Basic Mountaineering School (BMS)

Some significant changes for Basic Mountaineering School (BMS). There really is no Basic Mountaineering School, per se. There is the (click on this link) Technical Climbing School (TCS). Within TCS are 16 classes, several of which you may take to complete requirements for a Basic Mountaineering certificate.

In the past, we offered BMS as a single course with fixed dates. You will still have that option. We are calling this Traditional package.

But now we are also offering BMS in a modular format.
That is, you will now be able to take individual classes offered at multiple and various times throughout the year instead of having to commit to the entire course.
Note that the two tracks are not interchangeable; that is, you go with either the Traditional package or with the Modules.

If you choose to take the modular path, you will register for each of the required class modules on the dates that work for you. If you choose to take the Traditional path, you will register for a single event that is comprised of mostly fixed dates (which will be listed).

With the introduction of the modular system, we are also revising the prerequisites. Some of the modular classes have other class prerequisites. A prerequisite for Intermediate Rock, for example, is Basic Climbing. But we have eliminated the C Classification requirement for the classes. We are, however, requiring you to have the C Classification before you attend two graduation climbs: the Snow Couloir Climb and the High Peak Alpine Climb.

This means that you could theoretically take some of the classes required for Basic Mountaineering before you take Wilderness Trekking/Backpacking.

To register, and to see more detail about what is covered in each class, go to the CMC site, click on the Calendar (filter for Classes), and look for matching title and/or starting date.

Classes required for completion of Basic Mountaineering:
Navigation Level 1 (Basic Map and Compass)
Navigation Level 2
Basic Climbing
Intermediate Rock
Basic Snow
Technical Snow (plus Couloir Climb)
High Peak Climb

Classes required for the new Intermediate Mountaineering Certificate:
Rock Self Rescue Level 1
Rock Seconding
Basic Ice
Alpine Clinic (tentative)

Basic Mountaineering School (BMS) provides you with the skills needed to participate safely on non-glaciated CMC mountaineering climbs within Colorado in all weather conditions. These skills include navigation and route finding, planning and organizing climbs, rock climbing skills for following on fourth and fifth class routes, and snow climbing skills up to and including climbing with crampons and mountaineering axes.

The goal of the school is to graduate only members who can safely and competently participate in club mountaineering activities. As a result, BMS is a physically and psychologically demanding school for CMC members who are interested in high peak climbing or rock climbing. It teaches the knowledge and skills they need to pursue these sports safely and sensibly and it gives them an appreciation of their strengths and limitations with an understanding and respect for the mountain environment. These objectives are achieved through a time-intensive schedule of lectures and field trips. Significant personal effort (reading, trip planning, knot practice etc.) outside of class is also required. Prospective students must attend all lectures and field trips and are encouraged to postpone applying until their schedule permits. Prospective students must be able to climb 1000 vertical feet per mile/hour carrying a 30 lb pack to be able to participate in field trips successfully.

Successful completion of Denver BMS (or its equivalent) is a requirement for a Denver Group D hiking classification and is required for the High Altitude Mountaineering School (HAMS) and is recommended for the Traditional Lead Climbing School (TLCS).

For more information on classes offered by the Tech Section:
Technical School Classes

For additional information, see also our full CMC Schools Site or contact Bill Haneghan at

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