Pacific Northwest Rock Climbing

Leadership & Guide Training Course
(12 days)

The eastern slope of the Cascades has high quality rock and uncommonly dry weather for quality year round climbing. -Kevin Forster

The North Cascades’ eastern slope is a mecca for climbers in the Pacific Northwest. The dry climate offers quality year round climbing under sunny skies. The varieties of routes and rock types offer excellent instructional opportunities.

High quality rock and uncommonly dry weather make this area a world-class destination. IWLS climbing instructors are incredibly accomplished and talented individuals, with a passion for sharing their skills and experience. You may lead a day of top roping at a wilderness crag, practice aid techniques on a thin crack, or safely learn to place traditional protection on lead.

Your IWLS Pacific Northwest Rock Climbing course may utilize the andesite at Tieton River. This 20 mile stretch of volcanic rock has over 400 routes, evenly distributed between sport and trad. Or you may head to Peshastin Pinnacles, with sandstone spires and uncommonly dry weather. With its endless climbing opportunities, the Northwest is the perfect place to gain the skills and confidence to lead rock climbing trips anywhere.

THE INSTRUCTORS AND GUIDES OF IWLS are widely recognized as some of the very best in their field and have practical leadership experience from around the globe. They are well trained and have an uncommon enthusiasm for sharing their skill and knowledge, borne out of a passion for outdoor exploration.

The International Wilderness Leadership Schools’ educational model nurtures leadership development and creates an awareness of the guiding mentality that is essential for leading safe, fun adventures in the mountains. The combination of technical skills training, experiential education and practical leadership experience make the IWLS curriculum world class.

THE IWLS GENERAL CURRICULUM outlines the essential components for effective outdoor leadership. Here are a few points that your course will focus on.

  • Leadership: Opportunities to lead the group will be abundant and you’ll have the time to learn and practice multiple styles of leadership.
  • Navigation: Learn how to take a bearing, read a topographical map, triangulate your position, and navigate in a whiteout.
  • Safety and Risk Management: Safety is always the #1 consideration. As the course progresses, you’ll develop an awareness to appropriately asses risk and make safe decisions.
  • Teaching: You’ll have the opportunity to develop lesson plans, teach in front of the group, and learn the importance of progressions for teaching technical skills and leadership.

-Kevin Forster

IWLS ROCK CLIMBING CURRICULUM is designed to create safe and strong technical climbers. Below are some examples of what you’ll learn:

  • Climbing Technique: Whether stemming an inside corner, jamming an off-width, or friction climbing on a blank slab, you’ll learn the techniques to climb efficiently on a variety of different features.
  • Rappelling: Rappelling down a steep rock face is a thrilling moment and our team will learn how to do it safely. We’ll also look at different methods for teaching rappelling and dealing with incapacitated climbers.
  • Route Selection: Where to set up the fixed belay? How to avoid objective hazards? How to select the most appropriate route from far below? You’ll learn the answer to these questions and more as we climb a variety of established routes in addition to possible first ascents.
  • High Angle Rescue: What happens when things go bad? We’ll practice escaping the belay and getting to the aid of an injured climber.

EXPERIENCE LEVEL No previous experience is necessary for this course. However, with a desire to learn and an enthusiasm for adventure, you’ll develop the skills necessary for a lifetime of wilderness exploration.

CERTIFICATIONS upon completion of the 12-day course, participants may qualify for the following certifications:

12 Day Guide Training Certificate of Completion
International Wilderness Leadership School


DATES & PRICES Please see our schedule for current dates and price information.