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Red Rock




Training is one of our most important club functions, and it is essential to learn safe and effective mountaineering practices if you plan to climb or travel with the Las Vegas Mountaineers Club in mountainous regions. There is no instructor's fee to members for courses. However, this is not to imply that training is substandard. On the contrary, similar training would cost an average of several hundred dollars per course, in addition to the cost of travel.

You must be a member to take the courses. If you want to register for a course, sign up on meetup or at a monthly meeting (check our Calendar of Events for information on monthly meetings or training courses).

Descriptions are listed below, and dates, times, and locations will be updated as available on the Calendar of Events, in The Ascender online newsletter, and at club meetings.



I sure am glad I took your rappelling clinic!!! Yesterday, a group of us canyoneered through Spry Canyon. As a result of some miscommunications, we ended up not having enough descending devices when we got to the first rap. I ended up using a Munter hitch for no less than 14 rappels, including a 170 footer. I survived the challenge, but still have the burning smell of rope-on-rope friction in my nose and my carabiner remained hot enough this morning to iron my shirts! I also have a lot of untwisting to do with my ropes. But if it weren't for the Munter, we probably wouldn't have made it out of the canyon before dark and might have had to bivvy there overnight...

You might want to relay this story to any future participants in your rappelling clinic who think that knowing how to tie a Munter won't come in handy some day. You taught me just in the knick of time!


Prerequisite: None

Are you interested in rock climbing and have little or no experience? Well, this is the place to start. The course teaches the basics of safety, tying in, belaying and climbing at Red Rock Canyon or a similar area.
The club will provide a limited number of harnesses and helmets to be shared among members. Rock climbing shoe rentals are available at local sporting goods stores and climbing gyms. If you already own a harness or helmet, please bring it as the number of club helmets is limited.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Rock Climbing

This course is a continuation of the Introduction to Rock Climbing Course. It is intended to provide members more instruction beyond the basics of tying in and belaying.  We will cover ropes, climbing protection hardware, belay and rappel devices, knots, rappelling and much more. Click here for photos of a course offered previously.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Rock Climbing or equivalent experience, at the discretion of the instructor.

This course is a continuation of the Introduction to Rock Climbing Course. It is intended to provide members more instruction on rappelling down after a rock climb, including multi-pitch climbs. The course is frequently offered as two courses (beginning and advanced).
The beginner course includes positioning yourself to get started, rappel backup (self-belay) techniques, and alternative techniques in case you find yourself without your usual rappel device. (It has happened to many of us.)
The advanced course includes setting up the rappel, including the anchor, rope handling and toss techniques, double-rope rappels and associated knots, multiple rappels, and passing a knot on rappel.

Prerequisite: Intermediate to advanced rock climbing experience (rope management, lead belaying techniques, rappelling and setting anchors)

Climbing can be a great life-fulfilling sport and may seem relatively safe when done properly. However, climbers and mountaineers are always subject to the objective dangers of the mountains. Rock fall, falls due to broken holds, or even a simple fall can put a climbing team into situations that may require one of the climbers to aid others on steep terrain. This course will cover techniques to escape the belay, get to an injured climber including the leader, and lowering/raising systems. The course is intended for intermediate to advanced climbers with experience placing traditional gear and building anchors. The skills covered in this course are essential to climbers and mountaineers seeking the freedom and exposure of traditional or sport climbing.
Reference books for this class are Self-Rescue by David Fasulo and Glacier Mountaineering: An Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue by Andy Tyson.

Prerequisite: Intermediate to advanced rock climbing experience (rope management, lead belaying techniques, rappelling and setting anchors)

The term “Traditional Climbing” or “Trad Climbing” refers to the use of nuts, cams, hexes, and other hardware to provide protection and anchors.  This course is for climbers ready to make the transition beyond top-rope and sport climbing to leading and placing gear for protection and building anchors with such gear.

Prerequisite: None

Backpacking is an activity almost anyone can do. Walking is the most basic form of transportation and the only one that allows you to move slowly enough to truly experience the natural environment around you. A wonderful aspect of backpacking is going to a place only accessible by foot. Think of all the people who will never travel beyond pavement, they will never see these hidden treasures - a secluded lake, a scenic overlook - but you will. This course is designed to give you an overview of what backpacking is, how to get started, what gear, clothing, and food you need, and to answer any questions you may have about spending a night or two (or more) in the wilderness. We will begin with an orientation meeting and then, while all the information is fresh in your mind, we will go on an easy beginner backpack so that you can experience what it's like. We encourage not only complete beginners to attend but also relatively new backpackers who may have already been on a couple of trips but who still have questions. Apart from teaching simple backpacking techniques, this course is also a prerequisite to mountaineering, and except for local day hikes and climbs, most of our out-of-town activities involve traveling and sleeping in the backcountry.

Prerequisite: Non-winter camping experience

This course instructs members in the basic skills and equipment necessary for camping in a winter environment. Camping will occur at one of the campgrounds in the Mt. Charleston area, since it is close to home. Also, if the conditions are too much for members, then home is only a short trip away.

Prerequisite: Winter Car Camping, Beginner Backpacking, or equivalent experience

MountainsThis course is similar to Beginner Backpacking, but it teaches basic skills for backpacking and camping in snow. The member is responsible for appropriate backpacking equipment and the club can supply one four-season tent. Other gear arrangements and requirements will be addressed by the instructor. Location depends on snow conditions.

