If you think you want to be a mountaineer, learn about the 5 best climbing schools. Whether you woke up this morning and decided you wanted to climb a mountain or you are a Sherpa who has ascended Everest, there is a climbing school for you.
- National Outdoor Leadership School. NOLS has the reputation of being the best National Outdoor Leadership School. NOLS is a nonprofit educational organization that offers 65 different course types, from nine days to 135 days, in the world’s most spectacular classrooms. NOLS mission is to equip people with the skills and leadership techniques to live and travel in the wilderness. If you are solely interested in rock climbing, NOLS might not be the best climbing school for you. Bonus: NOLS offers scholarships and if you are in college, you might be able to earn college credit. Trip options include various courses through Mexico, the Patagonia, the Pacific Northwest and Utah.
- American Alpine Institute. This outdoor school is focused on climbing and helping climbers improve their technical skills and overall outdoor awareness. Branches of the American Alpine Institute are located internationally. AAI has climbing programs for all different levels, from basic climbing instruction to expeditions to the seven summits.
- Alaska Mountaineering School. Alaska Mountaineering School is a small locally-owned business in the village of Talkeetna, Alaska. AMS offers climbing trips into the Alaska's glaciers, climbs through the Denali, Mt. Hunter and Mt. Foraker. Additionally AMS offers more basic, instructional mountaineering and wilderness courses for beginners.
- Northwest Mountain School. The Northwest Mountain School (NMS) is located Leavenworth, WA. It offers students the opportunity to climb most peaks in the Pacific Northwest. This climbing schools also offers international alpine and ski tours. NMS offers various treks ranging from one day climbs in Leavenworth to longer treks through the West Ridge of Forbidden Peak or a climbing expedition to the Anconcagua (the Largest mountain in the Western Hemisphere). If you don't mind spending some money, Northwest Mountain School is one of the best climbing schools for you.
- Vertical Adventures Mountain Climbing School. Vertical Adventures is the most popular climbing school in California and was ranked as the number one rock climbing school in America. What makes this school exceptional is their low student to instructor ratios, safety record, and rock climbing guides. Rock climbing classes are primarily held at Joshua Tree National Park, in Palm Springs, during the winter and at Suicide Rock, in Idyllwild in the summer. Idyllwild's Tahquitz Rock, which is Southern California's tallest rock at 1,000 feet, and one of the best sites in the country for traditional, multi-pitch rock climbing.