2019 Rock Program

Have you started climbing in a gym, but want to take your skills outside? Are you an avid hiker who wants to ascend steeper terrain? Or are you just looking for a fun and exciting outdoor sport? Come learn to rock climb with the Appalachian Mountain Club! 

The Boston Mountaineering Committee’s annual Rock Program teaches basic outdoor climbing skills. Graduates will learn the techniques needed to help them safely follow a leader on a multi-pitch climb. No prior climbing experience is required!

Program Details

The Rock Program is about rock climbing outdoors, in particular learning about the rope techniques and safety systems used in outdoor climbing. Our focus is on preparing students to be safe and capable followers for trad climbs, but we teach a variety of skills that are useful for other kinds of outdoor rock climbing. For example, students will learn to setup top-rope anchors, clean sport anchors, and so on.

Our program is run and taught by volunteers. Our instructors are experienced rock climbers who have been teaching rock climbing for many years.

The program consists of one evening session, one full weekend session, and three single-day weekend sessions. The weekend sessions run from 8:15am until approximately 4:30pm. The formal instruction should be complete by 1-2pm, and then we will set up topropes for climbing and other activities for the rest of the day (weather permitting.)


You must be at least 18 years old to take this program on your own. We will also accept 16 and 17 year olds as long as a parent or legal guardian is taking the program with their child.

You must also have the following equipment:

  • Climbing harness

  • Mountaineering helmet. Other kinds of helmets (bicycling, skiing, skateboarding, etc.) are NOT acceptable.

  • A tube or plaquette style belay/rappel device (such as the Black Diamond ATC, Petzl Verso, Mammut Crag Light, etc.) The device must be suitable for both rappelling and belaying on two ropes!

  • Two locking carabiners (one of them should be a HMS or pear-shaped carabiner; the other can be regular size.)

If you do not own a harness, helmet, belay/rappel device, or locking carabiners, you can borrow any or all of them from us at no cost other than a deposit.

Other gear, such as ropes, anchor materials, etc. will be provided. Climbing shoes are nice to have but not strictly required -- our program is primarily about the rope techniques and safety systems, not about climbing per se. There have been a number of students who have completed the program with hiking boots or sneakers.

Application and Registration

The application period for the 2019 program has ended. If you missed the application period, please try again next year. Dates for the 2020 program should be posted in September 2019.


The registration fee for the program is $170 for AMC members and $220 for non-members. You can wait to join the AMC until you have been admitted to the program.

The Rock Program offers financial assistance to applicants in need. If you would like to request financial assistance, please complete the associated question on the application form.

At Knots Night, all students will receive the following materials:

  • A copy of "Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills", 9th edition, by The Mountaineers

  • A copy of our program handbook

  • A sewn nylon sling

  • A length of climb-spec nylon accessory cord for a prusik loop