This post is brought to you by our friends at Wild Zora, who make delicious meals-to-go. Their convenient, protein-packed snacks will keep you energized while you learn new skills at a mountaineering class. 

There’s a reason so many of life’s challenges are compared to climbing a mountain. To reach a peak with nothing but your own strength and willpower is an incredibly fulfilling accomplishment – and like so much in life, it’s a challenge that requires proper preparation and training.

It’s quite remarkable that the human spirit rarely sees the potentially impossible as completely unobtainable. We continue to push our limits. And like many adventurers before us, we continue to climb mountains.

For the most daring and experienced mountaineers, the sport of mountaineering involves reaching the top of the world’s most dangerous peaks. Each year, more and more people attempt to summit behemoths like Everest, K2, Rainier and Denali, in order to catch a glimpse of life on top of the world.

Like all sports, you don’t have to go so extreme to enjoy thrills and challenges. There are all levels of mountaineering, and a mountaineering class is the perfect way to get started.

Level Up with These Mountaineering Classes

Grab your ice axes and strap on your crampons, because these mountaineering classes are a little extreme, a lot of fun, and very worth it if you want to learn from the best.

1. Mountain Madness – Introduction to Mountaineering

Mountain Madness was founded in 1984 and shot into the spotlight thanks to Jon Krakaurer’s book, Into Thin Air, where he gives a firsthand account of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. One of the lives sadly lost during the disaster was Mountain Madness founder Scott Fischer. His legacy lives on through Mountain Madness as they still offer mountaineering classes and guided trips.

The Introduction to Mountaineering course takes place on Ruth Mountain, in the North Cascades of Washington. Over the course of two days, participants will learn the fundamentals of mountaineering which include: alpine climbing, ice axe and crampon use, and backcountry camping. Team rope management and crevasse navigation are also on the itinerary to ensure that future mountaineers are prepared for the many dangers found on climbs.

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2. Mazamas – Basic Climbing Education Program

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Travel south and you’ll find yourself near the Oregon-Washington border where Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams are all within reach. With the Basic Climbing Education Program (BCEP), the Mazamas focus on local mountains in the Pacific Northwest. This course is much more involved than most weekend courses, as it spans over two months. Eager beginners are expected to attend weekly lectures, field sessions, and conditioning hikes. Through these various activities, you learn the technical knowledge needed to summit some of the area’s great peaks. Mountaineering is not the only thing covered in BCEP, participants will also learn some useful rock climbing skills. The Mazamas also offer a Family Mountaineering 101 course and a Ski Mountaineering course.

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3. Colorado Mountain School – Intro to Mountaineering

Home to roughly 58 peaks that exceed 14,000 feet in elevation, Colorado is an ideal place to gain technical mountaineering experience. The Colorado Mountain School’s Intro to Mountaineering is a weekend long course that offers different skills depending on the time of year. In the winter, participants will focus more on navigating ice and snow, traveling with a roped team, using ice axes and crampons, and self arresting a fall. In the summer months, new mountaineers will learn rock climbing skills including belaying and rappelling. After your first day soaking up information, guides will take you into Rocky Mountain National Park to put your skills to the test.

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4. International Alpine Guides – Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue

Unlike the other classes on the list, this course is geared toward intermediate and advanced mountaineers. Taught in California, Mount Shasta Glacier and Crevasse Rescue offers mountaineers the chance to hone their technical skills and learn how rescue a fellow climber from a crevasse. Participants will spend their time learning on Hotlum Glacier on the north side of the mountain, and can expect remarkable challenges while crossing over numerous crevasses. If your goal is to summit a large glaciated peak, this is the course for you. In five days, you’ll push your limits and have a lot of fun.

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