The Olympia Mountaineers

2015 Alpine Scrambling Course

Chair: Tom Eckhout (360) 556-9898
Co-Chair: Todd Mooney (360) 438-9682

On-line for Alpine Scrambling

Course: Alpine scrambling is non-technical climbing that involves off-trail travel, often over rock, snow or brush, to mountain summits. Many, if not most, Northwest summits are accessible by scramble routes. Alpine scrambling is a form of mountaineering that falls somewhere between high altitude hiking and rock climbing. Ropes and other aids typically are not needed. A competent scrambler is in good physical condition; can navigate in the backcountry; can select the proper food, clothing and equipment for a scramble route for the current season; knows and can use the ten essentials; recognizes and can avoid mountain hazards; practices wilderness ethics; and is proficient in snow and rock travel, self-arrest and other basic mountaineering skills.

Modular Format: Olympia’s Alpine Scrambling Course is organized into three modules: Wilderness Skills, Snow Scrambling and Rock Scrambling. To complete the Alpine Scrambling Course a student must complete all three modules, the Mountaineering Oriented First Aid (MOFA) Course, a one-day conservation or trail maintenance project and complete three experience scrambles, including one conditioner one snow scramble and one rock scramble. Students have two years to complete the course requirements.

Wilderness Skills: See the course description listed separately. Equivalency for Wilderness Skills may be granted to people with backcountry experience who have previously learned this material and can demonstrate these skills. For information about equivalency contact the course chair.

Snow Scrambling: This module teaches safe snow traveling skills including ice ax use, self-arrest, glissade and avalanche awareness. The module comprises one lecture and two field trips.

Rock Scrambling: This module teaches basic rock scrambling techniques, route finding and hazard avoidance. The module includes two lecture nights and two field trips.

Prerequisites: Course participants must be at least 14 years old. Those under 18 must have written parental or guardian consent, a successful interview with the Alpine Scrambling Chairperson, and bring a Medical Treatment Consent Form along on every Mountaineers scramble.

Cost (including January Wilderness Skills and Navigation): $150 member

Wilderness Skills Schedule:

Students who have completed Wilderness Skills in a prior year are not required to attend these lectures.

Jan. 27 - TuesdayLecture 1 6:30-9:30 - Friends Meeting House
Jan. 31 - SaturdayLecture 2 7:30-5:00 - Friends Meeting House
Feb. 7 - SaturdayOutdoor Workshop 7:30-5:00 - Friends Meeting House

Navigation Schedule:

Students who have completed the Navigation Course in a prior year are not required to attend these lectures or field trip.

Apr. 14 - Tuesday Lecture: Basic Map & Compass Navigation Thurston County Realtors Association
Apr. 16 - Thursday Lecture: Basic UTM Navigation Thurston County Realtors Association
Apr. 19 - Sunday Field Trip: Navigation Kennedy Creek

Alpine Scrambling Schedule:

Feb. 17 - Tuesday Lecture: Introduction to Scrambling Columbian Hall
Feb. 21 - Saturday Basic Skills workshop Michael T. Simmons Elementary
Mar. 10 - Tuesday Lecture: Snow Travel Columbian Hall
Mar. 17 - Tuesday Lecture: Avalanche Awareness Columbian Hall
Mar. 21 - Saturday Field Trip: Snow I
(will reschedule if necessary)
Mt. Rainier - Paradise
Apr. 25 - Saturday Field Trip: Snow II
(will reschedule if necessary)
Mt. Rainier - Paradise
May 27 - Wednesday Lecture: Rock Scrambling Thurston County Realtors Association
May 30 - Saturday Field Trip: Rock
(will reschedule if necessary)
McCleary Cliffs

Scrambling up Foss Peak
(photo by Toby Syrett)

Time: Lectures start promptly at 6:30 p.m.


Graduation Requirements (to be completed within two years of course enrollment):

  1. Be a current Mountaineer in good standing
  2. Completion of the Wilderness Skills Course
  3. Completion of the Navigation Course
  4. Attend and complete all lectures and field trips
  5. Completion (reach the summit) of three official club experience scrambles: one conditioner, one rock, and one snow scramble. Official club scrambles are club sponsored with an approved scramble leader.
  6. Completion of Mountaineering Oriented First Aid (MOFA)
  7. Completion of a Stewardship Project (a day of service for the environment)
  8. Submission of an Application for Graduation, with copies of MOFA and Stewardship Project Record, to the Alpine Scrambling Committee.