SMC SIG 1+: Snow, Ice and Glacier Climbing Level 1 and 2 Training Course

  • January 25, 2014 · 10:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members

SMC's premier snow climbing course, this essential training provides the foundation for mountaineering. With a full 16 hours of focused instruction split between the classroom and the mountain, you'll get a solid understanding of the fundamental snow skills you'll need to venture higher. This course is being held in Southern California for the benefit of our So Cal members! All are welcome to attend.

SIG 1 provides a very specific focus on important details such as a confident self-arrest, climbing technique with and without crampons and an ice axe, self-belay, descending, traversing, glissading, safety and all the cool gear, as well as a broad overview of the scope of modern ice climbing. This particular course will also focus on glacier travel and crevasse rescue from SIG 2. Course completion better qualifies you to attend club climbs that require SIG 1 skills. We have room for 20 students and there are 5 instructors. For current SMC members only. Not a member? Join here. 


A video from a previous SMC snow climbing training:




• 16 hours of instruction, with 8 hrs. in the classroom and 8 hrs. outdoors

• Maximum 5:1 student-to-instructor ratio

• Students please bring the SIG 1 Syllabus, SIG 2 Syllabus, Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition and SMC Member Handbook if you've recieved it yet. If not the handbook, schedule and stickers will be delivered to you.

• To develop proficiency with you own gear, you are encouraged to use your own. If you're missing something, loaner gear is available, except footwear. Please let us know as soon as possible if you need something.

• Course registration requires a fee to help cover classroom rental and related expenses.

• For current SMC members only. Not a member? Join SMC here.

• Registration is first-come, first-serve. We have room for 20 students.

• This course will be based at the Sierra Club's Harwood Lodge at the base of Mt. Baldy.  Accommodations for Saturday night are available on site for $15. The lodge has a fully equipped kitchen, dormitory sleeping facilities and restrooms with showers. Visitors must furnish their own sleeping bag or bedding and other personal items. After your course registration is confirmed, you can pay the fee on the event posting on Meetup, through PayPal. Address is Mt. Baldy Rd, CA 91759. 




DAY 1, 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

• Welcome and Orientation

• Hazards, Risks and Safety

• Snow Climbing Technique

• Self-Arrest Overview

• Self-Belay Overview

• The Cycle of Snow

• Snow and Ice Climbing Gear and Knots

• Ratings, Mountain Features and Terminology

DAY 2, 8:00 am - 4:00 pm

• Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue Overview

• Understanding Glaciers and Glacier Hazards

• Roped Team Travel - spacing, gear, tie in, travel

• Steps in Crevasse Rescue

• Snow and Ice Anchors and Systems

• Crevasse Rescue "Z" drag 3:1 system

• Ascending the Rope - Texas Kick

• SIG 2 Wrap-Up




Saturday, the classroom session in the Harwood Lodge from 10am to 6pm will include multimedia presentations, small group discussions, and hands-on-learning. Where possible we will be outside practicing the things we are learning about, and there will be opportunities to handle and use all the gear and process the concepts we discuss.

Sunday will be held outdoors from 8am to 4pm continuing with next steps in the SIG discipline, focusing primarily on glacier travel and crevasse rescue. This means we'll practice snow and ice anchors and systems, roping up as a team, travel and assessment of the glacier, and all the steps in crevasse rescue from arresting a fall to the 3:1 Z-drag system to ascending a rope out of a crevasse.  

This course has limited enrollment and a low student-to-instructor ratio so we can be sure you are learning the key skills and concepts required to safely participate in future club outings, or outings of your own.

Successful course completion prepares you to effectively pursue SIG 1 sign-off, get ready for the SIG 2 training course, and most importantly better qualifies you to attend technical club climbing events like these:




• Sleeping bag or bedding for the Lodge

• Food, drinks

• Mountain axe

• Mountaineering boots

• Steel crampons, fit to your boots

• Climbing harness

• Mountaineering helmet

• 2 locking carabiners

• 48" loop of cord or sling

• 25 - 45 liter backpack

• Trekking pole(s) with snow baskets

• Food, water and snacks

• Appropriate base layers, mid-layers and shell layers

•  Touque and/or balaclava 

• Gloves and/or mittens

• Glasses

• Ten Essentials

• First Aid Kit

SIG 1 Syllabus and SIG 2 Syllabus

• Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition

• Member Handbook

• Pen, paper, camera



Questions? Need more information?

Email the SMC Mountaineering Director at [masked] or call (916)[masked] if you have questions regarding this course. 

Looking forward to having you out there with us!


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  • Phil M.

    Great to meet some more SMC members. Thanks to Damian, Mihai and Kelvin for helping out with the instruction. Overall it was another great SMC event. Great group of folks that made the most of the learning opportunities available for a snow and ice course with no snow or ice anywhere to be seen! Looking forward to connecting with everyone at again on future club climbing evernts!

    5 · January 28, 2014

  • Eric

    Well done! to all. No weak links in this chain..well, okay, Tony ha ha

    3 · January 27, 2014

    • Tony D.

      typical, blame the latino... ;)

      1 · January 27, 2014

  • Tony D.

    really well done by all... even the ones having problems going up the tree... old age and/or lack of exercise can do that to you... ;)

    2 · January 27, 2014

  • Bryan E.

    Great job by all EL's and members in adapting to the conditions (lack of snow/ice). A well organized event with loads of information. This event also had a scrumptious potluck style dinner accompanied by climbing video/pictures narrated with first hand accounts.

    Great night cap to a fun day.

    3 · January 27, 2014

  • Mihai

    Another great event in SoCal! Many thanks to our great organizers and all from across the state who joined us in teaching, learning and building a stronger community. Despite the lack of snow, I thought we made the best of the situation and I hope all who came found the experience worthwhile. Hope to see you soon!

    2 · January 27, 2014

  • Damian

    It was great to meet more SoCal SMC folks and to see climbing buddies from past trips!

    5 · January 27, 2014

  • Mihai

    Is anyone interested in carpooling from San Fernando Valley or points along the 210 freeway?

    January 23, 2014

  • Darren S.

    Hey everyone, this class is now full. Please pay the lodging fee here on Meetup. Looking forward to it!

    December 19, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Will there be another nor Cal class. Debating the drive....

    1 · November 21, 2013

    • Darren S.

      Hi April, yes there will be another SIG 1. On March 15-16th. Will be posted to the calendar in the next month or so.

      November 21, 2013

  • Darren S.

    So Cal folks: a little love coming your way!!! Registration is now open.

    November 20, 2013

  • Elena

    A little taste of the climb:

    1 · November 20, 2013

    • Mihai

      From our ascent last January, nice!

      November 20, 2013

24 went

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