Prerequisites - Mountain Skills Rating
No previous climbing, mountaineering or skiing experience is necessary. The new enthusiast must come prepared to follow very important safety directions, be observant to potential risks and hazards and use common sense.
Familiar with modern, light-weight clothing layering systems that are non absorbent and provide appropriate insulation. Prepared to travel in off-trail conditions including scree and talus slopes (fields of small and large rocks) and possibly moderate angle snow slopes with a 30lb pack or heavier. Elevation gains may be up to 4,000' (vertical) per day with up to 8hr. travel days.
Must be prepared to learn new skills taught by your guide to include basic rope belayed climbing and/or climbing safety with an ice axe and crampons (if appropriate). Ready to use a minimal equipment approach using modern, light-weight equipment for 1 or more nights out in the high country. Are prepared to follow Leave No Trace principles for minimum impact camping.
Has a good feel for appropriate equipment selection and knows how to choose gear as part of an integrated system without bringing unnecessary items.
Can monitor his or her well being with issues such as hydration, sun protection, eye protection, blister avoidance, headache, fatigue, etc..
Has experience with basic technical skills such as climbing with an ice axe (if in snow) using both a self-belay and self-arrest grip. Practiced in self-arrest prepared to stop a fall.
Can belay a second climber or the lead climber from a well braced and/or anchored position with a belay device, and their brake hand always ready to stop a fall. Able to follow a lead and rest effectively while removing slings around natural protection, nuts and camming devices.
Has good endurance for longer, harder and more sustained and committing climbs.
Can place basic anchors and ice screws (if appropriate) and can remove complex anchors.
Can setup and remove their own rappeling system and can clip and unclip their own self-belay at rappel anchors without disrupting the anchor system.
Can climb more committing traverses with a lack of direct belay from above.
Is prepared for high mountain bivoacs in part of "fast and light" climbing style.
Can demonstrate a working knowledge of basic crevasse rescue with a 3:1 raising system (if appropriate).
The climber is ready to participate in long hard climbs or significant ski traverses with greater risks and a higher potential of objective danger where speed and efficiency may be paramount.
Can lead moderate rock and ice (if appropriate) pitches in emergencies or as part of the organized climb.
Can build complex rock anchors and can construct V-thread anchors in ice.
Is able to extricate an unconscious victim from a crevasse with a 6:1 raising system.
Has previous experience in multi-day routes involving high mountain bivouacs.