Ice Climbing 201


A two-day advanced course geared towards those with previous ice climbing experience who are ready to take the next “mono point” step.  This second level course picks up where our Ice Climbing 101 course left off and covers the advanced waterfall ice climbing skills and techniques.

This course requires a minimum of 2 to run at the dates and prices listed and has a maximum 3:1 guiding ratio. We are happy to arrange this course or similar on a custom private basis. Click HERE for details and reservations.


Ice Climbing 201

photo: Ken Etzel

photo: Ken Etzel

Ice 201

This two day advanced course is geared toward those who have taken our Ice Climbing 101 course, or have previous ice climbing experience.  We’ll explore techniques used for climbing steeper, more difficult ice and the systems used for multi-pitch ice climbing. This class places an emphasis on the natural and artificial methods of ice protection, as well as the construction and evaluation of ice anchors.  This is a fun weekend with lots of opportunity for climbing and technical skills practice.

Topics Covered:

  • Steeper ice climbing
  • Technical rope skills for ice climbing
  • Multi-pitch climbing
  • Ice protection
  • Anchor building and evaluation
  • Leading on ice
TRIP ITINERARY: Ice Climbing 201*
photo: Ken Etzel

photo: Ken Etzel

Start with a skills assessment and review of ice climbing technique and efficiency. Target weaknesses and work on skills for climbing steep and sustained ice up to WI4-5. Advanced movement efficiency technique and thin ice technique. Introduction to mixed climbing.  Learn ice analysis and review ice screw placement, removal, and racking while climbing steep terrain. Learn to construct solid ice anchors for setting up topropes and multipitch climbs.  
multi-pitch ice climbing
Apply skills from Day 1 on a multi-pitch climb. Discuss commonly used rope systems, rope handling, and multi-pitch belay techniques. Icefall hazard management and belay stance management. Descending multi-pitch ice climbs by rappel. Construction and use of V-thread anchors, threads, and ice bollards. Instruction and coaching for learning to lead ice and finish with mock leading practice.
 * Please be prepared for Plan B:  Sierra Mountain weather does not care that you have scheduled an ice climbing weekend. It is always good to have a "plan B" when making deals with mountains. We highly recommend trip insurance that covers the possibility of road closures from Sierra storms affecting access to ice climbing. We do not cancel courses for inclement weather or other conditions that may limit or prevent ice climbing. Such conditions are extremely rare in our experience, but mountain weather and conditions can vary with little warning from way too warm to way too stormy in a matter of hours or days. Although we wish it was otherwise, we cannot control nature. Trip insurance may or may not cover circumstances where roads are still open but the risks of accessing ice climbing are still too great. Check this with any potential insurance provider. As for all of our guided mountain programs, we do not guarantee any itinerary exactly as suggested and we will not generally be able to cancel, reschedule, or refund your course fees beyond the terms of our deposit and cancellation policy. Without trip insurance, Plan B is that you will be entitled to these scheduled dates with our top-notch guides, who can offer you an alternative plan that may include: rock climbing (with climbing shoes and all other gear provided), "dry-tooling" skills training on rock with ice gear, other technical climbing skills training, technical rescue training, avalanche awareness training, or other guided mountain activities that may be of interest to the group as conditions allow. If major winter storms prevent ice climbing, and you are willing to add the costs of rentals, we may be able to arrange backcountry skiing or snowboarding with a guide, as the conditions could be excellent. Thank you for your understanding about these uncertainties, and welcome to the wonderful world of alpinism. This might just be the most important and useful lesson of your climbing course! 


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