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SMC MTN 1 - Mountaineering Level 1 Training Course

SMC's premier mountaineering course, this essential training provides the foundation for alpine climbing. With a full 16 hours of focused instruction split between the classroom and the mountain, you'll get a solid understanding of the fundamental skills you'll need to venture higher. MTN 1 provides both a very specific focus on important details such as winter camping, mountain travel, navigation and route finding, scrambling, backcountry snowshoeing, lightweight clothing and gear all the way out to an overview of the scope of modern mountaineering. Course completion better qualifies you to attend club climbs that require MTN 1 skills. We have room for 10 students. For current SMC members only. Not a member? Join here. 


A video from last year's Intro to Mountaineering training:



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

• Maximum 5:1 student-to-instructor ratio

Classroom materials available online. Please print and bring: MTN 1 SyllabusSMC CEG listLightweight Mountaineering Table. Please bring Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition, in a digital or hard copy.

• All instructional and technical gear can be provided, except footwear. You are encouraged to use your own gear. Please let us know as soon as possible if you need loaner gear.

• 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 10 students

• Accommodations: The club has rented a house at Serene Lakes near Soda Springs CA in the Donner Summit area.  The rate is $75 per person.  There are two Queen beds and four single beds and a couch for sleeping.  So depending on the enrollment, there may be a need for 3 folks to sleep on the carpeted floor in loft area with their pad and sleeping bag.  Please plan to bring your sleeping bag instead of using the bed linens.  The house is very pleasant with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, a nice living room with fireplace, a full kitchen, hot tub, TV's.  There is no wifi and cell phone service is spotty to non-existent due to the remote location.  




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

• Overview of SMC and all MTN Courses 

• Safety, Risks and Rewards of Mountaineering

• Scope and Opportunities of Modern Mountaineering  

• Wilderness Travel and Climbing Orientation

• Lightweight Clothing, Equipment and Gear 

• Comprehensive Clothing Concepts and Overview 

• Comprehensive Equipment and Technical Gear Overview 

• Basic Map and Compass Navigation and Routefinding Concepts 

DAY 2, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

• Winter Hiking or Snowshoeing Overview and Practice

• Basic Map and Compass Navigation and Routefinding Practice

• Wilderness Travel Practice 

• Scrambling Concepts and Practice 

• “Spotting” and Short Belay Concepts and Practice 

• Backcountry Camping Overview and Concepts 

• Tents, Operation, Usage and Strategies

• Stoves, Operation and Usage

• Water and Hydration

• Non-Technical Mountaineering Concepts and Practice 

• MTN 2 Overview and Registration 




Saturday, the classroom session from 10am to 6pm will include multimedia presentations 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 equipment and tools and to understand the concepts we discuss.

Sunday will be held outside from 9am to 5pm and will focus on putting your skills to work with fairly extensive map and compass navigation, routefinding practice, off trail and rock scrambling, finding and making a camp and practicing your skills under the supervision of SMC instructors and mentors. We put it all together as a team, practicing all the elements of a peak climb culminating in a summit of a nearby peak.

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 pursue MTN 1 sign-off, get ready for the MTN 2 training course, and most importantly better qualifies you to attend club climbing events like these:



• Mountain axe

• Mountaineering boots

• Steel crampons, fit to your boots

• Mountaineering helmet

• Harness 

• 25 - 45 liter backpack

• Trekking pole(s) with snow baskets 

• Compass with adjustable declination

• Food, water and snacks

• Appropriate base layers, mid-layers and shell layers

•  Touque and/or balaclava 

• Gloves and/or mittens

• Ten Essentials

• Altimeter, if available

• First Aid Kit

• Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills, 8th Edition

• Pen, paper, camera


Refund / Cancellation Policy: 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 two weeks from the course date;

• $50 cancellation fee if you cancel closer than two weeks from the course date;

• No refunds for cancellations made closer than one week 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, injured or deceased.

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!


Join or login to comment.

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great group of folks once again. Lots of material to cover in a short time - but we had a sharp group who excelled. I enjoyed meeting the new folks and reconnecting with old friends. The Summit restaurant is becoming a regular part of the course it seems. A fun time to connect with everyone and have some fun conversation at the end of the first day.

    January 5, 2014

  • Eric S.

    Hello, I am checking out your club and was wondering about the fee structure. I see membership is $80 per year per person. I see there are cancellation policies, but I can't find any info on club costs, say for mountaineering training courses or club trips to say Rainier or Shasta. I do see there are additional fees for lodging and such. Thanks for giving me info on this piece of the club.
    Eric S.

    January 4, 2014

  • Ed

    Any openings?

    December 29, 2013

    • Darren S.

      Hi Ed, we do have openings still. Please follow the links in the posting to take you to the SMC website where you can register.

      December 31, 2013

  • George S.

    Thanks for the reminder. Just paid.

    December 16, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Can not find link to pay for cabin. Please help!

      December 17, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Nevermind- found it on the full meet up site (instead of mobile site)

      December 17, 2013

  • Darren S.

    Hey all, please pay for the cabin if you are staying there. It is where we will be teaching the course as well, we're staying there, we recommend it, and it's a great place. You can pay right here on Meetup. Thank you.

    1 · December 16, 2013

  • Darren S.

    Welcome to everyone else! This date is now full. Please check out our next session of MTN 1 in March.

    December 9, 2013

  • Darren S.

    Welcome to MTN 1 Danielle and Richard!

    November 18, 2013

  • Darren S.

    Welcome to MTN 1 Mary and Coby!

    November 15, 2013

  • Darren S.

    Welcome aboard MTN 1 George, Natasha and Marissa!

    November 14, 2013

  • Darren S.

    Welcome aboard MTN 1 Johnnie!

    1 · November 8, 2013

  • Darren S.

    This event is NOT FULL. Go to to register, or better yet follow the links in the posting.

    November 8, 2013

18 went

Your organizer's refund policy for SMC MTN 1 - Mountaineering Level 1 Training Course

Refunds are not offered for this Meetup.

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