International Climbers Festival Clinic. 2016

Photo: Andrew Burr


The Samsara Climbing Clinic is a 3 day program designed to teach you the fundamentals of safe-climbing. Rock climbing can be a relatively simple and low risk sport. Unlike high alpine environments, rock climbing venues are simple, and most of the risk comes from easily avoidable human error. For many climbers it takes a decade of climbing, and a few close calls to get things quite right. In this program we skip the dangerous trial and error - and fast track your progress. We will cover every inch of the climbing system - from belaying to rope management, anchor building and rappelling. During our time together we also look at what is holding your climbing back - the mental game, and give you strategies that will enable you to climber harder. Finally, we will learn the tools of self-rescue, leaving you feeling more prepared and confident when trying a hard route, high off the deck. You will leave, prepared to be an independent and competent rock climber, able to lead your partners on single pitch sport climbs at your local crag, or long routes in Yosemite. 

The Climbing Clinic is designed for independent climbers who have an understanding of the climbing system, have some experience leading, but lack the confidence to climb at their limit. The course is held in Lander Wyoming and we will climb at the Wild Iris and Sinks Canyon on the Wind River Climbing Guides Permit.

Safe Climbing Habits

Rope management for the leader

Art of belaying  - how to pad the margins against common accidents

Rope systems. single, parallel, caterpillar

Building bomber anchors

Rope management at hanging stances

Climb a Grade Harder

What do the worlds best climbers have in common? Strategies for sending

Learning to fall

The process of projecting

Physiology of hard climbing - setting yourself up to succeed

Introduction to Rescue

Raising and lowering an unconscious climber

Tandem rapelling

Load releasable systems



The Samsara Alpine Clinics is a 3 day program designed to help you and your team make the leap from vertical rock climbing to the complex world of alpine climbing. The Alpine Clinic will replace multiple years worth of trial and error, with simple strategies and applicable techniques for moving through the mountains. From speed tactics for alpine big walls, to cruising high-mountain ridge traverses - you will come away with the skills to cover exposed terrain with security and efficiency. The Alpine Clinics are hosted in Jackson WY, where you will learn technical systems first in a dryland setting, before applying them in the mountains, giving you ample time to practice, and refine your craft. 

The Alpine Clinic is designed for experienced climbers with both traditional and sport climbing experience. In alpine climbing, the climbing is often the least of your worries, the environment, the weather, loose rock, and impending nightfall all demand our attention. This clinic picks up where traditional climbing leaves off. I will assume that you have experience placing a variety of traditional gear, building anchors, leading and belaying.


Alpine Big Walls 

Roped systems for a 3 person team

Advanced anchor configurations

Team strategies for resting, belaying, packing and sending

Alpine Rock - Light & Fast

Gear selection & packing. Single day & overnight

Shortening the rope and moving together

Terrain & body belaying

Alpine anchors

Technical solutions for long descents with short ropes


Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue

 Choosing when to rope up

Knots, hitches and team rope configurations

Simple mechanical systems for rescue 

Team rescue vs. self rescue, when and how

Building on your foundation as a rock climber, you will learn how to adapt to the alpine environment, where the climbing will be easier, but a fall is no less perilous. To adapt, we need a system that is faster, lighter and more fluid. I will introduce guide-level systems for moving together over alpine rock - utilizing the terrain, counter balance and body positioning to create security between you and your partners. We will cover techniques that will enable you to rely on shorter ropes for ascending and technical solutions for descending. We will examine ways to reduce the size of your rack, by developing an understanding of how to use horns, ridgecrests, and natural breaks in the terrain to create friction and security for the climber.


On day 2 we will cover glacier travel systems for small teams, applying simple criteria to the question of when and how to travel across glaciated terrain. We will look at simple modern tools such as lighter ropes and progress capture devices to construct simpler, faster and more reliable rescue systems. 


Zahan Billimoria

International Mountain Guide