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. Basic lead belay and knot skills are also tested at the mandatory first lecture.
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 application period for the 2019 Ice Program will open in a few months, typically in the November/December time frame. Check back here for more info and exact dates for this year's program in October.
There are two mandatory lectures in Boston. Click Class Schedule link above for specific details (not yet updated for 2019).
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 few quick tests, including 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 required for all accepted students and those on the wait list still looking to get into the program.
New Hampshire Weekends
Following the lectures, two weekend trips take place in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Students are provided with lodging at the Harvard Cabin in Jackson, NH for Friday and Saturday nights of both weekends. This is a rustic cabin with loft sleeping. A large group dinner will be included on Saturday nights. Lodging is covered with the program fee and students are expected to stay in the cabin.
The first weekend is group oriented in order to teach basic skills. Day one is typically a single location with various skill stations, manned by our volunteer instructors. Students will learn a large range of basic skills. It is mostly focused on ice climbing basic technique. Day two is slightly more focused on mountain skills and will take place in a multi-pitch environment with emphasis on movement and self-arrest.
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.
- 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 $315 for AMC members and $375 for non-members. This includes:
- Lectures and NH weekend instruction
- Lodging for NH weekends
- Saturday night dinners
- Ice tool usage
Students are required to supply their own outdoors clothing, including boots. Many students rent them for the weekends. More info will be available during the second Boston lecture.
The Bill Clack memorial scholarship covers the cost of program tuition for one ice program student. To apply click the link below. The recipient will be notified by email after student selection (typically late December).