Mt Jefferson
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In Outdoor Activities

Climb School 2015

Learn the fundamentals of rock and alpine climbing with the Chemeketans! Join us for two evening sessions on April 8th and 15th and one full weekend of training and skill-building on April 18th and 19th.

About Climb School

The annual Climb School is a great introduction to basic mountaineering and rock climbing skills. Chemeketan Climb School, or an equivalent, is required to participate in the club sponsored climbs. Please read this description and, if interested, register at the end of the page under the Registration section. Climb School dates for 2015 are April 8, 15, 18 and 19.

The Chemeketans have been offering their basic climb school for decades and, though we are not a guide service, our instructors and members have many years of climbing and outdoor experience. We pride ourselves on our dedication to promoting mountaineering safety and to sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm about climbing with everyone associated with the program. All instructors and participating assistants are volunteers who enjoy both climbing and the opportunity to teach others and introduce them to the activity.

Climb School 2015

The purpose of Climb School is to introduce students to the basic rock and snow skills necessary to participate safely on club climbs. It also serves to introduce students to the physical and mental requirements to become safe and proficient team members, and provides a foundation for further learning.

Though no previous climb experience is necessary, it should be noted that mountaineering is a strenuous activity and participants should be in good physical condition. Being in good physical and aerobic shape will both allow you to enjoy the activity and enhance your ability to participate successfully.

The number of Climb School participants is limited to 45. Climb School students must be at least 16 years old by April 18, 2015. Each Climb School student who is 16 or 17 years old must be accompanied by a responsible adult who is a paid Climb School participant and agrees to stay with the younger participant throughout the field session weekend. (The Climb School Coordinator retains the right to waive the fees of the participant guardian at the Coordinator's discretion.) Climb School students who are at least 18 years old do not require an accompanying guardian.

Course Outline

The basic Climb School is divided into both classroom (lecture and hands-on activities) and field sessions. Classroom activities focus on presentations regarding types of climbing, climb terminology, packing, equipment description and requirements, risk elements, fitness and nutrition, knot practice, and discussion of field session logistics. The field sessions introduce the student to basic skills such as belaying, rappelling, self-arrest with an ice axe, moving safely on rock, and travelling as a rope team, and allow the student to learn and practice these in a safe and controlled environment.

Check out the Climb School Handbook

Classroom Sessions will be held on two Wednesdays, April 8 and 15, 2015, from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm, in the Anderson Rooms A & B at the Salem Public Library in downtown Salem (585 Liberty St SE). Parking is available both in local garages and on-street, but you may need to feed the meter prior to 6pm. Students must attend both classroom sessions to complete the course.

Climb School 2015
Field Sessions will be held on Saturday-Sunday, April 18-19, 2015. These two days are devoted to rock climbing practice at Horse Thief Butte on Saturday and snow skills near Timberline at Mt. Hood on Sunday. Horse Thief Butte is on the Washington side of the Columbia River opposite The Dalles, Oregon. Students are responsible for their own transportation. Carpooling is encouraged. We'll be camping Saturday night at Horse Thief Lake campground near Horse Thief Butte and eating as a group at Spooky's Pizza, a local restaurant in The Dalles. Climb School fees include camping at Horsethief Lake Park and the Saturday night buffet dinner at Spooky's. Students are responsible for their own breakfast and lunch both field session days. Washington State Parks imposes a $10 parking charge for extra (any vehicle beyond the first at a site) vehicles at the campground so, again, carpooling is encouraged. Students are responsible for their parking costs for any extra vehicles. In addition, vehicles parked at Timberline Lodge for the Sunday snow session require a snow pass permit.

Climb School Participation Fees for 2015

After enrolling online, please mail your tuition fees to the address shown below. Upon receipt of payment you will be moved to the "paid" category of the online roster. Until the club has received your tuition, you are not officially in the School and will not be assigned to the field session pod rosters.

Climb School has a maximum enrollment of 45 students. Once 45 enrollees have paid, all other individuals who have signed up and have paid will be placed on the Waiting List. If a student drops, individuals on the Waiting List will be given preference in the order that payment was submitted. As individuals on the list of Enrollees Who Have Not Paid submit payment they will be placed on the Waiting List. If an opening occurs, waiting list students will be contacted by the Climb School Coordinator. Please be prompt in your payment to ensure your spot.

You may cancel your enrollment at any time after payment but there will be a non-refundable $25 cancellation fee.


$155 for current Chemeketan Members and students between 16-18 years old.

$175 for Non-Members (the higher fee includes a one-year membership with the Club, with membership granted upon completion of Climb School.)

Make your check payable to
"Chemeketans" and mail to:
Chemeketan Climb School
c/o Mary Wandell
362 Monroe Ct NE
Salem OR 97301-4963

These registration fees cover attendance at classroom and field sessions, a handbook, other study materials, prusik cords to be used during Climb School, campground fees and parking for the weekend session, and buffet dinner costs. In addition to course fees, students will be expected to acquire (purchase, rent, or borrow) the appropriate equipment and gear to safely participate.

Required Equipment and Gear

For Second Classroom SessionFor Weekend Field Sessions
  • An approved climbing harness
  • Belay device
  • 4 carabiners (2 locking, 2 non-locking)
  • Prusik cords (provided at first classroom session)
  • Practice rope (provided during 1st classroom session; must be returned at end of 2nd classroom session)
  • Parka/raincoat
  • Pack
  • Non-Cotton Clothing (socks, rain gear, jacket, wicking under-layers, gloves, hat, gaiters, etc)
  • Hiking boots (warm enough for a day in the snow)
  • Helmet
  • Ice Axe
  • An approved climbing harness
  • Belay device
  • 4 carabiners (2 locking, 2 non-locking)
  • Prusik cords (3 provided in class)

Many of you will already own some of the required equipment and gear. In addition, some items may be borrowed or rented through an outdoor store (Salem Summit, REI, etc). Helmet and ice axe may be rented (est $10/weekend each) or borrowed. An approved climbing harness may either be borrowed or purchased (est $35 - $90). Please note that the club itself does NOT rent gear.

We will be providing some guidance on appropriate gear, so we recommend waiting until after the first class before making any purchase decisions, especially for larger ticket items!


Registration for Climb School commences on December 15th. Register by clicking the Sign Up button, below. Club members, enter your email address (assuming it is on file) in Section A. Click the Find Membership button to bring up the prompt to click Enroll. Non-members, enter the information requested in Section B, then click Enroll. You will then be placed on the roster.

Your place in Climb School is not ensured until we have received your payment. Again, once 45 students have paid, all others who sign up will be placed on the Waiting list or on the list of Enrollees Who Have Not Paid. Please be prompt with your payment to insure your spot.

While the lecture portion of the classroom sessions are offered en masse, the remainder of the instruction and practice will occur in smaller groups of 6 to 8 students. If you wish to be in a group with another student, please let the climb coordinator know and we will make every effort to place you together. Current roster, status, and field session assignments are available by clicking the buttons below.

If you have any specific questions about Climb School, please contact
Theresa Conley at (phone 541-231-0453).

Revised 15 Feb 2015