Prerequisite: Resort downhill or cross-country skiing experience

SkierThe Backcountry Skiing course is designed to introduce participants to the techniques and gear required to ski in the backcountry. Backcountry skiing is a beautiful thing. Forget those ski resorts, crowds, and expensive lift tickets (we call that “lift-assisted skiing”). Backcountry skiers enjoy the pure beauty and challenge of the winter wilderness without lifts or groomed slopes. Backcountry skiers do, however, need a wide range of skills to ascend and descend safely and effectively. One course cannot cover all aspects in depth, so this course is a very good overview. Backcountry skiing involves cross-country and downhill skiing skills and much more. It includes traveling on level or low angle snow, climbing slopes on skis or on foot, skiing downhill in backcountry snow conditions, and identifying and avoiding avalanche hazards. We place emphasis on using Telemark (free heel) gear and techniques for reasons too complicated to explain here. In the last few years, we have typically used a location north of the Mammoth Ski resort in California. Snow conditions and other factors may dictate an alternate location. Unless you own suitable gear, you will need to rent backcountry skis, boots, and poles. The instructor will locate a rental vendor. Participants should have some experience on downhill or cross-country skis. The course is not suitable for those with no skiing experience.

Prerequisite: Non-snow-related mountaineering experience

This course instructs members in the skills required to travel snow slopes typically encountered in mountaineering. This includes self-arrest with and without an ice ax, kicking steps, glissading, roped snow climbing, and more. The course will be 100% field work, and the location will depend on snow conditions and availability. The course may be conducted at Mt. Charleston, in southern Utah, or in the Sierra. Due to the nature of the course, it may be taught by members of the club or by a professional organization out of Bishop, California. If a professional organization is used, a fee will be required. Members may also encounter other expenses, depending on the course location and accessibility. Winter clothing suitable for a day of practicing (including lots of sliding) on snow slopes will be required. Ice axes, crampons, and climbing helmets will also be required. Some rental equipment is available for those in need, and we may borrow from some of our benevolent, well-equipped senior members.

Prerequisite: Basic Snow School or equivalent experience

This course instructs members in more advanced skills required to travel snow slopes and glaciers typically encountered in mountaineering. This includes glacier travel, rope work on the glacier, crevasse rescue, snow anchors, belays, and much more. The course may be conducted in the Sierra Nevada or the Mt. Charleston area depending upon the snow conditions. The club members may encounter expenses depending on the course location and accessibility. Suitable winter clothing, ice axes, crampons, and climbing helmets will also be required. It may be rented or borrowed, and some may be available through the club.

Prerequisite: None

Map and compass is designed to provide the beginner with practical compass and map reading skills used in orienteering and land navigation. The course includes classroom study and covers a wide range of topics, including an introduction to the standard "orienteering" compass, its use and construction, basic navigation skills, using the compass with and without a map, correcting for declination, map symbols and markings, mapping techniques and map construction. The class will focus primarily on the practical aspects of using a map and compass for land navigation but will introduce some advanced topics to provide the student with an in-depth look at map and compass techniques. After the classroom work, the student then goes into the field to practice classroom skills by navigating a compass course across the desert. You do not need to purchase a compass prior to attending the class, several will be available for use and you will be better prepared to purchase a new one after learning more about them.

Prerequisite: Map & Compass

This course will provide practical experience using a map and compass in a real-world environment by orienteering some of the terrain in the Mt. Charleston area. Orienteering is a great skill to learn for route finding in more mountainous regions of the world. Maps will be provided, but members should provide their own compasses.

Prerequisite: Intermediate rock climbing experience

Ice climbing involves skills similar to rock climbing, but the ice climber uses crampons and technical ice tools to scale ice. Ice climbing is an excellent skill to learn if you foresee alpine-style mountaineering in your future. This course is not designed for beginners because it requires intermediate rock climbing skills including belaying and rope management. We will set up top ropes on easy ice so participants can get a feel for the gear and medium of the sport. Ice protection, gear, and ice climbing skills will be discussed with a focus on climbing ice efficiently. You will need to provide adequate cold weather clothing including a waterproof parka, warm synthetic layers (fleece & underwear), waterproof pants, and gloves. You must also have gaiters, technical crampons, a harness, belay device, a climbing helmet, plastic boots or leather boots stiff enough (basically rigid) for ice climbing. Having your own technical ice tools is a plus, but the club can supply a limited quantity to share among the participants. Course availability depends on ice conditions.

Prerequisite: None

The course date is coordinated by the club, but instruction is provided by a certified individual qualified to teach members First Aid and CPR. As a result, you will be required to pay the fee for the class. This course is a requirement for club members to become outing coordinators and for current coordinators to renew their certifications, but all club members are welcome. Please contact the Outings Director for more information on becoming an outing coordinator, including getting First Aid & CPR fees reimbursed under certain conditions.

Prerequisite: None

The Wilderness First Aid course (also known as Outdoor First Aid) provides information beyond the basics taught in the First Aid and CPR Certification course.  It covers First Aid issues arising in the wilderness where access to the traditional 911 emergency services may be hours or days away.

Training Course Terms

  • Participants must be club members. Non-members must submit membership dues to take the courses. (Still a great deal!)
  • Except where noted above, there are no technical prerequisites for beginner courses, but members must be in good physical condition for most of the fieldwork.
  • The Las Vegas Mountaineers Club assumes no liability for participants in any of the training.

NOTE: For some courses, gear such as special clothing, sleeping bags, tents, backpacks, etc., is required. If you do not have this gear, the instructor will attempt to provide it for you. The club does have limited free rental gear to borrow. However, you may be required to purchase gear in certain instances.

If you have an interest in any of the courses outlined here, or have some ideas for courses you’d like to see offered, feel free to talk to any of the club’s officers or directors post an idea on meetup or e-mail

Enjoy the outdoors!!


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