Introduction to Ski and Splitboard Mountaineering 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 participants who are unvaccinated may be asked to provide their own transportation while the COVID pandemic continues. Overview
The Introduction to Ski & Splitboard Mountaineering is designed for people who have little to moderate experience in outdoor rock/alpine climbing and backcountry ski touring or splitboarding. The objective of this course is to give participants an opportunity to learn the basic fundamentals of ski and splitboard mountaineering, which combines the basics of alpine rock climbing with backcountry riding.
The course begins with the basics of rock climbing in Mazama, Washington, where we will go over skills on how to belay, rappel, and climb multi-pitch alpine routes in a safe environment within your comfort zone. This is followed by a day of backcountry splitboarding and/or skiing practice in Washington Pass. Once these skill areas have been introduced, the course will peak with a classic alpine rock ascent on the granite spires and peaks around Washington Pass. Climbers will use a ski or split-board touring set-up to approach the climbing route, then switch to climbing mode. A rock climb to the summit will be followed by an exciting rappel off and ski/snowboard out.
The climbs we attempt typically include one or two of the following:
South Early Winter Spire, South Arete
South Early Winter Spire, Southwest Couloir
Liberty Bell, the Beckey Route
Silver Star Mountain from Burgundy Col
Join this course for excellent, intensive skills development, a diverse and beautiful alpine climbing experience, and an exhilarating opportunity to combine the skills of rock climbing and skiing/snowboarding all in one trip! Introduction to Ski and Splitboard Mountaineering Course Objectives
Introduction to equipment: design, care, use, and selection
Knots and tie-ins
Hand and foot positions for easy to moderate climbing routes
Introduction to anchors and belays
Development of full repertoire of free climbing technique for moderate ground
Splitboard/Ski Touring Skills:
Design concepts, selection and use of personal and technical equipment for rock climbing and splitboarding/ski touring such as ropes, harnesses, skins, crampons, axes, belay devices, etc. Basic backcountry travel tips
Uphill switchbacking techniques and tips
Packs, transceivers, shovels, probes equipment overview
Map and compass overview
Belaying techniques on rock & snow
The concept and application of the self-belay and self arrest while touring and skiing/snowboarding
Free climbing technique on rock & snow
Rappelling from rock and snow
Safety, speed & efficiency in the mountains
Introduction to Ski and Splitboard Mountaineering Itinerary
Day 1: On day one this course, participants will learn or develop skills on how to belay, rappel, and rock climb in a safe environment within their comfort zone. Instruction begins with an introduction to the design, use, and care of climbing equipment and continues with procedures required for safe, belayed climbing and rappelling. Then working from fundamentals on balance and posture we introduce hand, foot, and body positions to begin developing a complete repertoire of roped free climbing techniques for each climber.
Day 2: We spend the first part of our morning reviewing backcountry travel techniques and transceiver use before stepping onto our boards and selecting terrain as we explore some low risk areas to practice transitions and efficiency. Uphill track setting will take up the middle of the day with emphasis on terrain selection, mastering tricky switchback moves, proper use of skins, and ski crampons. We will go over setting snow anchors and belaying and rappelling on snow.
Day 3 & 4: On day 3 and 4 we will pick an objective, combining the skills learned in the previous two days we will approach on skis/splitboard to the base of either the Liberty Bell, South Early Winter Spire or Silver Star. Once we reach the base we will drop our touring gear and rack up for the climb. The climbs vary from a couple pitches of alpine 5.6 to about 1,000 +/- foot rocky scramble. After summiting we will rappel off and ski/snowboard back down.
Introduction to Ski and Splitboard Mountaineering Dates & Details
Dates: Contingent upon Hwy-20's annual opening date, typically after the beginning of May. Call for availability.
Max Ratio: 3:1, maximum 6:2 (Climber:Guide) (Min. 2 Participants)
Overnight backpacking experience
Intermediate to advanced in-bounds skiing or snowboarding experience
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.
Introduction to Ski and Splitboard Mountaineering Related Courses
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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
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