Skip to main content
HomeBasic Glacier Climbing Course

Basic Glacier Climbing Course

Want to learn some basic climbing skills? Looking to have fun in the mountains and make new friends?
  Glacier Climbing
Photo © Seth Pollack
Announcing the Basic Glacier Climbing Course. This course will provide the instruction of glacier travel skills that you will need to climb the big volcanoes of the Cascades. The course will also introduce you to a fun and friendly climbing community. If you are a hiker, backpacker or gym climber dreaming of new heights, the Bushwhacker Glacier Course is a great start!


The course consists of Tuesday evening lectures, plus four field trips - see schedule below.

  Glacier Climbing
Photo © Seth Pollack
There are two sections, each section composed of six students, assistants and one instructor. Each section has its own outings, but both sections share the evening lectures. The lectures are from 7:30pm-9:30pm. Location is TBD.
The first outing is a day outing in the mountains.  The second field trip is a full-day outing. The third field trip is an overnighter. The fourth field trip is four days and three nights in the mountains. The four-day field trip features a summit climb attempt of Mt Baker. All field trips require full days of activity.

Course Requirements

Applicants should have some basic hiking and backpacking experience. The outings will be strenuous with long days and applicants should be in good physical condition.

Students will need the following equipment to participate in this course. We will talk a great deal about specific gear in the lectures - we advise course participants to hold off on new gear purchases until after the classroom discussions. Some gear can be rented, as well:
  • Mountaineering boots
  • Ice axe
  • Crampons
  • Climbing harness
  • Climbing helmet
  • Compass (simple base plate compass preferred)
  • Suitable outdoor clothing
  • Overnight camping equipment & backpack (the club provide stoves & tents)

Application and Registration

COVID-19 update 12/20: Due to the continuing pandemic, the Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel all in-person 2021 events and courses through the winter and spring. This includes our 2021 Basic Glacier Climbing course and our 2021 Wilderness Leadership course. We will hold spots for the students from the 2020 glacier class in the 2022 course, and will open up the remaining spots through our application process in Q1 2022. 


The course costs $425. In addition, club membership is required, which costs $35.  Students provide their personal gear, clothing, food, and transportation.  The club provides group gear such as tents and ropes.

 Example Course Schedule

The Basic Glacier Course includes Tuesday night lectures throughout May and June. Outings are every other weekend in May and June. The course pretty much follows this routine every year. We always deliberately avoid the Memorial Day weekend.
Here is the 2020 schedule as an example.
April 28
Introduction, Physical Conditioning
May 2 Field Outing I (Team 1), Team Building
May 3 Field Outing I (Team 2), Team Building
May 5 Gear I
May 12 Navigation with Map & Compass
May 16 Field Outing II (Team 1), Snow Travel Skills
May 17 Field Outing II (Team 2), Snow Travel Skills
May 19 Gear II
May 26 Roped Travel & Gear III
May 30-31 (Team 1 & 2) Field Outing III, Roped Travel Skills, overnight
June 2 Hazard Recognition & Avoidance, Glaciology
June 9 Prusik Practice, Team 1 Pack Check
June 11-14 Field Outing IV, Glacier Travel Skills (Team 1)
June 16 Weather & Team 2 Pack Check
June 18-21 Field Outing IV, Glacier Travel Skills (Team 2)
June 23
Course Completion Graduation Night


Header photo graciously donated by Stephen Matera Photography.