This course is designed to prepare you physically and mentally for long days in the mountains so you can stay alert, make sound decisions, maximize your opportunity to summit, and have fun while doing it! We will finish the course with an optional team attempt of Klickitat (Mt. Adams) or other trip of choice. 

Fitness is safety when it comes to spending long days in the backcountry and will be the focus of this course. This course will prepare you for strenuous days where you carry a 25lb pack 6-12 miles up 2500-6000 feet on terrain that includes rock and snow. You will receive a 12 week strength and aerobic conditioning plan and will have access to a certified trainer for questions and adjustments. 

In this course you will also learn and practice skills for traveling off trail in an attempt to summit a mountain. This course will not cover technical rock and snow travel or venture into terrain where ropes are advised. 


Recreational Responsibility – Leave no trace, land recognition, environmental stewardship, inclusion in the outdoor industry

Fitness – strength and conditioning for all body types to prepare for strenuous activity outdoors

Backcountry Travel Skills – route planning/finding, gear, hazards, weather, low severity rock and snow travel, and overnight preparation

Confidence – build confidence in a new activity through inclusive preparation

Course Dates & Outline:

April 28 – 6-7:30pm @ a Tacoma park TBD: meet greet, course outline/goals, training plan/ conditioning, clothing and equipment, leave no trace, land recognition, Q&A

May 12 – 6-7:30pm on zoom: Snow and Rock travel skills: Route planning, hazards, techniques

May 23 – 7am-2pm: Paradise Snow Field day: ice axe, crampons, snow, avalanche awareness, navigating, fun!

June 6 – 7am-2pm: Group Hike + scramble: pacing, steep hiking, rock travel practice

June 23 – 6-7:30pm @ a Tacoma park TBD: overnight trip skills, packing, food/water planning, peak fitness time

July 7 – 6-7pm @ a Tacoma park TBD: Trip logistics, teamwork, group workout, sleep, altitude

July 16-24 exact dates TBD – 2 day Ascent of Klickitat (Mt Adams) or other team trip of choice. This is not a guided trip but a team trip that this course is designed to prepare you for. It is expected that you complete all the aspects of the course to be an active participant in decision making.


$120 members, $170 guests; register here

Availability: 18 (If we have more than 10 participants we will likely split into two groups for field days.)

We recognize that mountaineering can be an expensive sport and the need for the latest gear and technical knowledge can be a form of gatekeeping. In order to make mountaineering more cost effective we will be encouraging folks to borrow and rent gear, we will also talk about making what you have work. Finally we are offering two scholarships to this course for underrepresented individuals in the outdoors specifically: BIPOC, fat-identifying, and LGBTQ folks. Apply for scholarship.

What’s not included:

Gear – some gear will be shareable, Transportation – carpooling will be optional, Parking passes and permits, Certifications,

Technical Mountaineering skills: Crevasse rescue, rope climbing or roped glacier travel, avalanche rescue


Our goal is to make backcountry travel more accessible to more people and don’t expect you to have the skills and knowledge at the start of the course. We also do not expect you to be in tip top shape at the moment – that’s why we are starting 12 weeks out and opening registration 16 weeks out with some optional pre-course work.

You do not need to have backpacking or climbing experience to join.

It is expected that you have hiked trails that are at least 5 miles with 1500 feet elevation gain and can currently hike for 2-3 hours with moderate elevation gain.

About the course leader:

I’m Marissa, she/her. I am a certified personal trainer and movement coach and am very excited to use my fitness knowledge to get more folks prepared for mountain travel. I am not a guide nor do I have any guiding certifications. I see my role more as a mentor! All this information will be shared from my own experience climbing and scrambling in the mountains and courses that I have taken for my own personal recreation. The climbing world can be challenging to break into, but it’s my goal to open doors for you with this course and give you the confidence to explore more terrain.

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