425.749.7421

Northwest Mountaineering Course

Mountaineering Course

$1250

Dates:

Talk to an ADVENTURE expert
425.749.7421

5-day • Mountaineering – $1250
8-day • Mountaineering & Intro to Alpine Rock (3-day) – $1725

Learn how to mountain climb on glaciated peaks! NW Alpine Guides offers both four and five day mountaineering courses in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Taking a mountaineering course will help prepare you for the challenges of climbing higher peaks. Whether your goal is to discover if you like mountaineering, climb expedition peaks or learn independence in the mountains, NWAG can teach you the essential skills needed to be safe and successful while traveling in the mountains. Our professional guides have a wealth of experience and will ensure you have an enjoyable adventure.

Mountaineering Course5 days

This course is a great introduction into the world of alpine mountaineering. Our course is designed for beginner or experienced climbers seeking to learn or review their skills. During the program you will learn the fundamentals of glacier mountaineering, climbing on snow and cramponing techniques, self arrest, traveling as a rope team, introduction to crevasse rescue, covering the essential climbing skills needed to travel safely in the mountains. The mountaineering course allows more time to develop advanced mountaineering skills, preparing aspiring climbers for expeditions to Denali, Aconcagua or Himalayan peaks. NWAG five day course is conducted in North Cascades NP and provides adequate time for glacial mountaineering instruction and a summit climb. Or put it all together and combine 5 days of Mountaineering Course with a 3 day Intro to Alpine Rock Course and discover what alpine climbing is really all about.

Related climbs: Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Mount Olympus, Sahale Peak, Eldorado PeakForbidden Peak, Ruth MountainMount Deception, North Cascade Classic Climbs, Snoqualmie Alpine Rock

Mountaineering School Curriculum

• Rest step, step kicking and pressure breathing
• Ice axe techniques and self arrest training
• Crampon usage and techniques
• Glacier travel, climbing as a rope team
• Introduction to snow & ice anchors
• Crevasse rescue and self extrication
• Basic climbing knots & hitches
• Ascending fixed lines
• Belaying, rappelling, rope management
• Introduction to ice climbing or alpine rock techniques
• Leave no trace skills
• Summit climb of Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, Sahale Peak or Eldorado Peak
• Discussion topics will include: Clothing and equipment, packing a backpack, mountain weather, acclimatization, route finding and navigation, glacial fundamentals, snow camp skills. Our professional guides will follow the above curriculum, introducing the basic mountaineering skills necessary to make a successful summit climb.

In addition to our Pacific Northwest climbs we offer international climbing & trekking expeditions through Mountain Gurus. The Ecuador Volcanoes, Elbrus in Russia and the Mexican Volcanoes are all really good next steps for those seeking to climb higher peaks and gain altitude experience internationally.

mg200nwag300

Course begins and ends in the North Cascades NP

Plan to arrive the day before the climb begins.

Day 1 • Hike to Camp
Start time and location to be determined. Gear check and drive to the trailhead. Hike to Camp. Throughout the day our guides will begin to introduce basic mountaineering skills. (D)

Day 2 • Mountaineering Instruction • Climb to High Camp
Today is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of mountaineering. The course instruction includes snow climbing, use of ice axe and self rescue, crampon techniques, glacier travel and basic introduction on anchors and crevasse rescue. Throughout the program guides will host discussions on numerous mountaineering topics. Depending on our location we have the option of moving to high camp. (B)(D)

Day 3 • Summit Day • Mountaineering Instruction
Summit day starts early. As we ascend the peak guides will continue to introduce the basic mountaineering skills necessary to make the climb. After reaching the summit we descend to camp. In the afternoon guides will continue instruction as time warrants. (B)(D)

Days 4 • Training day for mountaineering course 
Today allows more time to develop advanced mountaineering skills, preparing aspiring climbers for expedition mountaineering. We continue building on the essential skills needed to climb higher peaks. Advanced topics include belaying, rappelling, fixed line travel and ice climbing. (B)(D)

Day 5 • Hike to Trailhead 
After breakfast we pack our gear and return to the trailhead. (B)

Plan to depart the day after the climb ends.

Itinerary Notes: NWAG makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner

Program start time & location: 8:00 am

Start time and location to be determined.

The course locations include North Cascades NP
or Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.


Deposit and Payments
$500.00 deposit includes reservation fee, due with application
Balance due 90 days prior to departure


Services included
Guided climb and course
Scheduled meals on the mountain (breakfast, dinner, hot drinks)
Professional mountain guide
All group equipment (including tents, stoves, pickets, ropes)


Services not included
Domestic Airfare
Transportation
Trailhead parking pass fees
Lunch and snack food
Personal gear
Hotels or lodging
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage
Staff gratuities

Northwest Climbs

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip will be sent to you in the PreClimb departure information upon reservation. For your safety and comfort it’s extremely important that you adhere strictly to the equipment list.

Please click to see our gear rental items. We have a full selection of mountain gear and clothing items for rent.

camera20 Click on the camera icon below to view a sample gear item.

Head and Face:

  • Warm Hat: Wool/ synthetic, One that covers the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. camera20
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring plenty of batteries. camera20

Upper Body:

  • Upper Body Layers: We recommend you have three warm layers for the upper body. Items must be made of synthetic or pile. Make sure all layers fit comfortably over each other and supply good insulation. A good combination is a long underwear top, a sweater, and a pile jacket. Cotton items do not provide adequate insulation and are completely useless when damp.
  • Softshell Jacket and/or Fleece Pullover: This breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket is a key part of a mountaineering layering system. Medium weight synthetic, form-fitting, for use over base layers. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic short-sleeve shirt. One synthetic long-sleeve shirt for summit day is required. Lighter colors absorb less sunlight which can be nice on sunnier days.
  • Hardshell Jacket w/ hood: Snow and high wind can be common. GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof nylon shell that has been “seam sealed”.
  • Insulated Jacket w/ insulated hood: 700+ fill down. camera20

**An expedition down parka w/ hood is required for Mount Rainier. A mid-weight insulated parka is required for Mount Baker and climbs and courses in North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NWAG trips.**

Handwear: camera20

  • Lightweight synthetic (fleece) Gloves: One pair (WINDSTOPPER© is recommended)
  • Softshell Gloves: One pair, Leather construction offers durability and grip on ropes and other gear.

