TCS Glacial Travel Mountaineering School


We are excited to announce that High Altitude Mountaineering School (formerly HAMS) has been renamed and reformatted to now be Glacier Travel which took place in 2022. This new class will focus strictly on Glacier Travel, Rope travel and Crevasse rescue. Students will be informed of admission into Glacier Travel once their applications have been reviewed.

The Glacier Travel Mountaineering School is for CMC members who are interested in learning and practicing the glacier travel and alpine skills that are needed to safely climb and enjoy glaciated mountains, including Peaks in the Pacific Northwest (Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Mt. Adams), Denali, the Andes, and the Himalayas! Glacier Travel culminates in a climb of Mt. Rainier, Mt Baker, Mt Adams or a similar high, glaciated peak.

The Glacier Travel curriculum consists of a series of lectures and practice sessions on "Glacier Travel/ Crevasse rescue" module. The lectures and practice sessions are held at the AMC building in Golden, CO. Several training days for glacier travel, crevasse rescue, winter hiking and glacier camping practice are also put on the calendar. Students who complete Glacier Travel will be able to demonstrate proficiency with advanced mountaineering technical skills, including:

  • roped glacier travel (including ice ax and crampon technique for ascending and descending, self-arrest, building snow anchors, executing a running belay, and using ascenders on fixed ropes)
  • crevasse rescue
  • winter expedition camping

The skills covered in the Glacier Travel module in the lectures and practice sessions can be applied during the training trips in January, February, and March. To complete Glacier Travel, students must also complete a co-requisite module, they must participate in an Expedition Camping in March and Couloir Climbing weekend in the spring; they must have climbed at least three Colorado snow couloirs; and they must participate on a high peak expedition trip requiring Glacier Travel, typically Mt. Rainier.

Glacier Travel Senior Instructors have been on multiple expeditions to climb high, glaciated peaks - learn from those who have been there!


Glacier Travel Pre-requisites:

This is not a school for beginners! Glacier Travel students should have rock, snow, and anchor experience: i.e., you must be proficient with climbing knots, belaying, rappelling, navigation, crampon and ice ax technique, self-arrest, glissading, and ascending a rope. Most importantly, you must have proficiency climbing hard-snow couloirs, setting snow anchors, walking in crampons, executing a self arrest, and tying all relevant knots.

The formal prerequisites for admission to Glacier Travel are:

  • Successful completion of the CMC's Alpine Climbing School or equivalent.
    • Navigation 1 & 2 
    • Intermediate Rock
    • Technical Snow
    • Rock Rescue-Self Rescue (Knowing how to ascend a rope is a core skill for glacier travel BUT is not one that is taught in Glacier Travel. Rock Rescue teaches this core skill.)
    • Successful completion of Basic Anchors. ALL STUDENTS must know how to build a NERDSS anchor. An understanding of how to transfer the load and extend the anchor if needed is paramount.
  • AIARE1- must be completed by end of class - A high peak alpine snow climb (as required for ACS certificate), e.g. Longs Peak via Lamb's Slide and the Clark's Arrow route. (Knowing how to read avalanche terrain is important for couloir climbs as well as on glaciers- this is not taught in Glacier Travel.)
  • Ideally, all applicants should have climbed at least three couloirs, but at a bare minimum we require at least one completed couloir climb (as required for Technical Snow). A single, incomplete couloir attempt is not sufficient to qualify for admission to HAMS.
  • Highly recommend completion or Wilderness First Aid (WFA) or Wilderness First Responder (WFR). 

2024 Glacier Travel Schedule

If you are accepted into Glacier Travel, you MUST be able to make the dates as scheduled below. If a student misses more than one lecture or field day (unless written permission is given by the Director), the student may not be allowed to participate on a Glacier Travel grad climb. Every year students do not graduate Glacier Travel due to lack of attendance. THERE ARE NO MAKE UP DATES FOR MISSED CLASSES OR FIELD DAYS!

  • Wed Jan 3 - Intro Class At American Mountaineering Center-AMC in Golden
  • Wed Jan 10- dividing the rope, kiwi coil, anchors and pulleys-AMC in Golden
  • Wed Jan 17 - crevasse rescue/ rope travel-AMC in Golden
  • Sat OR Sun Jan 20 or 21 - Rope travel at St. Mary’s
  • Wed Jan 24- Wall Night at AMC
  • Sat OR Sun Feb 3 or 4 - Crevasse rescue at St. Mary’s
  • Wed Feb 7 - Terrain & Avy Avoidance/ Micro-morts and Medical- AMC in Golden
  • Wed Feb 21 - Trip planning / Expenditions & Winter camping- AMC in Golden
  • Sat OR Sun  Feb 17 or 18 or 25 or 26 - Winter climb trips (just one day)- TBD
  • Tue Feb 28 – Accidents & Nutrition - AMC in Golden
  • Sat/Sun March 4 &5 - Winter camp / Test out over night- Second creek trailhead
  •  Wed March 13 -Grad climb talk and lecture (TBD)- AMC in Golden
  • Sat May 4- Grad climb snow day practice- Winter park

Activities AFTER the conclusion of the Glacier Travel Lecture and Field Day Series:

Couloir Climbs: Grad Climb training climbs - April through June, trip schedule TBD (and weather-dependent). Note: to participate on a grad climb, you must have climbed at least two couloirs with the teammates and trip leaders on your grad trip. LEAVE YOUR WEEKENDS OPEN TILL YOUR TEAM PICKS DATES

Glacier Travel Glaciated Peak Grad Climb (N.B. cost of grad climb is SEPARATE from the Glacier Travel lecture series fee) Expect to pay around $700 or more for flights, rental cars, permits, hotels and food/fuel.  

  • High Glaciated Peak expedition, e.g. Mt. Rainier, Mt Adams, etc: No Glacier Travel graduates will be allowed to participate on a Glacier Travel affiliated grad climb (e.g. Mt. Rainier) unless they have passed crevasse rescue and climbed at least two couloirs after the end of Glacier Travel and prior to the grad climb.


Glacier Travel Class Lectures, Practice Sessions, and Expedition Camping:

Registrations on or before November 30, 2023- $450

Registrations after November 30, 2023: $500

Current Trip Leaders: $400 (Contact Jennifer for discount)

Glacier Travel Glaciated Peak Grad Climb: TBD (but expect it to be over $700) (N.B. cost of grad climb is separate from the Glacier Travel lecture series fee. Budget and trip plan to be determined by team.)

ALL applications must be submitted by December 22, 2023!     Class size will be limited.

Once approved by the Director, you will be provided a registration link.

For more info, please contact the Glacier Travel Director, Jennifer Bealer at

Glacier Travel Application Form:

 Applicants will be notified of acceptance starting in December 2023.

Complete application form here

Other Links:

CO Avalanche Info Center