Alpine Skills Weekend 2016

  • Thursday, January 14, 2016
  • 4:00 PM
  • Monday, January 18, 2016
  • 12:00 PM
  • North Conway, New Hampshire
  • 1


  • Interested in joining us for ASW or the advanced tract? Sign up here!

Registration is closed




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, 2015. 

Consider the dates and training carefully.  This is a popular event.  If you drop out of the course it may effect 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, and they will in the future. Do not underestimate what -20 degrees F air temperature feels like, especially for days on end.


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.


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.


There is space in the Harvard Cabin for about 15 people.  Cost is $15/night.  Camping space is available outside the cabin for $10/night.  Last resort is to stay at Joe Dodge Lodge and hike up each morning (approximately a 2-hour hike).


Course dates: 14 -18 JAN  You must plan to arrive at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center no later than 4pm on the Thursday, 14JAN.  Several mentors 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 two 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.


First meeting and training hike is Saturday, 14 November.

Send all questions to Coordinator Andy Weinmann (

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