbing and did a significant amount of studying up, reading forums and playing with gear to begin get a conceptual grasp on it all... I'm pretty sure I was the only one in my group that did that. Despite my feeling limited by the group in AMTL 1 I felt the guides did an incredible job balancing everyone's levels and took time to answer and address my questions even at the end of a long day. I would also make note of the two halves of the course name: alpine mountaineering AND technical leadership, so they are also teaching you to work as part of a team and pick up some group instincts. As I mentioned before the folks I was with in AMTL 2 did not have the same experience I did in AMTL 1, so again a bit of luck of the draw there. Overall an amazing experience that I would recommend to any body looking to gain serious mountaineering/climbing knowledge and experience.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 251
Laramide Erogenous wrote:Did AAI's AMTL 1 2 &3 a couple years ago. The guides were top notch. Overall a great experience. If I were to do it again I would have skipped AMTL 1 and shifted that money to however many days of private instruction. My experience in 1 was different from the people I was with in 2. It's dumb luck I guess, I felt like I was in a group of people in poor physical condition who had little initial knowledge of mountaineering/climbing. I made a strong effort to get into good shape. Being a noob and wanting to get all I could out of my $2000+ dollars spent I bought a couple books on mountaineering/climbing and did a significant amount of studying up, reading forums and playing with gear to begin get a conceptual grasp on it all... I'm pretty sure I was the only one in my group that did that. Despite my feeling limited by the group in AMTL 1 I felt the guides did an incredible job balancing everyone's levels and took time to answer and address my questions even at the end of a long day. I would also make note of the two halves of the course name: alpine mountaineering AND technical leadership, so they are also teaching you to work as part of a team and pick up some group instincts. As I mentioned before the folks I was with in AMTL 2 did not have the same experience I did in AMTL 1, so again a bit of luck of the draw there. Overall an amazing experience that I would recommend to any body looking to gain serious mountaineering/climbing knowledge and experience.
You are the first person I have heard of doing level 3. Seems like a pretty cool program. How was you experience for that course specifically?
Laramide Erogenous · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 235

If you decide to take AMTL 3 your experience will depend on the weather, your experience and what you're looking to get out of it. I did the aid/N pickets version of the course. The aid section was also run as a seperate aid course so we had people that were just along for the aid part but not the N pickets which was cool because everyone was much more experienced than I was and I learned from them as well as the guides. I was a total gumby, excited to learn anything climbing related and I did 1,2 & 3 back to back to back. For me the most valuable part of the aid course was being able to place gear (on mock lead on city park at index) and stomp the hell out of it and see how it reacted. Prior to the courses I had only led a few sport routes and learning trad was a very high priority. While I didn't do any leading in the courses I went to Squamish as soon as they were over and started leading trad up to 5.8/9 on singe pitch newer routes. I'd like to think all I learned and specifically the experience weighting gear did me well when I took my first fall on gear in Squamish on a beautifully placed nut that held like a champ. In the ensuing 2 years I have taught myself a lot through books and toying around and have a feeling that if I were a somewhat experienced trad climber I would have figured the aid part out just fine on my own, well, at least what was covered in the course which was intro to aid. For me the biggest value in it was the copious amount of gear placed and tested. The second part of the course was just myself and another climber and one guide. The other climber I am still friends with until this day. He was in the process of getting guide certs and thus had a bit of a different mindset than I did (after seeing the shit guides deal with my fear of ruining something I loved made me realize I never want to be a guide!). So the second part, the N pickets, involved a good dose of trip planning and assessment. I think it would benefit someone looking to guide much more than it did me. In the end we were shut out by the weather on N challenger but the blue berries were just as delicious as the scotch I thankfully packed. We salvaged the remains by doing some climbing around Washington pass / Mazama and had continued 2:1 guide time to hone and ask and learn. Was it perfect? No, but what the hell is? Would I do it again? Absolutely.

Laramide Erogenous · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 235

I'll also add that AMTL 2 was my favorite and most beneficial. The intensive rope work and concentration on self rescue gave me a great understanding of rope systems. I can't tell you in words how good it feels to know you can unfuck yourself. For me being a noob it laid a solid base that I have adapted and self taught TR soloing and rope soloing. I picked up many tools in AMTL that will forever serve me.

Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 251

Thanks a lot for the detailed info, Laramide! I appreciate the message over PM as well!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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