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RCK 2: Rock Lead Climbing Training, Aug. 15 - Aug. 16

RCK 2 is SMC's intermediate rock climbing training course spanning basic toproping through confident lead climbing. Students will learn how to set and assess single, multi-point, natural and artificial anchors, belay a leader and follower, effectively transition at the belay, rappell, lower, and utilize more advanced climbing techniques all outdoors on great rock over two days.

HOW TO REGISTER: Visit the official SMC website and sign in so you will be identified as having a full membership. Then register and pay the fee.

You must have a full membership to register: If you experience difficulties during the registration or membership process, please send an email to our webmaster at [masked]

TO FEDERAL AND STATE LAND USE AGENCIES, OUR MEMBERS AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC: Sierra Mountaineering Club is a 501(c)7 not-for-profit social and recreational club. Our mission is to be a community where people connect, learn and climb together. This is an official club-sponsored training which is only open to paid members and is held on private land. If you have questions about our mission or operations please read all provided information in this posting. If you would like to contact the club, please call (916)[masked] or [masked].



• Date: Friday August 15th - Saturday August 16th

• 16 hours of instruction

• Course registration is $160

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

• Minimum 4, Maximum 8. 

• Registration is first-come, first-serve.

• Instructor: Darren Shutt, (916)[masked]

• Location: Private crags proximate to Donner Summit

• Please bring the RCK 2 Syllabus, Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition and SMC Member Handbook.

• This course will be based entirely at an outdoor "classroom" and crags on private land at Donner Summit proximate to I-80. Please arrange your own camping or lodging. Donner Lake State Park is close by, as well as camping off the the section of the PCT from Hwy 40 to Donner Summit. 

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

• Emergencies: Truckee



Friday August 15th will be all outdoors from 10am - 6pm, with a later start to ease the burden of travel for folks coming from far away. Day 1 will focus on bridging the gap between top roping and being out on the "sharp end." We'll build upon the foundation of RCK 1 - basic rock climbing technique and belaying. After working on some preliminary knowledge and skills, we'll dive into anchor building, covering the entire spectrum of possible rock anchors, to include natural, artificial, single and multi-point configurations. Each will be addressed and demonstrated thoroughly, with time to for students to practice placement and assessment of each placement. The rest of the day will be preparing for our first time on lead, with foundational understanding of lead belaying, racking, and the all important transition stage at the anchor.

Saturday August 16th will be held outdoors from 8am to 4pm at a different crag, still close by. Day 2 begins with the last stages of preparation for leading, then tying in the lead in teams of 2. This next stage will have three parts: first, mock lead climbing on top rope. Once comfortable with that, we'll move to lead climbing with pre-placed protection, essentially sport climbing. Lastly, the full lead climbing experience for one pitch for teams that are ready. Also included if time allows will be transitioning from one leader to the next, transition to a lower, and transition to a rappell. The course will wrap up with sign-offs on RCK 1 items, questions, and a group reflection.

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 RCK 2 sign-off, get ready for the RCK 3 training course, and provides an opportunity to sign off on portions of RCK 1.




• Welcome and Orientation

• Hazards, Risks and Safety

• Forces and Knots in Rock Climbing

• Intermediate Climbing Technique

• Natural and Artificial Single Point Anchors

• Anchoring Demonstrations and Practice

• Assessing Anchors (SRENE or EARNEST)

• Building and Assessing Multi-Point Anchors

• The Continuum of Tactics

• Belay Anchors and Transitions

• Preparing for Lead Climbing


• Orientation, Safety

• Racking, Tying in and Route Finding for Lead Climbing in Teams of 2-3

• Mock Lead Climbing on Single Ropes

• Lead Climbing on Pre-Placed Anchors

• One-Pitch Lead Climbing in Teams

• Wrap Up, Questions, Sign Off RCK 1 items

• Group Reflection




• Wicking, breathable base layer, top and bottom

• Insulating, weather-resistant mid layer, top and bottom

• Wind and waterproof shell layer, top and bottom

• Insulating fill or down belay jacket

• Socks, liners

• Gloves or mittens

• Sunglasses

• Warm hat and/or balaclava

• Sun hat or covering


• Tent or bivouac - may be group gear

• 25 - 45 liter backpack - save space for group gear

• Sleeping bag or bedding for the Lodge

• High energy, easily prepared food, snacks and drinks

• Freeze-proof water bottles or container system

• Strong headlamp and extra batteries

• Sunscreen and lip balm

• Small personal first aid kit

• Toiletries, Personal items, medications, etc.

• RCK 2 Syllabus

• Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition

• Member Handbook

• Pen, paper

• Optional items for consideration: radio, altimeter, camera, small knife or multi-tool, bandana

Climbing Gear*

• Mountaineering boots or climbing shoes

• Harness

• Hard shell climbing helmet

• 2 locking and one non-locking carabiner

• 48" sewn sling

• Loop of 5mm cord

• Belay device

*If you are without some of this important safety gear, it may be available for loan upon prior request, first-come, first serve.
For help in selecting the appropriate item, please refer to the SMC Detailed Clothing, Equipment and Gear List


• Due to the significant upfront costs and prepayments which have been made by both the club and other members attending this course with you, the refund policy is meant to protect everyone. The refund policy will be as follows:

• $0 cancellation fee if you cancel further than one week from the course date;

• $50 cancellation fee if you cancel closer than five days from the course date;

• No refunds for cancellations made closer than three days from the course date.

