Alpine Scrambling Course

Alpine Scrambling Course (ASC) 2014   

Lecture Dates and Location:

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

Student Meeting #1:      Thu, May 22      Location: CMC Conference Room A&B      Time: 7pm – 9:30pm

Student Meeting #2:      Thu, May 29      Location: CMC Conference Room A&B      Time: 7pm – 9:30pm

Field Days:

Student Field Day 1:       Sat, May 31       Location: TBD                                                       Time: 6am – 6pm

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

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

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 will be over 15 miles roundtrip and/or over to 3,500 feet in elevation gain.


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

Required Equipment: 

  • Ice axe – Loaners will be made available (first field day only)
  • Adjustable Helmet – $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

Optional Items:               

  • Guide book:  Colorado Scrambles by Dave Cooper – $21 (at the CMC office)
  • Seat harness – $60
  • Ice axe with waist leash – $60

All 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.  A review of ice axe self-arrest, the fit and usage of an 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 the various CMC hiking schools 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

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



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