Students who absolutely have no experience climbing mountains, or maneuvering through ice or deep snow, can gain hands-on experience learning mountaineering skills this spring.
Beginning late February Outdoor Pursuits is giving Pacific University students a chance to be a part of Summit Series, a three-part training and trip.
“We hope to get anything from people who have climbed before and want to improve their skills or you can be a Hawaiian student who has never been on snow before and they want to climb their first snowy peak,” Assistant Director of Outdoor Pursuits Ted Wogan said.
The first part is a snow school that will be held Feb. 13 on Mount Hood.
Students will learn how to use ice axes and crampons,metal spikes to help the feet maneuver through ice.
They will practice footwork techniques for walking in deep snow and on icy slopes, as well as self arrest and learning how to stop from sliding out of control downhill.
On Thursday Feb. 25 there will be an in-class session followed by a weekend trip to learn how to rescue someone if caught in an avalanche.
The last part of the series will put all of the learned skills to use in a trip to climb Mount Saint Helens on April 9.
“The weather gets more consistent and better in April,” Wogan said. “It’s more of the mountaineering season.”
As a package, Summit Series costs $95, but each trip or training session can be individually purchased if students wish to do only one or two of the three-part series.
The series will be overseen by Wogan and lead by experienced and trained OP student staff members.
“I have gained a lot of experience from personal mountaineering trips and just recently finished my AIARE Level 1 avalanche training so it will be great to get to share what I’ve learned over the years with those who want to start alpine climbing,” junior OP staff member Bryce Fowler said. “Mountaineering has changed my life and I am very excited to see other students get stoked for it.”
Every other year, OP usually offers a climbing trip on Mount Rainier and after introducing the Summit Series to students, Wogan hopes to get a group of students who are interested in climbing Mount Rainier.
“It’s a great way to develop participants for that trip,” Wogan said. “Mountaineering is an amazing sport. It’s beautiful, it’s a strenuous experience as well as a spiritual experience and we are finding that it’s extremely rewarding for students.”