Alpinism 2 - Intermediate Mountaineering


In addition to reviewing skills, throughout this program your guide will help you advance your technique and complete your repertoire of skills for intermediate level mountaineering and ascents. Additionally, we will involve you with route finding and terrain assessment with the goal of helping you further develop good mountaineering judgment. As in all AC/AAI programs, we will also thoroughly cover Leave No Trace skills so that you can minimise or eliminate impacts on the environment whenever you camp and climb.

In sum, by the time you have completed the classic ascents in this program, you will have become a climber who is safer, more highly skilled, a better judge of hazards, and very adept at applying LNT techniques in a variety of mountain environments. You'll also have climbed some of the most beautiful peaks on the continent.


  • Map, compass, altimeter and GPS use
  • Self-arrest from all positions
  • Belaying techniques on rock, snow and ice
  • Rappelling in complex terrains
  • Principal ice axe positions
  • Cramponing techniques


  • Overnight backpacking experience
  • Familiarity with the basics of rock climbing
  • Previous experience with self-arresting, cramponing, crevasse rescue and glacier travel


Day 1 - After a brief meeting and introductions at the American Alpine Institute offices in Bellingham, WA, your instructor(s) will take the first part of the morning to check over your equipment, finalise any rentals and purchases you may need for your programme, and get packed up for the day.

From the institute's office, we drive to the small town of Mazama (3hrs), which is on the east side of the Cascade Crest, about 20 minutes past Washington Pass. We then spend the day practising rock climbing skills at a cragging area called Fun Rock. Depending on the group's skill level and goals, we will practice belaying, rappelling, anchor building, placing protection, climbing techniques, and will talk about multi-pitch transitions in preparation for the next day's alpine rock climb.

We will camp at one of the Forest Service campgrounds between Mazama and Washington Pass.

Day 2 - We drive 20 minutes back up to Washington Pass and climb the South Arête of South Early Winter Spire. Often photographed, the Early Winter Spires (North and South) and Liberty Bell stand out among the granite towers, which cluster south of Washington pass. Although less well known than routes on it famous neighbour to the north, this arête offers a satisfying ascent for less experienced climbers. Our approach takes us through a beautiful larch forest to the southernmost and highest rampart of the Liberty Bell massif. After a challenging 5.5 move early in the ascent, we enjoy stimulating, but moderate class 5 climbing with firm holds and increasing exposure on the way to the summit, where – from 7807 feet – we can trace the course of the Early Winters Creek some 2000 feet below and admire walls of Cascade peaks rising from the valley.

We will camp at the same campground as the night before.

Day 3 – We’ll venture back up to Washington Pass, but this time to climb the Becky Route on Liberty Bell, a true classic. Long famous among the Northwest rock enthusiasts, the 7720-foot granite spire called Liberty Bell puts a variety of routes at our disposal. This route up the Southwest Face is a more sustained climb than the ascent on South Early Winter, but rock climbers who have had some experience (or who have just done the South Arête) will find it very rewarding. The slabs, cracks, and chimney on the route warrant a variety of techniques with moves up to 5, 6 and every pitch is different. The summit affords broad views of this very photogenic alpine region.

We will camp at the same campground as the night before.

Day 4 – We wake, pack and drive to one of three areas for the glacier portion of this course. Though we typically climb Mt. Shuksan for this portion, we will occasionally climb Eldorado Peak or Sahale Peak.

After driving to the trailhead for one of these three mountains, we will hike in and set up our Base Camp. If there is time, we will start our review of glacier travel procedures. Your instructor will discuss glaciation, navigation and geology over dinner.

Day 5 – Our full glacier skills review and training day. We will review cramponing and ice axe technique, and then will move onto the more advanced skills of snow and ice screw anchor building and running protection, and will practice team crevasse rescue. We will also discuss the next day’s route to the summit and will go to bed early in anticipation of an early rise the next morning.

Day 6 – Summit day! We will climb either Shuksan via the Sulphide Glacier, Eldorado Peak via the Eldorado Glacier/East Ridge, or Sahale via the Quien Sabe Glacier. We will plan on summiting early, then will return to camp, pack up, hike back to the van at the trailhead, and then drive back to AAI’s headquarters in Bellingham. We aim for getting climbers back to town by about 5 pm. This can vary a bit based on how the last day of the trip goes.


Latest News

From the AC Blog page


11 Sep - Fit to Trek - How fit is fit enough for high altitude trekking?.....

AC Blog

Ama Dablam 2017 - First glimpse


19 Oct - Another spectacular day in the Khumbu Valley. Waking to a blue sky....


Island Peak 2017 - Rest Day 


19 Oct - Rest day. That is what we like to call it. What it really means is...


Manaslu 2017 - Back in Ktm


7 Oct - All back in Kathmandu, happy and safe. What a fantastic few days...


Lux EBC #3 2017 - Farewell


10 Oct - What fantastic weather to fly out in this morning. We stopped at Lukla....


Mustang 2017 - Kathmandu


20 Sep -  With the very fine weather, we had a pleasant flight from Jomsom....


Elbrus 2017 - Party Time!


2 Aug - This team knows how to celebrate! Sleep-in, and then for Alex......


Elbrus Private 2017 - Moscow


21 Aug - Sophia, Phing and Guan had a city tour today, seeing some of the many sights.......


Everest 2017 - Wrapping Up


31 May -  Last night our Nepali Staff were stoked to have cleared the mountain.......



Sherpa Future Fund

If you would like to support the victims and affected families of the Everest Base Camp Avalanche, please consider contributing to the Adventure Consultants Sherpa Future Fund. 
Learn More