Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership, Part 1 COVID-19 UPDATE: AAI is open and operating with new policies and procedures for COVID-19. Click the following links to learn more about AAI's COVID-19 Operating Plans and cancellation policy. Note that AAI requires proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for all trips at least through September 30, 2022. Overview
AAI's four-part mountain leadership program has been called "the country's most respected and thorough rock and mountaineering course," by Men's Journal. It has four, 12-day segments, and you can choose to take one, two, three, or all four. Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership (AMTL) Part 1 provides a comprehensive introduction to all the skills of alpine mountaineering, general team leadership, and leading rope teams on glaciers.
AMTL Part 2 develops techniques for leading multi-pitch rock routes while further advancing technical and evaluative skills on snow, ice, and rock. AMTL Part 3 allows you to continue to develop your technical leadership skills while providing an opportunity to focus those skills on one of three areas. AMTL Part 4 is an expedition in which all of the skills developed are employed in a remote and complex big mountain setting.
John Grace on Vimeo.
After completing AMTL Part 1, you may chose to continue with the next program segments in order to rapidly develop well-rounded technical leadership skills. But you also have the choice of joining a climbing trip or expedition in the US or abroad or joining one of our shorter follow-up programs such as our
4-day Learn to Lead, 6-day Alpine Ice, 6-day Denali Prep, or others. We can advise you on your best options in light of your interests and future climbing goals.
This program has been described by National Accreditation reviewers as "the most practical and complete course devoted to technical mountain leadership offered in America."
Take one or all four parts of this course: 12, 24, 36, or 48 days
Take the course in one year or over the course of two, three or four years.
Complete all four parts and receive certification in Alpine Mountaineering Leadership.
Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership, Part 1 Curriculum & Structure
AMTL Part 1 - Comprehensive Skills & Intro to Leadership
In this first 12-day program, we help you develop a very complete set of alpine climbing skills for rock, snow, and ice, from the basics on up, and as we progress through each set of skills, we will provide you with a lot of enjoyable practice climbing so you can master each technique. You will learn route finding and hazard assessment skills as well as self-rescue. Through the course you will make a series of classic alpine ascents on rock routes and on major glaciers, and you and your fellow team members will lead the final climb as you apply all the climbing and leadership skills learned during the program.
Climbing steep snow on the N. Ridge of Mt. Baker. Jason Martin
We place as much emphasis on good mountain judgment as we do on the development of technical skills, and throughout this course we'll be helping you observe and analyze climbing routes, terrain features, and hazards so that by the end of the program you will have developed the ability to lead a small team safely through a rugged and complex environment and rope teams on basic and intermediate alpine routes. The climbs we make typically include four or five of the following: Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, Glacier Peak, Cutthroat Peak, South Early Winter Spire, Liberty Bell, and Silver Star. Join this course for excellent skills development, diverse and beautiful alpine climbing experience, and preparation for leading your own alpine climbing teams.
Alpine Travel & Climbing Skills
Selection & use of personal equipment as well as ropes, knots, & harnesses
Design concepts, selection, & use of technical equipment for rock, snow, & ice climbing
The uses of map, compass, altimeter, and GPS
Principles of glacier travel & route finding
Belaying techniques on rock, snow, & ice
The concept and application of the self-belay
Self-arrest from all positions
Free climbing technique on rock, snow, & ice
French, German, and American cramponing techniques
Interrelationship, choice between, & application of all principal ice axe positions
Rappelling & prusiking
Glissading for speed & ease of descent
Objective Hazards Evaluation & Self-Rescue Skills
Evaluation & prediction of mountain weather patterns
Introduction to the assessment of natural hazards
Individual & team
crevasse rescue techniques
Technical & personal functions of individuals in the rope team; role and responsibility
Problem solving: gathering appropriate data & assessment techniques
Evolving leadership roles: individual leadership vs. collective decision making
Environmental Protection Skills
An introduction to alpine ecology
Leave No Trace travel, camping, & climbing skills
An AAI group approaches their Mt. Baker basecamp through a vast wonderland of alpine wilderness.
Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership, Part 1 Dates & Details
April 24 - May 5, 2023
May 8 - May 19, 2023
May 22 - June 2, 2023 -
One Spot Left! June 5 - June 16, 2023
June 19 - June 30, 2023
July 3 - July 14, 2023
July 17 - July 28, 2023
July 31 - Aug 11, 2023
Aug 14 - Aug 25, 2023
Aug 28 - Sep 8, 2023
Sep 11 - Sep 22, 2023
*If you are looking to take an AMTL 1 course and your chosen dates are full, consider taking the
6 day Alpinism 1 and 6 day Alpinism 2 back to back or at different times throughout the season. The curriculum is exactly the same, the courses are just split, allowing for flexibility.*
Note: If you choose the above method keep in mind you will be responsible for providing your own accommodation the day or days between the Alpinism 1 and Alpinism 2.
Max Ratio - 5:1 (Climber:Guide)
Capacity - 10
Good physical fitness, including
Ability to carry a 45 - 55 lb backpack for multiple hours
Stamina to hike for over 8 hours (including breaks, and with lesser pack weight)
Ability to cook for yourself on a backpacking stove
Overnight backpacking experience
Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership, Part 1 Testimonials
"The 4-part course was just what we were looking for: a systematic way to learn how to lead on rock and glaciers, starting from minimal experience on those media. By going through the course, we now have a whole new dimension to explore on our backcountry trips." Myron and Adele, Laramie, WY
"This course is one of the best things I've ever done. The course is amazing. It's basically like living, instead of reading Freedom of the Hills. It is a tremendous base to build a climbing career on, not to mention you'll get to climb some beautiful peaks. It changed my life. I'm telling my friends they have to do it!"
Denise Lambright, St. Louis
Mt. Shuksan, one of the most photographed peaks in the Cascades and a common objective for the AMTL 1 Course. Rick Kaiser
"My guide met and exceeded every expectation I had. The combination of his knowledge, skills, teaching ability, and personality were more than I would have dared to hope for."
Rob Lindner, Ashford, WA
"The guides were excellent! No time was wasted - and they took every opportunity to teach us something new. They also took the time to get to know us well and conformed the course to our abilities and desires"
Deanna Yurchuck, New York, NY
"I enjoyed the curriculum because I thought it started out where I was at, but it didn't move too slowly."
Chris Petersen, Dallas, TX
I chose AAI because they were the most interactive when trying to determine which company to use. They answered all of my emails and phone calls, and worked with me to find a course that suited my needs. They also offered the most skills focused course that fostered independence in the mountains, opposed to simply offering a service to take me up and down a mountain." Rory Brown, Newbury, MA
Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership, Part 1 Related Courses
United States - Alaska
United States - Washington
United States - California
United States - Nevada
United States - Colorado
United States - Utah
Canada - British Columbia
South America - Argentina
South America - Bolivia
South America - Ecuador
South America - Patagonia
South America - Peru
Europe - Alps and Caucasus
Asia - Nepal and Tibet
Asia - China
Asia - Japan
Africa - Tanzania
Pacific and Antarctica
By Program Type
Group Summit Climbs
Private Guided Programs
Treks, Tours, & Backpacking
Corporate Outings & Services
Government & Military
Trekking and Backpacking
Skiing & Snowboarding
Guide Training & Rescue