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Alpine Skills Weekend 2022

January 13, 2022 @ 4:00 pm - January 17, 2022 @ 3:00 pm


AT CAPACITY. We are no longer accepting RSVP’s

Each winter PATC-MS offers an Alpine Skills Weekend (ASW) to share our members’ mountaineering experience from around the world. No prior experience is required. Participants must obtain (rent, borrow, buy) mountaineering equipment and winter clothing for potential extreme weather conditions.

The primary purpose of ASW is to learn basic mountaineering skills. If weather allows we will make a summit attempt on Mt. Washington. We expect all participants to be in shape and prepared for the elements when they arrive in New Hampshire.

Climbing, and especially mountaineering, is a dangerous sport. Mt. Washington has recorded many of the worst winds and coldest temperatures – anywhere. Do not underestimate what -20°F feels like, especially for multiple days.

Registering is just an application; everyone who signs up will be notified within a week whether they have been selected for ASW. Preference will be given to those who have been members of PATC-MS longer.

Detailed information will be distributed to all participants about the required gear and other logistics for the course.

Dates: January 13-17, 2022 (MLK Weekend)

Location: North Conway, New Hampshire

Participants: 10

Mentors: 3-4

Lodging: Tent camping outside of Harvard Cabin

Participants are required to attend the following pre-ASW activities:

  • October 27 at 7pm – Zoom meeting
  • November 20 – Training hike
  • December 12 – Gear check

Consider the dates for ASW and the pre-ASW activities carefully. This is one of the club’s most popular events. There will be a waiting list. If you drop out, it may affect the other participants.

COVID Protocols

  • All participants and mentors must be vaccinated.
  • Why? Everyone will be sharing sleeping tents and cook tents, therefore spending large amounts of time in enclosed spaces in close proximity.

Primary Skills Covered

  • Ascending a snow slope in boots
  • Use of crampons
  • Use of mountaineering ice axe
  • Self-arrest
  • Moving in rope teams
  • Anchors (deadman anchors, use of tools, snow pickets, and ice screws)
  • Descending: walk-off using plunge step
  • Descending: rappelling (v-thread, bollards, etc) – time permitting
  • Use of avalanche gear (optional) – time permitting
  • Intro to ice climbing (optional) – time and weather permitting

Experience and Equipment

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) is available to borrow from the PATC-MS Gear Locker. Rental gear is available in North Conway at International Mountain Equipment (IME), Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS), and REI.


All participants and mentors will camp outside of Harvard Cabin, and will be required to share a tent (unless you bring your own 4-season tent). The camping cost is $10/night per person. Last resort is to stay at Joe Dodge Lodge and hike up each morning (approximately a two hour hike).

ASW Start Time

Participants must arrive at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center no later than 11am on Thursday, January 13. It is strongly recommended that participants arrive in North Conway Wednesday evening (motel stay) to allow plenty of time on Thursday to take care of last minute things.

Fitness Level

Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor. Plan to be in excellent shape. The mentors can recommend hikes and other training activities.


There is no cost to sign up for ASW. However, all personal trip expenses are the responsibility of the participants. These expenses include travel to/from New Hampshire, lodging, food, and gear (detailed gear list will be provided). Gear may be the largest expense depending on what you already have.

AT CAPACITY. We are no longer accepting RSVP’s


January 13, 2022 @ 4:00 pm
January 17, 2022 @ 3:00 pm
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All PATC-MS events are subject to the terms of the membership Liability Waiver.  To review the terms of the waiver, or print if for your records, click here.