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Mountaineering 101

Travelling in the rugged backcountry of the Colorado Rockies can be a daunting undertaking. Mountain enthusiasts need to be well prepared to handle anything the mountains might throw at them. Learn how to approach and achieve mountain objectives with the guides at Apex Mountain School. We can work with you to develop new skills and enhance existing ones. Just as importantly, we will help you hone your mountain sense and judgement as our guides share with you their strategies for making the most of mountain environments.

Apex Mountain School’s Mountaineering series of courses offers a logical progression in your development as a mountaineer. Topics for each course may include, but are not necessarily limited to the following.

Mountaineering 101

 Mountaineering Equipment Basics – Learn to use and take care of a variety of mountain gear including personal and group climbing, navigation, and camping equipment.

  • Avalanche Education and Beacon Use – Instruction in proper use of avalanche beacons, probes, and shovels
  • Strategic Travel – Learn efficient travel methods, route finding, and trip planning
  • Technical Climbing – Learn to belay and travel on steep snow and even ice!
  • Self-Arrest –Simulated scenarios help you understand how to stop your fall on high angle snow and ice.
  • Shelter Construction (if multiple days) – Igloo, Quinzee, Tree Well Shelter, Cave and Snow Trench are discussed. We construct a shelter for our overnight stay.
  • Backcountry Ski Touring and Telemark Technique – Practice backcountry skiing skills including uphill travel and great turns.
  • Winter Survival – Bringing many of the basic mountaineering skills needed for backcountry sustenance together, we close with a few “what if’s”, as well as exploring mock scenarios.


What to bring:

  • Beacon (rental available)
  • *No cotton – cotton does not wick moisture or insulate when wet.
  • Synthetic or wool long underwear bottom (thin)
  • Synthetic or wool long sleeve top (medium)
  • Mid layer top and bottom
  • Synthetic or wool socks
  • Winter jacket
  • Insulated “Puffy” Jacket
  • Snow pants
  • Warm gloves or mittens
  • Hat and neck gaiter or balaclava
  • Goggles or sunglasses
  • Small day pack
  • Water bottle
  • Food

You may also want to consider:

  • Hand warmers
  • Thermos of hot liquid
  • Gaiters
  • Extra gloves
  • Lip balm
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle insulator
  • Camera

APEX Provides:

  • Boots
  • Crampons
  • Ice Axes
  • Helmet
  • Harness (42”/44” max)