Curriculum

Intro Party:  All potential new students, past students, instructors and committee members are invited.  Find out what the school is really about!  Hear about past trips and trips being planned for the future.  Come on out, even if you're not sure you will be able to take the school.  It's a great chance to ask questions and meet people involved with the school. 

Fitness & Climbing Skills Checkout:  There are minimum fitness & climbing skills requirements that must be met in order to be accepted into the school.  Prospective students will be asked to come out and demonstrate that they can meet these.  See the Qualification page for more details.

Gear and Clothing - Class #1:  The school's first class!  An overview of mountaineering gear and concepts, complete with live demonstrations and discussions about gear and clothing requirements.

Gear and Clothing - Outing #1 (weekend-long):  An one-day outing to get some time hiking with a pack, using our gear and dialing in our systems.

Mountain Medical - Class #2:  Learn of the dangers that you'll be exposed to in the mountains and how to recognize, avoid and treat them.

First Aid - Outing #2 (weekend-long no overnight):  Get your wilderness first aid certification with CDS outdoors school.

Land Navigation - Class #3:  Review reading maps, planning routes and employing compass skills.

Land Navigation - Outing #3 (weekend-long):  Practice what you learned in class out in the field on an Orienteering-type challenge

Self Rescue - Class #4: Learn how to rescue yourself and your climbing partners. 

Self Rescue - Outing #4 (weekend-long): Practice escaping the belay and various hauling systems.

Alpine Rock Climbing - Class #5:  Learn the fundamentals of climbing rock in a harsh alpine setting, how to second a leader and react in basic rescue scenarios.

Alpine Rock Climbing & Bivouac - Outing #5 (weekend-long):  Climb and bivy atop Seneca Rocks in winter!  Can your fitness carry you from an alpine start to the summit...in full pack and boots?  Can your fingers take the cold?

Holiday Party:  A chance to get together, talk shit, and drink beer!

Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue - Class #6  Learn how to rope up and travel across a glacier, how to rescue someone who has fallen into a crevasse...and what to do when you're the one that has fallen in.

Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue - Outing #6 (weekend-long):  Go out in the field and practice what you learned in class.  We may not have glaciers and crevasses in Pittsburgh, but we do a pretty good simulation.

Snow & Ice Climbing - Class #7:  Learn the basics of snow and technical ice climbing.

Ice Climbing in the Adirondacks - Outing #7 (extended weekend-4 days):  Conditions permitting, it's a chance to get out and swing some ice axes, set some snow & ice anchors, and practice self-arrest! 

Expedition Planning & Mountain Environment - Class #8:   Learn about the "mountain before the mountain" - how to take on the task of planning a successful expedition. Learn of the hostile mountain environment.  How to read its weather and its snowpack.

Avalanche Rescue - Skills Clinic (one-day): Become familiar with avalanche transceivers and practice techniques for searching for a buried victim.

Post-Graduation Trip!:  Winter ascents on Mt Whitney, CA. Specific details to be announced at the Intro Party!