Mountain School General Info


TUITION - $ 325




COURSE DURATION - Feb 24 through late May, 2021


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




Questions? Contact the School Directors, Marty Newell-Large or Jack Cornish.


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Mountain School 2021

2016 Graduation Climb, Mount Hood

*Mt School 2021 is full and has a waiting list. The 2022 application will open Fall 2021.


Mountain School 2021 Directors: 
  • Marty Newell-Large:
  • Jack Cornish:

Mountain School is an introduction to mountaineering. Rock climbing, snow & glacier travel, crevasse rescue, map & compass navigation, weather, first aid, and trip planning are just a few of the topics that will be covered during the 14 week long school.

A solid foundation in backpacking skills is required for Mountain School. Some experience rock climbing is encouraged. If you do not have significant experience in the outdoors, hiking and camping with a 40 liter or larger pack, please consider Backpack School rather than Mountain School. Both schools are offered by the Spokane Mountaineers each spring.

Mountain School requires a high level of  physical and mental fitness in order to participate safely and successfully in the outdoor sessions. The school promotes regular exercise and will give opportunities for students to get accustomed to the physical and mental exertions needed in the mountains. Your level of fitness 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. Start building an endurance base now!

Mountaineering involves a wide variety of risks and rewards, as well as opportunities to have experiences that cannot be found anywhere else.

Mountaineering is many things: climbing, breathtaking views, and wilderness experience. It can be the fulfillment of childhood dreams or an opportunity to grow in the face of difficulty. Mountains harbor adventure and mystery. 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


A detailed list of required gear is available upon request and will be included in course acceptance information. In general, you will need the following gear:

  • General Backpacking gear- backpack, tent, sleeping bag/pad, stove, etc.
  • Basic Climbing Equipment- climbing harness, carabiners, helmet, ice axe, crampons
  • Appropriate Mountaineering Clothing

Helmets, ice axes, mountaineering boots, and crampons can be rented from REI.

Course Sessions 

Mountain School 2021 begins Wednesday, February 24 and runs though the end of May, 2021.

  • 4 small group sessions
  • 4 online learning sessions
  • 7 weekend day trips
  • 3 weekend overnight trips

Prerequisites for Acceptance to Mountain School

Students wishing to enroll in Mountain School must:

  • Be a current member of the Spokane Mountaineers (membership must be paid for the 2021 year)
  • 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.

Requirements to Excel in Mountain School

Students wishing to enroll in Mountain School must:

  • Have 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. Having the ability to recognize challenges that can be overcome and those that cannot is essential.
  • Be willing to learn and participate and willing to assist others when you are able. Be community and team oriented.
  • Posses a willingness to assess your level of conditioning and work with the Directors and Instructors of the school to address physical or mental difficulties that may limit your participation.

Graduation Requirements

  • Attend all outdoor sessions and miss no more than two indoor sessions.
  • Take and pass both the practical skills test and the written exam.
  • Participate in two approved climbs before October 15, 2021. The first of these two climbs will be the Graduation Climb at the culmination of this school. The second climb will be planned by individual students and approved by the Mountain School Directors. Each student will have the opportunity to work with an instructor who will assist in planning and leading a climb.
  • Earn or show current First Aid certification.
  • Participate in "a day of service" focused on outdoor conservation, such as trail maintenance or cleanup.

Application Process

The application link below will take you to a form. Please fill this out carefully and completely. Give particular attention to the sections that ask for information about your backpacking and climbing experience.

The school directors will review applications and notify applicants of acceptance status by January 31, 2021. 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 within five business days of the email notification. Thank you!