Alpinism 2 - Intermediate Mountaineering

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This program is designed for climbers who have participated in an introductory level mountaineering course or who have a similar level of skill and climbing experience. In this program you will review and refresh those glacier and alpine rock skills and advance your climbing to the next level. Based around a series of ascents of American mountaineering classics, this program is the perfect follow-up for climbers who have completed AAI's Alpinism 1 - Intro to Mountaineering. It includes three days on alpine rock and three on glacier routes.

Eldorado Peak is a classic in the heart of the North Cascades. Dylan Taylor

The summit of Eldorado Peak is a classic snow ridge with stunning exposure. Dylan Taylor

To qualify for the course, you need to have a few days of rock climbing under your belt plus previous experience with the basics of self-arrest, cramponing, crevasse rescue, and glacier travel. We review those skills briefly and then build on them in order to help you move confidently to the intermediate level of alpine climbing.

This program constitutes the second half of AAI's Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership Part 1 (AMTL). If you have successfully completed the Institute's course titled Alpinism 1, you will receive a $150 tuition waiver on this program. When you successfully complete this course, you will receive certification in AMTL Level 1, and satisfy prerequisites for AMTL Part 2

Alpinism 2 - Intermediate Mountaineering


For the first day of the alpine rock section of this program, we use an easily accessible cragging area just east of the Cascade crest. We work on anchors, belaying, and free climbing technique, and during this day you will also refresh your knowledge and develop more advanced skills with knots, building and equalizing anchors, and managing the rope. 

On our second and third days, we apply those skills to multi-pitch routes on Liberty Bell and South Early Winter Spire, both above Washington Pass, the Cascade's premier alpine rock climbing area. During these multi-pitch climbs, your guide will continue to evaluate your climbing technique and help you refine it as you become steadily more comfortable with challenging ground and exposure.

On a snowfield adjoining the Inspiration Glacier, Eldorado Peak, North Cascades

On a snowfield adjoining the Inspiration Glacier, Eldorado Peak, North Cascades.
AAI Collection

We then shift to a different part of the North Cascades for an ascent of a major glaciated peak, most commonly Mt. Shuksan, Sahale Peak, or Eldorado Peak. The routes we climb offer excellent snow and ice climbing, and these peaks are among the most beautiful glaciated mountains in North America.

In addition to reviewing skills, throughout this program your guide will help you advance your technique and complete your repertoire of skills for intermediate level mountaineering and ascents. Additionally, we will involve you with route finding and terrain assessment with the goal of helping you further develop good mountaineering judgment. As in all AAI programs, we will also thoroughly cover Leave No Trace skills so that you can minimize or eliminate impacts on the environment whenever you camp and climb.

In sum, by the time you have completed the classic ascents in this program, you will have become a climber who is more highly skilled, a better judge of hazards, and adept at applying LNT techniques in a variety of mountain environments. You'll also have climbed some of the most beautiful peaks on the continent.

It is important to note that the skills review is not the heart of an Alpinism 2. Time is spent on the following, but it is brief, as new skills are the focus of the program.

The Skills Review & Training Includes:

  • Map, compass, altimeter, and GPS use
  • Self-arrest from all positions
  • Belaying techniques on rock, snow, & ice
  • Rappelling in complex terrains
  • Principal ice axe positions
  • Cramponing techniques


Alpinism 2 - Intermediate Mountaineering


Max Ratio - Days 1-3, 3:1; Days 4-6, 5:1 (Climber:Guide)

Capacity - 10



  • Overnight backpacking experience
  • Ability to cook for yourself on a backpacking stove
  • Familiarity with the basics of rock climbing
  • Previous experience with self-arresting, cramponing, crevasse rescue, and glacier travel


Cost Inclusions and Exclusions

Inclusions: Included in the course cost is group technical climbing equipment (personal climbing equipment is available for rent at a nominal charge), transportation to the climbing areas from AAI headquarters, all permits and camping fees, and the guide fee.

Exclusions: Not included in the course cost is all personal clothing and climbing gear (including crampons, ice axe, harness, helmet, tent, etc), gratuities to guide, meals while on the course, or travel insurance.

Alpinism 2 - Intermediate Mountaineering



  • May 03 - May 08, 2020 - Postponed COVID-19
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Alpinism 2 - Intermediate Mountaineering

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