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Introduction to Mountaineering

Introduction to mountaineering focuses on teaching the new alpinist to the complex world of climbing snow and ice covered peaks. This course focuses on teaching the foundational skills and basics in order to ensure that as a mountaineer you will engage in your adventures safely and responsibly. You will learn about

1. Clothing and layering systems

2. Assessing and managing the risks of objective hazards

3. Proper use of equipment such as trekking poles, mountaineering axes, crampons, and more.

4. Self Arrest skills

5. Proper footwork for efficient travel on steep terrain

6. Roping up as a team and how to travel together

7. Snow Anchors

Location can vary according to mountain conditions, weather patterns, and drive times. A summit will not be the objective for the day, but intensive instruction will be!

This course requires activity specific gear. All course specific gear such as mountaineering boots, crampons, harnesses, helmets, ropes, and hardware are all included with your course fees.

Intermediate Mountaineering

Intermediate Mountaineering takes the skills learned in the introductory course a step further. Skills learned in the introductory course will be honed and practiced. In addition, climbers will learn about

1. Glacier travel

2. Crevasse Rescue 3:1 and 5:1 pulley systems

3. Hauling a simulated crevasse fall

4. Ascending a rope to escape a crevasse fall.


This course is ideal for those mountaineers looking to become more independent in their climbing so they can approach larger objectives. This course is perfect as a preparation for someone looking to join a guided climb of Mt Rainier or another large, glaciated peak.

Gear is included with your fees, and many climbers may start seeking information about building their own kits at this point. Maine Alpine Guiding will gladly provide information and suggestions about what to buy.

Flagship Private Program                         Cost:$1,000

Maine Alpine Guiding's flagship program is designed for the day hiker who seeks freedom in the mountains beyond the skill sets that a typical day hiker may possess. This series of 6 courses begins in the autumn and gradually increases difficulty, commitment, skills, and knowledge to operate safely in the mountains.  In addition to the skills and knowledge developed by the client, a value of $200 of critical clothing of the client's choice are provided at no additional cost at the start of the program for the client to keep. This could be multiple pieces consisting of base layers, fleeces, soft shells, hard shells, or one critical piece of clothing that the client needs. No where in New England will a hiker find a better value to develop his or her skills in private courses. Variations of this program can be set up if experienced hikers have already learned some of the skills in the first 2-3 courses.

A client who signs up for this course is committed to the fitness required for a mountaineering lifestyle, and will be physically prepared and trained for the following courses:

Course 1 - Fall Day Hike

Chosen by the guide or client, a moderately strenuous day hike with a minimum of 3,000 ft of elevation gain over 9-12 miles round trip. Topics such as clothing systems, fitness, diet, and gear will be discussed to develop a solid strategic plan for the client to prepare for the rigors of mountaineering.

Course 2 - Winter Day Hike

Guide chosen winter day hike to test fitness, discuss cold temperature management, and winter specific gear. Weather patterns, cut off times, creating a plan for each day, and terrain assessment will occur.

Course 3 - Winter Overnight

Guide chosen winter overnight covering soft skills such as winter camping strategies, camp cooking skills, gear selection (sleeping bags, sleeping pads, tents, etc), alpine starts and more. The guide and client will awaken for an alpine start the morning after the overnight to summit a chosen objective nearby. Once back at the trailhead, coffee, food, and conversation will round out the day to discuss what was learned.

Course 4 - Ice Climbing

From boots to crampons to ice tools to technique. This day will focus on top toping 50-80 foot cliffs, how to create top rope anchors, how to build trad anchors, how to belay top rope and lead, and more. After a half day of top roping, the day will be finished with mock leading and rappelling.

Course 5 - Mountaineering skills

The following skills will be covered during the mountaineering course: roping up, glacier travel, crevasse rescue, self arrest, snow anchors, crampon and ice axe technique.

Course 6 - Mountaineering skills part 2/Multipitch climb

This final course will culminate with a 700' multipitch ice and snow climb, that incorporates all of the learned skills, fitness, and soft skills from the first 5 courses. Clients will learn how to lead easy pitches of snow and ice while building a trad anchor and belaying the second climber up to their belay station. Clients will also learn how to clean gear as they climb up pitches as the second climber. The guide will evaluate efficiency, anchor placements, and provide feedback as needed.

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