Mountain Skills & Tech

We believe everyone has what it takes to become competent and confident in their mountain pursuits with education and mentorship.

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Gut-Z Journey provides mentorship to the growing community of outdoor enthusiasts aspiring to go deeper and higher in the mountains. Our courses and clinics help create a blueprint on how to prepare for mountain adventures. The structure allows you to gain critical insight into the necessary skills for your goals.

mountain skills training

What Is Mountain Skills Training?

Mountain skills and technique is a collection of all the necessary components you need to begin getting into the mountains. For example:

  • Techniques for hiking, rock climbing snow travel etc
  • Route finding & navigation
  • Route planning
  • Risk assessment
  • Applied decision-making and critical thinking
  • Understanding the gear necessary for day and overnight trips
  • Pacing and self-care
  • Understanding environmental risks such as weather, altitude, or avalanches

When you begin to list out everything required to go up a big mountain, it can turn into a daunting list. Thankfully, not all of these skills need to be mastered immediately, nor do all of them require being in the mountains full-time.

Instead, mountain skills should be systematically built upon with good guidance and mentorship. At Gut-Z, we have custom programs aimed at providing the structure needed to advance mountain skills in the most efficient way possible. Our goal is to improve your success rate. The two program options are:

Online Program

Much of the mountain skills listed above can be learned conceptually and then applied in real-world trips. The online programs allow you to begin acquiring knowledge at your own pace and provide the added flexibility to review and refresh as needed. These programs also provide you with a blueprint for trip planning, training, and preparation.

In-Person Programs

These select programs provide an opportunity to practice some of the more hands-on techniques under the guidance of highly qualified guides and mentors. It’s a natural progression for those who feel they have mastered the basics and are looking for more advanced skills coaching.

Mountain Skills Courses

How to Climb Mt Whitney  (Online Course)

This comprehensive course covers the blueprint for planning, preparing, and executing successful mountain trips. We’ll show you how to climb or hike Mt. Whitney.

No prior knowledge or experience is necessary. But those brand new to hiking or backpacking should expect a full year of preparation prior to the execution of a trip. For those with previous outdoor experience, 3–6 months may be enough time to integrate the valuable tips on training and technique.

If you have taken this course and feel like you still want more guidance, I recommend looking at the Peak Bagger Series.

Topics include:

  • Route selection & permits
  • Fitness & nutrition
  • Gear
  • Mountain movement and techniques
  • Mountain Safety


  • $99

Get Ready for Whitney

Peak Bagger Series (In Person)

Building on the skills that the Mt. Whitney course covers, this in-person series builds confidence for navigating 2nd, 3rd, and 4th class terrain. This focuses on learning about mountain terrain and how to understand difficulty ratings and prepare for navigating yourself safely up and down peaks. The series instills basic knowledge of how to protect oneself and retreat. Ropes and rappel systems will be discussed and practiced.


  • Custom Pricing

Reach Out for Pricing and Dates

Strength and Endurance Training (Online)

The goal of these training programs is to elevate your overall capacity and enhance structural resilience to meet your objectives. Time is valuable. Every single component of our program has a purpose and a progression. It cuts out the junk when training and works with your limitations to develop a sustainable plan to set you up for mountain success.


  • $199/mo

Enroll in Training

Rock Climbing Clinics

Brought to you in proud partnership with Athena Rock Climbing and their amazing climbing clinics. Athena Rock Climbing was founded in 2011 by Kelly Fields (she/her) as a way to bring women together and teach them how to become more knowledgeable trad climbers.

Interested in taking on a big mountain summit?

Check out my free preparation checklists:

What People Say after Taking the Clinics

“It was crazy good because of your guide Natalie. "She pushed us a little beyond our confidence and we credit her with our summit. She is simply a phenomenal young person and guide”


"Natalie is an inspiration. She is very knowledgeable, including extensive Search and Rescue experience, best instructor I've ever had, and has a delightful personality!"


"I thought I had seen the best, but N.B. is right up there and earlier in her career. Top echelon of outdoor professionals. This is clearly in her blood!"


About Natalie, the Instructor

Hi! I’m Natalie Brechtel and I am an experienced guide who has spent years teaching countless people how to climb mountains safely and efficiently.  As an avid climber, I seek out climbs off the beaten track including first ascents in rock and ice.

Guiding Experience
  • Mountain Guide, Sierra Mountaineering International
  • Climbing Guide, Athena Rock Climbing
  • US Antarctic Program, Mountaineer & Field Safety Coordinator
  • Alpine Ascents International Guide
  • Ice climbing Instructor, Franz Josef
  • UC Santa Barbara Outdoor Program Manager & Guide
Medical & Risk Management Experience

Natalie Brechtel

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Prepare for your next big mountain adventure

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