• If you cancel and SMC is able to arrange a suitable substitute in time to take your spot, we will waive part, or all, of the cancellation fee.

• The course may be postponed or cancelled if weather causes road closure. However, in the event of heavy weather without road closure, the course will still be held.

• The course may be postponed or cancelled if mountain conditions are inherently unsafe or insufficient for successful instruction.

• The course may be postponed or cancelled if the course instructor(s) are sick or injured.

Important Information
• In order to attend, you must have an active paid membership with the Sierra Mountaineering Club so that you can place your name on the interest list.
• Permission has been obtained to hold this training on private land. Should you wish to inquire about such permissions, please contact the SMC Executive Director at (916)[masked] or [masked]
• All SMC outings practice established Leave No Trace principles to be good stewards of the land.
• Participant safety is our top priority. The itinerary described reflects the planned events, however circumstances beyond the leader's control, including weather, may necessitate changes.
• SMC carries radios, adequate medical kits, and requires all leaders to have current first aid and CPR training as well as specific technical climbing, leadership and SMC policy training
• Sierra Mountaineering Club is a 501(c)7 not-for-profit social and recreational mountaineering club. We partner with the USDA Forest Service, National Parks, State Parks, The Bureau of Land Management or private land owners to provide this opportunity. Our mission is to be a community where people connect, learn and climb together.

Leave No Trace
Sierra Mountaineering Club endorses the principles of LEAVE NO TRACE and expects all participants to abide by the following:
We Plan Ahead and Prepare By:
• Checking with local public land agencies
• Conducting research to know the area and what to expect
• Encouraging ride sharing to the trailhead
• Planning travel distances and activities
• Being prepared for emergencies and changing conditions
• Selecting the proper equipment for our activities and know how to use them
• Conducting trainings to increase the safety of our teams
We Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces By:
• Concentrating trail use in popular areas
• Hiking on existing trails to minimize impacts to soils and wildlife
• Selecting an appropriate campsite 200 feet from water and trails
• When selecting a backcountry campsite, choosing one with a durable surface
• When going off-trail, spreading our use to avoid trampling vegetation
We Pack It In and Pack It Out By:
• Reducing litter at the source by minimizing packaging
• Carrying out all trash, no matter how small
We Properly Dispose of What We Can't Pack Out By:
• Disposing of urine properly on rocks or durable surfaces
• Burying human feces in a cathole 6 inches deep at least 200 feet from water, trails and campsites.
• Carrying out solid waste in areas where required
• Carrying out all used toilet paper and personal sanitary products
• Keeping cooking and waste away from water sources
• Understanding and following all regulations for bear country
We Minimize Use and Impact of Fires By:
• Using portable camp stoves for cooking
• If fires are permissible and necessary for warmth or safety, using a mound fire
We Leave What We Find By:
• Respecting wildlife
• Minimizing campsite alterations - we believe good campsites are found, not made
• Avoiding damaging live trees and plants
• Leaving natural and cultural artifacts
We Are Considerate of Others By:
• Choose secluded camps and less popular areas to climb
• Taking rests in areas not visible from the trail
• Traveling in the smallest groups possible

Recommended Guide Services in California
Unlike SMC, the following are certified guide services. Our partners in climbing offer amazing adventures in the Sierra and beyond:
Shasta Mountain Guides -
Sierra Mountain Center -
Mountain Adventure Seminars -
Alpine Skills International -
Sierra Mountaineering International -

Questions? Need more information?

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

Join or login to comment.

  • Leath S.

    I can't make it til Friday evening now. I'll call Darren for the camping location Friday afternoon.

    August 13, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh. Too bad I didn't know this was an option :( I lead sport and took anchor class before (elsewhere), I wonder if I see another Fri-Sat class if paying and showing up only for Sat would be an option.

      August 14, 2014

    • Wayne

      Hey Leath, if your coming in late that means you get to bring the jiffy pop

      August 14, 2014

  • Aaron H.

    I'll be staying in tahoe for 4 days after the class so I'll drive myself up

    August 14, 2014

  • Wayne

    Anyone up for a carpool? I'm planning on leaving Dixon around 7am or so. Lauren, do you need a ride? I can stop by Davis on my way out. Sac folks (Leath and Aaron), you guys want to meet somewhere (Taylor Rd)?

    August 13, 2014

    • Wayne

      Hi Lauren, got your message. I'll see you in Davis around 720am. I also sent you an email just in case.

      August 14, 2014

  • Lauren A.

    Anyone live near San Jose/passing through San Jose?

    August 14, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Uh, I am not actually going to this. Lauren Allen registered from my computer and I guess it put me on. She's SMC member, I'm not (yet ;) waiting for a weekend course) I can hold the spot here if necessary. Just a heads up.

    August 12, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member


      August 12, 2014

    • Darren S.

      Payment went through fine; but we need to sort out membership info and such. Please have Lauren email me at [masked] or call[masked] tomorrow. Thanks Sergey.

      August 12, 2014

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