ACC Vancouver

Club Courses

Our courses are intended to present those with little or no mountaineering experience a foundation sufficient to enable them to participate in club trips. Mountaineering is a skill that takes years to become really experienced at, and our goal for these courses is to simply make you comfortable and confident enough with the basic skills that you can go out, practice, reinforce them and continue to learn from others on the various trips and camps the club puts on.

We run a variety of courses through out the year as listed below:

  • Intro to Backcountry Skiing (IBS)
  • Ski-Touring and Glacier Travel Skills (STGTS) – Feb-Mar
  • Top-Rope Anchor Construction (TRA) – Apr
  • Intro to Trad Climbing (ITC) – May
  • Intro to Rock Climbing (IRC) – May
  • Basic Mountaineering (BMC) – May-Jun
  • Intro to Sport Climbing (ISC) – May

Read on for a more detailed description of each. Signup’s are via the calendar and a small application form, usually available one month or more prior to the course date.

Introduction to Rock Climbing 

This is a 2 day course intended to give participants an introduction to rock climbing. The goal is to provide a learning environment where people can learn the basic elements of outdoor rock climbing safely.

See the following page for more information: Introduction to rock climbing

Building Top-Rope Anchors

This is a 2 day course intended to teach club members:
(a) how to build anchors for top roping, and (b) how to rappel safely.

The course objective it is give participants a chance to learn the different types of anchor setups, and to practice building them while in a controlled setting. The evaluation of anchors with respect to security criteria is an important part of the course.

Sport Climbing

A 2 day course intended to introduce club members to single- pitch sport climbing, i.e. leading on on bolted routes.

Participants will learn how to use quickdraws to protect themselves on lead on a bolted route and how to setup and dismantel anchors when sport climbing. The first day will be instruction and climbing, and the second day mostly supervised climbing.

Trad Climbing

Once you have a year of experience with outdoor climbing you should be ready to start learning to place traditional climbing protection using mechanical camping devices and aluminum chockstones.

This 2 course introduces participants to lead climbing using gear for protection. The emphasis of the weekend is on placing gear (camming devices, nuts, etc.) and evaluating placements.

Participants will be have the opportunity to practice gear placements on mock leads as well as have their placements evaluated by the instructors and other members of the group.

Basic Mountaineering Course

Learning Objectives

A structured introduction for new club members (novice climber/mountaineers) to the skills necessary for safe ascents of moderate climbing or mountaineering objectives involving, scrambling or climbing, as well as snow and glacier travel. The one evening and 2 weekend sessions cover basic mountaineering skills, equipment selection and trip preparation, and safe mountain travel skills including terrain assessment, roped travel on snow or ice fields, ice axe and crampon use, self arrest. Other topics may get included as time and conditions permit. Basic (1) will culminate (as conditions permit) with a trip to an appropriate mountain peak in the area. Click here to download the full course syllabus.

Rock Climbing Skills

Climbing on rock is an important part of mountaineering.  We have split the rock climbing component from the Basic Mountaineering course since many people have some rock climbing skills.  We now offer other courses where basic rock climbing skills are taught.  You need to have taken the Introduction to Rock Climbing or equivalent course before you join us on the mountaineering course.

Example of Past Schedule

May, Evening Dry School (7-9 pm) MEC West Broadway
May, Rope & Rock Weekend Smoke Bluffs
Late May or early June,  Snow & Mountain Travel Weekend Mt Seymour
Early June, Mountain Ascent Weekend Mt Matier area

Note: Weather conditions can have an impact on scheduled activities, if conditions are sufficiently dire to cause an event cancellation it will be rescheduled for the following weekend. If the event does not proceed a refund will be issued.


Good physical fitness, overnight backpacking experience helpful, no previous climbing experience required (you must take the Introduction to Rock or equivalent first).

Candidates must belong to the Vancouver Section of ACC, submit a completed application form, agree and commit (before being admitted to the course) to post and coordinate a particular event (such as a hike) on the club schedule before October 15, pay the course fee and sign the club waiver. Candidates will be admitted in the order of their completed prerequisites. Limited to 24 registrants


Courses are subsidized by the section, and typically put on at brake-even fees. They don’t include travel costs to venue sites though, so participants are encouraged to car pool and share travel costs as possible. Links to downloadable documents will be provided for the Rope & Rock as well as Snow & Mountain Travel modules. Freedom of The Hills (the Mountaineering Bible) is also a great reference for anyone wanting to get a head-start on their mountaineering career.

Equipment Required

Personal equipment is the responsibility of participant and you will likely need to buy some basic gear such as a climbing harness (which can’t be rented).  Some other gear such as mountaineering boots, crampons and helmets can be rented from MEC or other retailers, and some gear may be available to rent or borrow via the club also. See gear rentals page for more information: Gear rental

Equipment lists are always sent out ahead of time, and if you want or need to rent gear, we urge you to make arrangements in advance so that it will be ready for pick up when needed. It is our policy to provide a 50% discount on rental equipment to registrants who rent gear in order to participate in the course. Present your rental receipt to course leader for reimbursement. If you need to buy gear, we organize an MEC / ACC Members’ Discount Night where you can save 10% on all your purchases 7-9 pm (Broadway store only- iCal signup required).

The club has all the ropes for group use, and most leaders and participants may have and can share communal equipment such as tents, stoves, etc.. A wiki will be available to enable car pooling and borrowing gear.

Facilitators & Assistants

This program is a regular part of the Vancouver Sections’ activities and as such are organized, facilitated and assisted by experienced volunteers. Ratios 1:4 for Rope & Rock,1:6 for Snow & Mountain Travel and Summit.


Applicants must register for the course through the ACC Vancouver Section online calendar system (iCal) and be approved for participation.