Debriefing a complicated climbing day can be one of the best ways to learn and strengthen your climbing partnerships. This is something I adopted from the guide-training process I went through back in the 1990s. At Alpine Mentors, we debriefed every day of climbing, and all came away with a feeling that this process was the most valuable part of the Alpine Mentors experience—the place where the real learning happened.

Here are two tools to help you, first a video and then a printable checklist so you and your partners can conduct your own debriefs.

Here is the video, “Alpine Principles: Reflection and Debrief.” Scroll down for the checklist.


Click here for a PDF of the Alpine Mentors Debrief Criteria Checklist.


Alpine Mentors Debrief Checklist

Based on the American Mountain Guides Association evaluation form

Route Selection
  • Conditions
    • Internal (you)
    • External (environmental)
  • Season
    • Amount of daylight
  • Weather
  • Team 
Route Planning
  • Rope and rock
  • Technical equipment
  • Bivy equipment
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Cooking
  • Route/navigation planning (topos, photos, etc.)
  • Descent
Risk Management
  • Hazard Recognition 
  • Minimization of Risk 
  • Situational Awareness
  • Belay/anchors are an island of safety
  • Descent
Technical Systems
  • Staying attached 
  • Belays/Protection/Anchors 
  • Rope Management 
  • Rappelling/Lowering
  • Rescue Skills 
  • “Right techniques, right place, right time?”
Terrain Assessment
  • Route Selection
  • Routefinding
  • Navigation
  • Fitness/Stamina
  • 3rd/4th Class Terrain
  • Climbing Ability
  • Communication
  • Efficiency
  • Systems
  • Risk Management
Mountain Sense
  • Decision-Making
  • Stress Management 
  • Error Correction (My personal favorite and imho one of the most important skills.-Steve House)
  • Disaster Prevention
  •  Environmental Consciousness. Did we practice Leave No Trace Climbing Principles? How could we improve?

-by Steve House

You might also be interested in:

Training for Ice and Mixed Climbing
How to Locate a Belay When Ice Climbing

Alpine Mentors Debrief Checklist

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