Olympia Mountaineer courses will take you higher

Staff reportJanuary 12, 2014 

Registration is open for people interested in taking a series of climbing courses offered this month by the Olympia Mountaineers.

The courses begin with an introductory wilderness skills class designed to prepare people for hiking on trails anywhere in the Northwest. It provides information and hands-on experience with 20-plus topics considered important for safe adventures, class organizers said in a news release.

The course consists of one evening session Jan. 21 and two full-day sessions Jan. 25 and Feb. 1. The cost is $25 for Mountaineer members, $50 for nonmembers, and $60 for a family of four ($90 for nonmember families). The first session will take place from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House, 3201 Boston Harbor Road, Olympia.

The wilderness skills course is a prerequisite for the basic climbing and Alpine scrambling courses.

Alpine scrambling is a form of mountaineering where roping up is not necessary, falling between high-altitude hiking and rock climbing. Scrambling involves off-trail travel, often over rock, snow or brush, to mountain summits. Many, if not most Northwest summits are accessible by scramble routes, including Mount Adams. The course consists of five lectures and five field trips. The cost is $150 and includes the wilderness skills course. The scramble classes run February-May.

Basic climbing is a one- to two-year course in the basics of technical rock, snow and glacier climbing. Students learn skills necessary to climb prominent peaks, including mounts Rainier, Baker, Hood and others. The course consists of five lectures and nine field trips. The cost is $250 and includes the wilderness skills course. Climbing classes begin in February.

“The basic climbing course requires a substantial commitment of time, effort, and energy,” Bob Keranen, course leader, said in the release. “However, it can be a major life-changing event. It introduces you to many high adventure pursuits in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest where you will gain valuable outdoor skills and can make lifelong friends.”

Complete information on all of the courses, including dates, costs, contact information and course requirements, is available at olympiamountaineers.org.

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