Minimum Party Size and the Climbing Code

Stephen's Avatar


06 Aug, 2012 07:28 PM

I have seen it mentioned in a couple places that the minimum required party size for a Mountaineers alpine outing is 3, as per the climber's code. I recently had to cancel a trip because I only had 2 folks, but we did the climb privately anyways.

I am wondering how strictly the policy is enforced and if there are ever any exceptions. For example, if two people went to climb the Tooth on a very nice Summer Sunday, would that be unsanctioned, even with others expected on the route.

I am also wondering what the designation of "private" in a climb actually means. Does it mean the climb is not officially Mountaineers, but folks are posting it there to provide beta to others in the Club, for example?

  1. Support Staff 1 Posted by Jeff Bowman on 06 Aug, 2012 11:19 PM

    Jeff Bowman's Avatar


    Here's a link to the Climbing Code. Note that it is a set of guidelines and good mountaineering judgement is always in order when using them and making any exceptions to them. So climbing with a party of two is acceptable given appropriate judgement and planning.

    Often there are water ice climbs where it is safer to have two people on route rather than four or six. In this case the parties of two have made a significantly better contingency and communication plan than they would have for a larger party. For example, two parties of two might hike in together to do two routes in the same area and plan to hike out together at a specified time or a party of two might plan to contact a person in case of emergency and when they are safely out.

    A "private" climb is one where the leader has chosen all participants. These climbs are often a leaders SIG or mentored group of climbers and that particular climb is just for them.

    I hope that answers all of your questions. Please let me know if you have any more or if there is anything else I can do for you. Thanks!


  2. Jeff Bowman closed this discussion on 06 Aug, 2012 11:19 PM.

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