Lower Body:

  • Quick dry Hiking Shorts: One pair. Good for hiking at lower elevations on the mountain (summer only).
  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton
  • Hardshell Pants: Bring a good pair of rain/wind pants of GORE-TEX© or a fully waterproof nylon shell that has been “seam sealed”. (full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your hard shell pants without removing your boots). camera20
  • Softshell Climbing Pants: Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated, comfortable to climb in and provide good warmth on cool misty days, dry fast and prevent sunburn. Schoeller© fabric is recommended.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots. camera20

**Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NWAG trips. Gaiters are optional on mid and late summer climbs.**

Footwear:

  • Double Plastic Climbing Boots or Leather/ Synthetic/ Hybrid Mountaineering Boots (full shank and crampon compatible) camera20
  • Medium to Heavyweight Socks: Two or three pair of wool or synthetic socks to wear for warmth with climbing boots.

**Read our Mountaineering Boot and Crampon guide for more information. Double plastic mountaineering boots or Heavy-weight synthetic/ hybrid mountaineering boots are required for Mount Rainier and early season Mount Baker and North Cascades NP climbs and courses. Single-weight synthetic/ leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid and late summer climbs and courses on Mount Baker, North Cascades NP, Mount Olympus. NO Backpacking boots allowed on any trips, boots must be full shank and crampon compatible.**

Sleeping:

  • Sleeping Bag: Bring a warm bag (rated 0 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit depending on season). camera20
  • Sleeping Pad: One full-length closed-cell foam pad and/ or an inflatable pad. camera20

Packing and Backpack: camera20

  • Backpack: One lightweight large size 70-80 liters (4500-5500 cubic inches) comfortable pack with good support, adequate to carry personal and group gear. The pack should fit properly and have a good waist belt. Carry gear between 45 and 65 pounds.
  • Bags: large plastic bag, large Ziploc bag or waterproof stuff sacks

**An adequate size backpack is required depending on the climb or course you’ve joined. You are responsible to carry all your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.).**

Climbing Gear: camera20

  • Ice axe with leash: 60-70cm mountaineering axe camera20
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates camera20
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight camera20
  • Alpine Climbing Harness w/ adjustable leg loops  camera20
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible w/ snow baskets camera20
  • Carabiners Locking: Two large pear-shaped, screw gate camera20

Drinking:

  • Water Bottle: Two, one liter wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE© camera20
  • Water Treatment: We recommend you bring one bottle of “Potable Aqua” or a “Polar Pure”, crystal iodine in a bottle, to treat drinking water, optional
  • Water Flavoring: Lemonade, Tang, Gatoraid, optional

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Camera
  • Toilet paper, Blue bag, or Wag bag

What are the physical requirements to climb the peaks of the Pacific Northwest?

Previous mountaineering experience is not required on most Northwest trips. Our guides will teach you the basic snow and glacier travel skills necessary to make a safe and successful climb. Although above average physical conditioning is required for most mountain climbs in the Cascades. Prior hiking, backpacking or climbing experience is very beneficial. High altitude experience is not required.

Most trips in the Pacific Northwest are rated as strenuous and we cannot over emphasize the importance of conditioning. By getting your heart, lungs, and legs in top physical condition, you can focus on learning, while being able to enjoy the high mountain environment. It is recommended that you have some hiking and backpacking (camping) experience prior to this trip. All participants are required to carry a share of the group food and equipment which includes tents, stoves, pickets, ropes. Be prepared to carry a 40 to 60 lbs backpack to high camp depending on the climb or course you choose.

Fitness Suggestions

The mountains of the Cascades Range are physically demanding and your ability to enjoy this adventure depends on your overall health and fitness.

It is often stated. The best training for mountain climbing is hiking, backpacking or climbing with considerable elevation gain (2000 vertical feet or more). Few other fitness activities truly replicate the physical demands of climbing steep mountains with a backpack.

We suggest you begin your training program at least four months prior to departure depending on your current conditioning. Walking up steep hills and stair climbing are both excellent ways to condition your lower body. Begin slowly, without the weight of a pack, eventually adding weight as you increase your training pace. In order to condition yourself to carry the weight, it will be important to take long hikes (4-6 hours) with a weighted pack at least one or two times a week. The best training for mountaineering is to carry a loaded pack up and down hills or small mountains. Hike uphill without breaks for at least an hour at a time when possible. Then break 10-15 minutes at the most and then continue hiking uphill for at least another hour. Do this as much and as often as you can. This is certainly not the only way to train but is probably one of the best ways to train for climbing big mountains. Don’t worry about your pace, this will increase over time, instead hike uphill slower if needed without taking as many breaks. Work at maintaining an even respiratory rate.

Unfortunately, many of you don’t live near good hills or mountains so then you will need to find another activity that will help increase your endurance. Supplement this with running, cycling, swimming, cross-fit sports, weight training, etc. for additional aerobic conditioning your heart and lungs. Any time spent at altitude will also prove beneficial. Remember mountain climbing (unlike running) is an activity where you slowly climb uphill over long periods of time while carrying heavy to a moderate amount of weight.

Pin It