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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

Applications for our glacier course are accepted in February. Applicants that are selected will register in the first week of March.  Applicants not selected will be placed on a wait list.  There is a wait list every year.


The course costs $375. 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.

Course Status

The application window is now closed and applicants have been notified. Thank-you to all that applied!

2019 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 2019 schedule.
April 30
Introduction, Physical Conditioning
May 4 Field Outing I (Team 1), Team Building
May 5 Field Outing I (Team 2), Team Building
May 7 Gear I
May 14 Navigation with Map & Compass
May 18 Field Outing II (Team 1), Snow Travel Skills
May 19 Field Outing II (Team 2), Snow Travel Skills
May 21 Gear II
May 28 Roped Travel & Gear III
June 1-June 2 (Team 1 & 2) Field Outing III, Roped Travel Skills, overnight
June 4 Hazard Recognition & Avoidance, Glaciology
June 11 Prusik Practice, Team 1 Pack Check
June 13-16 Field Outing IV, Glacier Travel Skills (Team 1)
June 18 Weather & Team 2 Pack Check
June 20-23 Field Outing IV, Glacier Travel Skills (Team 2)
June 25
Course Completion Graduation Night


Header photo graciously donated by Stephen Matera Photography.