Learn mountaineering skills in upcoming courses

There are a multitude of climbing opportunities within easy reach of the South Sound. From the top of 14,411-foot Mount Rainier, to the seemingly countless peaks of the North Cascades and Olympics, there are plenty of places to test one’s mettle while climbing.

To help people get started, or refresh their skills, the Olympia Mountaineers will offer its mountaineering course later this month.

The courses begin Jan. 27 with a wilderness skills class from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at the Friends Meeting House, 3201 Boston Harbor Road, Olympia.

This course is designed to prepare outdoor enthusiasts for hiking with a group or independently leading a hike in the forest, mountains and trails of the Pacific Northwest. It gives participants information and hands-on experience with the top 20-plus topics considered important for safe adventures.

The course includes the evening session Jan. 27, and two full-day sessions Jan. 31 and Feb. 7. The cost is $30 for Mountaineer members and $60 for nonmembers, with special rates for families.

The skills course also is a prerequisite for the basic climbing and alpine scrambling courses.

Alpine scrambling is a form of mountaineering that falls somewhere between high-altitude hiking and rock climbing, where roping up is not necessary. It 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.

This course includes five lectures and five field trips, beginning in February. Students have up to two years to complete the course.

Basic climbing is a one- to two-year course of instruction in the basics of technical rock, snow and glacier climbing. Students will learns skills necessary to climb prominent peaks, including mounts Rainier, Baker and Hood.

The course involves five lectures and nine field trips, beginning in February.

Complete information on all of the courses, including dates, fees, contact information and course requirements, is available at olympiamountaineers.org. You also can register online, or the night of the first class beginning at 5:30 p.m.