Students in the ECP Mountaineering School will be engaging in activities and going to places where basic rock climbing skills and fitness are required for the safety of students and instructors. As a potential student, you need to have these in place before the school starts. Adequate rock climbing skills and fitness level must be demonstrated prior to be accepted as a student.

If you are interested in the school and lack these requirements, get to work and acquire them. If you are not sure, please contact us, or attend the Intro Party to discuss your qualifications and what you might do about them. The number of students accepted into the school will be limited for everyone's benefit. Students must try to get out as much as the Instructors put in!

Climbing Skills

These are the basic skills of top rope climbing. You do not need to be a high-grade, excellent rock climber, but you must be competent in these skills.

Knots & Hitches

  • Figure-8 Follow Through

  • Figure-8 on a Bight
  • Prusik Knot
  • Double Fisherman's Knot
  • Water (Tape) Knot
  • Munter Hitch
  • Clove Hitch
  • Girth Hitch
  • Bowline Knot

Other Skills

  • Belaying

  • Rappelling
  • Prusiking
  • Basic Top-Rope Anchors
  • Coiling Rope with a Butterfly Coil
  • Climbing Commands and Communication

If you do not have these skills, consider taking the ECP Rock Climbing School first.

Backpacking skills

You should have taken a few overnight backpacking trips (not car camping) in the recent past.  Although mountaineering is not just extreme camping, you should at least know the following:

  • Packing for 2-3 nights out on a trail
  • Setting up a tent
  • Cooking with a stove

If you do not have these skills, consider taking the ECP Backpacking School first.


Your basic fitness level for entry into the Mountaineering School will be determined by climbing stairs at the Pitt Cathedral of Learning.

See the full Agenda for the Fitness/Climbing Checkout.

If you do not have this minimum level of fitness, consider joining the Explorers Club of Pittsburgh to become more active.