A rope team ascends St. John in the Waddington Range.

Mountaineering Courses

Camera Robert Hakim

Mountaineering Courses

Reach New Heights with Mountaineering Courses at NOLS

Each NOLS mountaineering course is designed to deliver the fundamental skills you need to travel in high-altitude landscapes. You’ll develop mountaineering skills like rope handling, traveling over mixed glaciated terrain, and building anchors with an ice axe or other tools.

Depending on the course, you may encounter a mix of rock, snow, and ice, in which case you'll spend time learning about technical rock climbing, snow or winter camping, or extended glacier travel. No matter what, you’ll find a variety of challenges in every mountain environment to push you and challenge you.

Why Choose NOLS Mountaineering Courses?

Our mountaineering courses are carefully crafted to give participants the essential skills, knowledge, and confidence to navigate the most awe-inspiring mountains and glaciated peaks.

Students mountaineering on a snowy slope of the remote and rugged Andes in Chilean Patagonia.

Expert Mountaineering Instructors

Our mountaineering courses are led by expert instructors who are highly skilled, certified professionals and passionate climbers with extensive mountain climbing experience. With their wealth of knowledge and firsthand expertise, they guide and inspire students to become proficient and responsible mountaineers. Our instructors create an empowering learning environment that fosters growth and personal development. Assessing and managing risk is our top priority, as our instructors undergo rigorous training in risk management and wilderness first aid.
Silhouetted students backpacking across a giant snow field in the Alaskan Wilderness at sunset with snowy mountains in the distance.

Hone Your Alpine Climbing Skills

From technical climbing skills such as mountain climbing, alpine rock climbing, and alpine ice climbing, to route planning and navigation, risk management, and Leave No Trace principles, our thoughtfully designed mountaineering courses ensure you gain the necessary expertise. Learn to navigate various terrains, make informed decisions, and handle emergencies effectively. We prioritize sustainability, teaching you how to minimize your impact on the environment and preserve the mountains' beauty for future generations.
Two backpacking students wade through the water at Holden Lake in the North Cascades.

Unforgettable Wilderness Expeditions

Immerse yourself in stunning landscapes as you embark on transformative journeys, forming deep connections with both your fellow participants and the natural world. These expeditions are the perfect opportunity to apply your knowledge, challenge yourself, and create lifelong memories. Amidst the iconic backdrop of glaciated peaks, you'll not only experience the thrill of glacier mountaineering but also become part of a close-knit community. Forge lasting friendships with fellow adventurers who share your passion, supporting each other through challenges and celebrating triumphs along the way.
Students pause while mountaineering at to watch the sunrise.

A Legacy of Outdoor Leadership

For over 50 years, NOLS has been a leading force in outdoor education, cultivating a legacy of developing exceptional outdoor leaders. Our mountaineering courses go beyond technical skills, fostering leadership, resilience, and teamwork. We believe in empowering our students to thrive not only in the wilderness but also in their everyday lives. Join us to embark on a transformative journey that will shape you into a capable and confident leader, equipped with the diverse skills learned throughout the course and the mindset to navigate any challenge that comes your way.

NOLS Mountaineering Courses

Ready to take your alpine climbing aspirations to new heights? From exploring the snowy peaks of the Cascade Range to the majestic summits of the Andes, NOLS offers a host of mountaineering courses that will exceed your expectations.

Instructor course in the Wrangell Mountains, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, in Alaska.

Alaska Mountaineering Courses

Embark on an unforgettable Alaska Range adventure with a team of motivated peers, aged 23 and up. Explore the breathtaking glaciated terrain and climb the high peaks of the Chugach Range. Over two weeks, master the fundamental skills required for ice and snow travel. Learn mountaineering essentials, including snow camping, avalanche safety, and crevasse rescue. Develop outdoor expertise while refining leadership abilities through rope team travel, self-arrest techniques, and effective communication. Return home with newfound confidence, lasting friendships, and invaluable leadership skills applicable in all areas of life.
Students use crampons to backpack across a snowy field surrounded by mountains in Patagonia.

Patagonia Mountaineering Courses

Discover adventure amidst the peaks, rivers, and coastal rainforests of Patagonia. Learn essential mountain living and travel skills while witnessing breathtaking sunrises and savoring delicious camp stove meals. Master navigation, knot tying, rescue techniques, and rope handling necessary for mountaineering. Develop your leadership style through small community living, communication, and decision-making in challenging terrain. No prior experience required—our instructors will guide you. Leave with enhanced leadership awareness, continuous growth skills, and lifelong mountain exploration opportunities.
Students mountaineering on a snowy slope in the remote and rugged North Cascade Range.

North Cascades Mountaineering Expeditions

Explore the rugged beauty of the North Cascades in the Pacific Northwest with motivated peers aged 23 and up. Ascend the iconic slopes of the Cascade Range including Mount Baker, Mt. Shuksan, Eldorado Peak, and Sahale Peak, traversing glaciated peaks and snowfields. Develop technical mountaineering skills for living and traveling on ice and snow, while honing leadership and risk management abilities. Experience breathtaking sunrises over snow-covered peaks before embarking on summit attempts. Learn winter camping, Leave No Trace, climbing techniques, and glacier navigation through boulder fields and mountain passes. Enhance your leadership, communication, and teamwork skills, gaining confidence for leading in all aspects of life with this North Cascades alpine climbing course.
A student looking out over snowy peaks while mountaineering in the Wind River Range.

Wind River Mountaineering Course

Explore Wyoming's stunning Wind River Range and conquer new heights on this exhilarating course. Traverse snowy glaciers, climb high passes, and delve into lodgepole pine forests. Whether you're a first-time camper or a seasoned backpacker, this expedition offers fresh challenges for all. Learn essential mountaineering skills like belaying, rappelling, and building anchors in snow and rock. Test your abilities on famous peaks, including Wyoming's tallest, Gannett Peak. Gain not only mountaineering expertise but also invaluable leadership experience. Communicate, adapt, and thrive as part of a close-knit team, and emerge as a capable leader ready to tackle any endeavor.