Backpacking school

Inter-Mountain Alpine Club members with years of experience teach an eight-week one night a week backpacking school that covers a wide range of topics and techniques in a series of indoor and outdoor sessions in March and April culminating in a final backpacking trip. The purpose of the backpacking school is to prepare students for comfortable and safe multi-day backpacking trips. At the end of this course, students will be prepared for a graduation backpacking trip led by a course instructor, and subsequent trips led by I-MAC leaders.

Topics include: the essentials, clothing, conditioning, packs, tents, sleeping systems, map and topography basics, compass and route planning, cooking nutrition, hygiene and water purification, using the Internet, GPS, cell phones, stoves, other gear, first aid, safety, and rescue techniques.

These classes will be offered free of charge as an I-MAC outreach to the Tri Cities community. Attendance at all sessions is not required, mix and match the sessions you want. Students must attend 5 of 8 classes to be eligible to go on the graduation backpacking trip. Students are expected to be able to carry a loaded pack (~35-40 pounds.) over a dirt path for 5 miles at a moderate pace (2 mph).

For information and to sign up send an email to:



Mountaineering School

The I-MAC Mountaineering School is an intensive, challenging, fun, and rewarding experience. At no other point in your climbing career are you likely to see your climbing skills advance more dramatically within a single, relatively short span of time. You will learn a lot! We focus on training you to learn the skills needed to be a strong participant on advanced I-MAC climbs, to organize private climbs of your own, and for those who choose, take the next step into Climb Leader Development. The curriculum includes additional knots, additional belay and rappel techniques, glacier travel, rock and snow anchor building, map and compass navigation, avalanche danger assessment, avalanche transceiver training, accident management training, crevasse rescue, snow camping, high angle snow climbing, 5th class rock climbing, and seconding/cleaning.   

For information send an email to

This link goes to the 2020 Mountaineering School application.

trail maintenance

Each year I-MAC organizes a trip to one of the neighboring National Forests to do volunteer trail work usually on National Trails Day in the first week of June. In the past, these all-day trips have been to the Leavenworth Ranger District on the Wenatchee-Okanogan National Forest. Each day provides participants with hands-on experience working to rehabilitate a hiking trail so that people can use it safely for years to come. No experience necessary! You will be matched with someone with experience according to your interests and abilities. You will not be asked to do anything beyond your comfort level. You will spend the day with a group of dedicated hiking aficionados and experienced mountaineers working to clean up and maintain one of the most beautiful hiking trail locations in Washington State. We typically divide up into small groups and tackle the needs of the trail we find along the way. People may get to do vegetation removal, cross-cutting, raking, rock and log removal, building water crossings, and other activities needed. You’ll need to bring a day pack and water, the ten essentials, appropriate clothes including long pants, hiking shoes, a long sleeve shirt, a hat, bug repellent, and sun screen and all required.


leadership training

Would you like to lead I-MAC trips? Experienced I-MAC leaders are offering instruction on leading trips to anyone willing to take on the responsibility, or to current I-MAC leaders who just want to refresh their leadership skills and practices. Training covers leader requirements and benefits, trip selection, proposals and descriptions, pre-trip preparations, participant screening, equipment, practices during the trip, emergency procedures, and post-trip closure.

First Aid /Wilderness Medicine

Responder Training

The responder training classes are for trip leaders, prospective trip leaders, or other members who are interested in practicing their response to a few medical conditions encountered in the wilderness. This is not a first aid class where material will be taught and you DO NOT need formal first aid training to attend. The teachers are experienced first responders that set up accident scenarios and provide participants with feedback/evaluation after each scenario. The goal is to practice real-time response skills now so you can respond appropriately when the time comes.

wintertime courses 

Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoe Classes

Experienced I-MAC leaders teach all about the types of snowshoes, cross-country skis, and the other clothes, equipment and essentials needed to make wintertime excursions safe and enjoyable.

wintertime courses 

Igloo and Snow Cave Building

These are overnight car camping excursions with an experienced I-MAC leader who provides training in the art and science of winter survival skills. You will have the opportunity to build a snow cave and then spend the night in it in a winter setting. This are real time hands-on instructional trips, so even if you haven’t dug in snow before you are welcome to attend. There will be opportunity for either snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the trails if time allows. You must come prepared for cold and snowy weather. A sleeping bag rated for 15°F or lower with a closed foam sleeping pad is required.

trip leader’s handbook

This handbook is designed to help you during the leadership of your trips. Please retain this handbook for future trips and use it as a reference to assist you. The most current revision of this handbook will be available on the I-MAC Web page. Should any questions arise please ask the Chairman of the type of activity, i.e.: Climbing, Hiking, Winter Activities for advice. Should the Chairman not be available, ask the Vice President and then the President. The following topics are included: 

Please copy forms you wish to reuse and/or carry with you.

Inter-Mountain Alpine Club

P.O. Box 505
Richland, WA 99352

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