Alpine Skills Weekend 2018

  • Thursday, January 11, 2018
  • 2:00 PM
  • Monday, January 15, 2018
  • 12:00 PM
  • North Conway, New Hampshire
  • 0


  • Select this if you are sleeping in the Harvard Cabin ($15/night)
  • Select this if you will be sleeping in a tent ($10/night)

Registration is closed



The Potomac Appalachian Trail Club-Mountaineering Section (PATC-MS) organizes an Alpine Skills Weekend each winter to share our member’s mountaineering experiences from Mt. Rainier, Denali, Aconcagua and more.



This sign up is just an application; all participants will be notified of acceptance to ASW soon after the application is filled out.  Detailed information on the weekend will be provided once you've been accepted. 


Participants must also be an active member of the PATC-MS prior to October 16, 2017. 

Consider the dates and training carefully.  This is one of our most popular events.  There will be a waiting list.  If you drop out of the course it may affect the other participants.    


Remember, climbing, and especially mountaineering, is a dangerous sport. Mt. Washington has recorded many of the worst winds and coldest temperatures on record - anywhere. Climbers have died on this mountain before (this year!), and they will in the future. Do not underestimate what -20 degrees F air temperature feels like, especially for days on end.



Basic list of skills covered: 

· Introduction to general mountaineering equipment (crampons, ice axe, ropes)

· Ascending a snow slope in boots

· Use of crampons (climbing foot techniques)

· Use of mountaineering ice axe

· Self-arrest and glissading

· Roped travel

· Anchors (focus on deadman anchors, use of tools, snow pickets and ice screws)

· Descending (focus on walk-off (plunge step, side-step, downclimbing, etc); rappelling (v-thread, bollards, etc) if time

· Basic full process of ascending and descending a snow (and ice) gully (putting it all together)

· Intro to ice climbing (optional—time and weather permitting)

· Use of avalanche gear (optional – time and weather permitting)   


No prior experience is required for ASW. Participants must obtain (rent, borrow, buy) general mountaineering equipment and winter clothing for possible extreme severe weather conditions.  Some equipment (axes, boots, crampons, avy gear) is available for checkout from the Club gear locker.  Rental gear is available in North Conway at International Mountain Equipment (IME) and Eastern Mountain Sports.

A program guide will be distributed to all participants detailing all of the required gear and other logistics for the course.


Lodging / Camping-

This year we are limiting the number of participants that stay in Harvard Cabin.  We will have 5 participants in the Harvard Cabin, and 8 participants camping.

All camping participants will be required to share a tent (unless you bring your own 4 season tent) 

Cost is $15/night for the Harvard Cabin.  Camping space is available outside the cabin for $10/night. These are first come, first serve spots.   Last resort is to stay at Joe Dodge Lodge and hike up each morning (approximately a 2-hour hike).


Course dates: 11 -15 JAN 2018 (MLK Weekend)  You must plan to arrive at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center no later than 12pm on the Thursday, 11JAN.  Several leaders will be going up to North Conway on Wednesday evening (motel stay) to allow for plenty of time on Thursday to take care of any last minute things; recommend participants strongly consider this option.

There will also be at least Four training hikes in Shenandoah National Park where all participants will carry a full pack over a long day of hiking.  The goal of the hikes is to help you understand the rigors of a good deal of elevation change and negotiating rugged terrain in colder weather.  Some (if not all) of these hikes will be mandatory for participants.


Send all questions to Bill Kessinger (

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