The Boston Mountaineering Committee’s annual Ice Climbing Program teaches waterfall ice climbing and technical mountaineering skills to students with outdoor rock climbing experience. We focus on the equipment, techniques, and practices that are useful on the mountains and crags of New England as well as ice climbing areas worldwide. Our program is entirely volunteer run and offers new climbers the opportunity to meet and learn from our community of climbing enthusiasts.
This course does not teach basic climbing skills and most admitted students will have experience both rock climbing outdoors and participating in outdoor winter activities. We assess each student's level of experience through our application system in order to maximize safety and education for all participants.
Admittance into the program is usually quite competitive since class size is approximately 20 students. We encourage you to take your time and fill out a quality application. The 2017 Ice Program application is now closed. Program dates for 2018 will be posted to our website October, 2017.
There are two mandatory lectures in Boston at the AMC Joy St. Cabot Auditorium.
The first lecture is open to all prospective students. It will provide an overview of the program and you'll get a chance to meet some of the instructors. Prospective students will also take a lead belay test. Feel free to bring your own harness and belay device, although we will provide it if you don't bring one.
The second lecture is focused on logistics, planning, and basic instruction in the classroom environment. This lecture is open to accepted students and those on the wait list.
Following the lectures, two weekend trips take place in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. The first weekend is generally group oriented in an attempt to teach basic skills. The second weekend typically gives students a chance to go out in a follow-the-leader type of scenario. Objectives vary depending on student interests, conditions, and available volunteer leaders.
Lodging will be included for both of the program weekends at the Harvard Low Cabin. A group dinner is provided on Saturday evenings.
- Ice climbing specific and general winter outdoor gear (during lectures)
- Basic movement on ice and snow, how to walk in crampons, etc.
- Self arrest
- Climbing low angle ice (french technique, how to clear bulges, etc.)
- Ice screw placement, removal, and v-threads
- Waterfall ice climbing *
- Mixed climbing (rock and ice) *
- Alpine climbing (Mt. Washington or similar) *
* Will vary depending on student abilities, ice conditions, and available volunteer leaders.
The cost of the program is $300 for AMC members and $350 for non-members.
Download ice program handouts, technique guides, etc. on our Resources Page.