Mountain School General Info


TUITION - $ 325




COURSE DURATION - Feb 23 through late May, 2022


TEXT - Mountaineering: The Freedom of The Hills, 9th edition




Questions? Contact the School Directors, Jack Cornish and Erin Good.


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Mountain School 2022

2016 Graduation Climb, Mount Hood
The challenge of mountaineering offers you a chance to learn about yourself by venturing beyond the confines of the modern world and to forge lifetime bonds with climbing partners. ~Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition

*Application period opened November 29th, 2021 and closes January 31, 2022.

Mountain School 2022 Directors: 

Jack Cornish,
Erin Good,


Mountain School is an introduction to general mountaineering. Snow/glacier travel, crevasse rescue, rock climbing, navigation, weather, first aid, and trip planning are just a few of the topics that will be covered during the 14 week long school. Mountain School is offered once each year running from February through Memorial Day.

Climbing and mountaineering, by their nature, involve a wide variety of risks and rewards. The goal of this course is to provide safe and competent instruction to the participants. This is achieved by the participation of past students and instructors working hand in hand with special guests and the Directors of the school. The best and the most experienced climbing instructors in the club will share their knowledge and skills with students to help them become competent, safe, and efficient in the mountains. Students will enjoy personal and experiential rewards as they become more aware and skilled in climbing and mountaineering.

Mountain School is a time intensive course, not unlike taking a college-level course, and requires a high level of student commitment and participation in order to graduate. Classroom sessions will be held weekly on Wednesday night and will consist of both online classes and in-person classes. Outdoor sessions are held weekly on Saturdays, including three overnight trips from Saturday to Sunday. The bulk of the learning will take place outdoors on local mountains and rock climbing areas, and the graduation climb will take place in Canada. We will practice our skills over snow, ice, and glaciers and learn to climb vertical rock.


A solid foundation in backpacking is required for Mountain School, but no rock climbing experience is required. If you have limited outdoor experience or are new to backpacking, we recommend you enroll in  Backpack School, offered by the Spokane Mountaineers in the spring. For Mountain School, it is necessary to be in excellent physical and mental condition in order to participate safely and successfully in our outdoor sessions. The course promotes regular exercise. Group training activities will be organized and encouraged for students to get accustomed to the physical effort needed in the mountains. If you are not already participating in some form of regular exercise, start building an endurance base now. Your level of conditioning will not only affect your progress and success, but it will also impact the group as a whole, as students will be working in teams throughout the course.
Mountaineering is an inherently dangerous sport. Students will encounter situations that are uncomfortable both physically and mentally that will test your abilities. As Directors and Instructors, we will help teach, mentor, and guide you in safely pushing those boundaries. 


Tuition for Mountain School, 2022 is $325, and includes:

  • Course text: Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 9th Edition
  • Over 120 hours of instruction: ~22 hours in the classroom and over 100 hours outdoors
  • Cord and webbing
  • Unique t-shirts
  • Electronic course reference materials
  • Access to experienced instructors and trained experts

 Prerequisites for Acceptance to Mountain School

Students wishing to enroll in Mountain School must:

  • Be a current member of the Spokane Mountaineers (membership must current as of the fist day of class)
  • Have a good foundation of backpacking and hiking skills
  • Have access to the needed personal climbing equipment and clothing used for backpacking and mountaineering.
  • Be at least 15 years of age as of the first class meeting in February, and if under 18, provide a signed parental permission form (available from the Directors). If the student is under 18, then the parent of the student must also be actively involved, either as a student themselves, as an instructor, or active observer. Parent(s) of students under the age of 18 are required to attend the first class session and meet the Directors
  • Submit an online application before January 31st, 2022

Requirements to Excel in Mountain School

Students wishing to enroll in Mountain School must:

  • Possess adequate physical conditioning to move up and down steep terrain with a heavy pack at high altitudes for long periods at a time
  • Be mentally fit and aware of the broad scope and demanding requirements of mountaineering. Possess awareness of your physical and mental state and be able to communicate this to your teammates
  • Be willing to learn and participate and willing to assist others when you are able. Be community and team oriented

 In addition to general backpacking gear (backpack, tent, sleeping bag/ pad, stove, etc.), students will need to have basic climbing equipment including but not limited to a climbing harness, carabiners, helmet, ice axe, and crampons. Equipment will be covered during the first two weeks of the class and students should wait to purchase equipment until after those first classes. Please note mountaineering is not an inexpensive sport. It is common to find that you may have additional gear you need as you develop your craft. A detailed equipment list is available upon request, will be provided with your acceptance to the course, and included in the instructional packet at the first class.

The course starts on February 23, 2022, and finishes with a mountain climb over Memorial Day weekend which will take place in Canada. Classroom sessions will be held weekly on Wednesday nights (three classes will be held over Zoom, and six classes will meet in-person in the Spokane Valley area). Outdoor sessions are on Saturdays and are located around the Spokane/Cd’A area and will last all day. Three of the outdoor sessions will be overnight camping trips from Saturday to Sunday. More information and directions will be provided in the class syllabus at the start of class.

All outdoor sessions, including the graduation climb, will be limited to Mountain School students and instructors unless the Directors first approve attendance.

Participation in class activities is necessary to ensure the safety of yourself and your teammates. Frequent absences will affect your ability to participate in future class sessions and may lead to more severe consequences such as not being allowed to participate in the graduation climb or the remainder of the class. It is expected that any absences be communicated to the directors ahead of time.  
Attendance Requirements
  • Attend all overnight trips plus the final skills test. Absences at these outdoor sessions are not allowed except in very exceptional circumstances.all outdoor sessions and miss no more than two indoor sessions
  • No more than one excused absence for all other, non-overnight, sessions
  • No more than two excused absences from classroom/lecture sessions

Graduation Requirements

  • Meet the attendance requirements listed above
  • Pass both the practical skills exam and an online written exam
  • Participate in two approved climbs before November 2022. The first of these two climbs will be the Graduation Climb at the culmination of this school. This first climb will take place in Canada. The second climb will be planned by students. It is suggested that students work with other students in planning a second climb, with guidance from an instructor
  • Earn or show current First Aid certification. Note - This may be waived if a student possesses and  equivalent or greater certification such as WFR, WFA or you are a medical professional with the associated training
  • Participate in "a day of service" focused on outdoor conservation, such as trail maintenance or cleanup. This can be any volunteer activity associated with the outdoors or the environment and is intended to be flexible.

Application Process

Please fill out the online application at the link below. Please fill this out carefully and completely. The school directors will review applications and notify applicants of acceptance status by January 31, 2022. If you have been accepted to Mountain School, the email you receive will contain a PayPal link. This link will enable you to pay the $325 course tuition via credit card or a personal PayPal account. Payment is due before class starts.

Questions? Contact the Mountain School 2022 directors, Jack Cornish and Erin Good, at the email addresses listed at the top of this page.