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HomeBackcountry Scramble Course
Backcountry Scramble Course
Do you want to adventure beyond the trail? Are you interested in wilderness navigation, route finding, and traveling to summits that are off the beaten path? Do you want to add snow travel and snow camping skills that will open up new outdoors opportunities?

The Bushwhacker Climbing Club’s Backcountry Scramble Course offers training in wilderness navigation, unroped travel across moderately exposed snow, ice axe skills, and snow camping. The course ends with a two-night climb of a classic Cascades routes.


The skills learned will help provide new opportunities for enjoyment and adventure in the mountains. While the course does not involve high angle or roped climbing, the outings and lessons will build a strong foundation of knowledge and conditioning that will be useful if you continue on with another climbing class.

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.
Applicants 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 members to hold off on new gear purchases until after the classroom discussions. Some gear can be rented, as well:
  • Mountaineering boots (may be rented; must be suitable for a 3-day snow outing)
  • Ice axe
  • Climbing helmet
  • Compass (simple base plate compass preferred)
  • Suitable outdoor clothing - no cotton
  • Overnight camping equipment & backpack (the club provide stoves & tents)

Snowshoes or crampons may be needed for the final outing depending on conditions. These can usually be borrowed or rented.

Cost of the Course

The cost of this course is $175.00. The course fee includes the course textbook and outing maps. Students are responsible for all other outing and equipment expenses.

Note that you must be a member of the club to take this course.

Status of the Course
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.
Dates of Course Schedule
Dates from the 2018 course are shown to provide an example of the course structure. The 2018 Backcountry Scramble Course included Wednesday night (7:30 - 9:30 pm) lectures from April 4-25 in Seattle. Specific outing locations were dependent on weather and conditions. Past 3-day climbs have included Mt. Saint Helens, Mt. Curtis Gilbert, Snow King, and others.
April 4
Introduction, Personal Gear Overview
April 7  Field Outing I Team Building & Intro to Navigation
April 11 Navigation
April 14  Field Outing II Snow Travel Skills & Navigation 
April 18 Overnight Gear & Snow Camping
April 25 Pack Check & Outing Logistics
April 27-29    Field Outing III Snow Camping & Summit Climb

Unless otherwise excused by the instructors, attendance at all lectures and both one-day outings is required for participation in the three day outing.

Header photo graciously donated by Stephen Matera Photography.