Alpine Scrambling Course

Alpine Scrambling Course (ASC) 2015

Enrollment Opens March 1st

Lecture Dates and Location:

The course consists of two evening lectures, and four field days.

Student Meeting #1:      Thu, May 21      Location: CMC Conference Room A&B      Time: 7pm – 9:30pm

Student Meeting #2:      Thu, May 28      Location: CMC Conference Room A&B      Time: 7pm – 9:30pm

Attendance at both lectures is a prerequisite to participate in the field days. Within the current session there is no provision to make-up a missed lecture so please ensure you are available for these dates.

Field Days:

Student Field Day 1: Sat, May 30  Location: TBD Time: 6am – 6pm

Student Field Day 2-4: TBD by instructor teams Time: 6am – 6pm    

End of Session: Mon, Aug 31 all team field days will be completed

Attendance at the first field day is a prerequisite to participate in the subsequent field days.

The ASC field days would typically be rated at the C hiking classification level, but some may be in the D classification range. The C classified trips can be up to 15 miles roundtrip and/or up to 3,500 feet in elevation gain. D trips can be over 15 miles roundtrip and/or over 3,500 feet in elevation gain.


  • Course Tuition:  $115
  • Non-Denver Group Member Tuition:  $135

Required Equipment: 

  • Ice axe with waist leash – $80
  • Adjustable Helmet – $60
  • Seat harness – $60
  • Locking carabineers – $21
  • Webbing and accessory cord – $14
  • Reference book:  Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills by The Mountaineers – $30 (at REI)
  • Text book:  A Hiker’s Guide to Scrambling Safely by Tom Morin - available at no add’l cost from the CMC Office once accepted into Course
  • Guide book:  Colorado Scrambles by Dave Cooper – $21 (at the CMC office

The technical equipment will be discussed during the first student meeting so please refrain from buying until after.


  • CMC Wilderness Trekking School; Backpacking School or waiver
  • Denver Group C hiking classification
  • Ice axe practice during the WTS/BKPS snow field day
  • Good physical condition
  • Age 14 and older

Course Overview

Alpine scrambling is a form of mountaineering that primarily involves off-trail travel. Off-trail travel can consist of steep rock, loose rock, loose talus, scree, low angle snow, stream crossings, and bushwhacking; sometimes all on one trip.

Since most Colorado summits are accessible by scramble routes, the skills acquired in this course will provide the means to reach the summits of the Colorado 14ers as well as hundreds of other peaks. The Alpine Scrambling Course is a great choice for those interested in climbing semi-technical routes.

While much of the enjoyment of scrambling is freedom from technical gear and complicated rock climbing techniques, unroped scrambling in exposed situations is potentially one of the more dangerous aspects of mountaineering. For this reason, education and training specific to scrambling is important for safe and confident climbing.

The ASC student will practice elementary emergency techniques in preparation for the more challenging scrambles. An initial review of ice axe self-arrest, the fit and usage of the emergency seat harness, as well as fit and usage of helmets will all provide for a more confident and safe environment.

Leaders of scrambling trips will carry a rope and some protection gear for the harder scrambles. The technical gear may be used for security on exposed sections, or to facilitate a safer retreat in case of difficulty. Sustained use of the technical gear is not taught in this course. ASC students need to be comfortable, or plan on getting comfortable, with exposure since that is a significant aspect of scrambling.

Although many find the ASC a comfortable bridge between WTS/BKPS and the Basic Mountaineering School, others find the ASC an end in itself. For those with modest goals and aspirations, the ASC will provide a rewarding experience. For those with more lofty ambitions, the ASC will add skills, confidence, and conditioning in anticipation of moving up to BMS.

Learn More

You may consider the following sources of information beneficial:

For additional information, please contact the ASC Director, Rich McAdams: (preferred)
Home and mobile: 303.697.6344

1-Ascending 2-Crossing Snowfield 3-Summit Success 4-Descending



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