Seven Summits Training Course

Overview

Denali from the southwest.

Denali from the southwest.
Alasdair Turner

The Seven Summits draw a special breed of climber.  More than fifteen years after the publication of “Into Thin Air” in 1996, high-altitude climbing in general and the Seven Summits in particular have only gained greater appeal. The popularity of the Seven has led to improved access and services for climbers, but it has also led to problems.  Too many climbers take shortcuts in their preparation, compromising both enjoyment and safety.

The Seven Summits present a wide range of significant climbing challenges. Sometimes slighted by specialists as “walk-ups”, in reality they include summits that require a solid skill base in rock, ice, and snow climbing, in addition to outstanding endurance and altitude tolerance.  Especially since the move to replace Mount Kosciusko in Australia with New Guinea’s Carstensz Pyramid on the main summit list, the project has come to be accepted as a considerable achievement by the climbing elite. 

Skill Training Required for the Seven Summits

To complete the Seven, a climber must have skill training in all the major sub-disciplines of climbing with the sole exception of steep waterfall ice. These skills include:

  • General mountaineering skills such as ice-axe use and self-arrest, French crampon technique, and glacier travel practices
  • Alpine rock climbing and ice climbing at a moderate difficulty level
  • High-altitude and cold-weather mountaineering, camp fortification, and use of ladders and fixed lines.

AAI's Seven Summits Program comprises three distinct components that can be taken consecutively in a single 20 day course or broken into two or more phases, according to your needs. Please contact our office at 360-671-1505 to receive counseling on the best plan of action for you.

Seven Summits Training Course

Training Phases

Phase 1:  Introduction to Mountaineering - Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, and Aconcagua

Based on our Introduction to Alpinism course plus a custom day of instruction and assessment with a private guide, this course provides a foundation of technical skills and knowledge that you will need on every mountain that you climb. While Kilimanjaro, Elbrus, and Aconcagua are all considered "non-technical" mountains, conditions on the latter two peaks require baseline mountaineering skills that should be fully ingrained before beginning the climbs. Most climbers will do well on these peaks after taking our introductory course.

Click on the "Dates and Locations" Tab, above, for specific trips.

Phase 2:  Cold Weather Expeditions - Denali and Vinson

Descending from basecamp on Aconcagua.

Descending from basecamp on Aconcagua.  Jim Ledvinca

Based on our Denali Prep course plus an optional custom day with a private guide, this course will prepare you for cold weather expeditionary climbing. Many of the specific expedition skills, such as how to fortify a camp or how to ascend fixed lines on the ice, are covered in this class.

Many climbers need additional training to prepare for their ascents of Denali and Vinson. While we screen candidates for these expeditions on an individual basis, we sometimes suggest that climbers develop their skills on one of our Skills Expeditions, or do additional climbing with us on a private basis.

Click on the "Dates and Locations" Tab, above, for specific trips.

Phase 3:  Alpine Rock Climbing and 8000-Meter Peaks - Carstensz Pyramid and Mt. Everest

The third phase of the Seven Summits program is the most involved. Carstensz Pyramid is a technical rock climb at altitude; Mt. Everest, because of its extreme height and massive ice falls, requires specialized skills not typically needed on any of the other peaks. To train for this phase, we put our climbers through our Alpinism 2 curriculum, plus an optional additional custom day of private instruction to cover use of ladders, altitude medication, and supplemental oxygen. 

Some climbers choose to combine the Phase 1 and Phase 3 training in a single 12-day Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership (AMTL) course.  This is an excellent option for those who anticipate doing additional independent climbing along the way to completing the Seven Summits goal.

A further option available to climbers is to train for these higher end climbs on a private basis.  Routes such as the East Buttress of Mount Whitney (14,505 ft., 5.7, III) provide good training for Carstensz. Preparation for Mt. Everest on a smaller 8,000 meter peak, such as Cho Oyu, is often recommended.

Click on the "Dates and Locations" Tab, above, for specific trips.

 

 

Seven Summits Training Course

Dates and Locations

Phase 1: General Mountaineering Training

Mt. Baker, Washington

Add 1 day on either end of dates shown for custom day of private training and equipment consultation:

  • Apr 30 - May 5, 2018 
  • May 6 - May 11, 2018
  • May 13 - May 18, 2018
  • May 20 - May 25, 2018
  • May 28 - Jun 2, 2018
  • Jun 3 - Jun 8, 2018
  • Jun 11 - Jun 16, 2018
  • Jun 17 - Jun 22, 2018
  • Jun 25 - Jun 30, 2018
  • Jul 1 - Jul 6, 2018
  • Jul 9 - Jul 14, 2018
  • Jul 15 - Jul 20, 2018
  • Jul 23 - Jul 28, 2018
  • Jul 29 - Aug 3, 2018
  • Aug 6 - Aug 11, 2018
  • Aug 12 - Aug 17, 2018
  • Aug 20 - Aug 25, 2018
  • Aug 26 - Aug 31, 2018
  • Sep 3 - Sep 8, 2018
  • Sep 9 - Sep 14, 2018
  • Sep 17 - Sep 22, 2018
  • Sep 23 - Sep 28, 2018

 

Phase 2: Cold Weather Expedition Training

Mt. Baker, Washington and Mount Rainier, Washington

Add 1 day on either end of dates shown for custom day of private training and equipment consultation:

  • January 29 - February 3, 2018
  • February 19 - February 24, 2018
  • March 5 - March 10, 2018
  • April 16 - April 21, 2018

 

Phase 3: Alpine Rock and 8,000 Meter Training

2018 Dates coming soon!

North Cascades, Washington

Add 1 day on either end of dates shown for custom day of private training and equipment consultation:

  • May 6 - May 11, 2018
  • May 19 - May 24, 2018
  • Jun 3 - Jun 8, 2018
  • Jun 17 - Jun 22, 2018
  • Jul 1 - Jul 6, 2018
  • Jul 15 - Jul 20, 2018
  • Jul 29 - Aug 3, 2018
  • Aug 12 - Aug 17, 2018
  • Aug 26 - Aug 31, 2018
  • Sep 9 - Sep 14, 2018

 

These courses are also offered in the Sierra Nevada, California on a private basis. Please contact our office at 360-671-1505 (Toll Free: 1-800-424-2249) or email: info@alpineinstitute.com to arrange custom dates and locations for the Seven Summits Training Course.

Seven Summits Training Course

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