4-day • Intro to Mountaineering – $995
6-day • Intro to Mountaineering & Intro to Alpine Rock (2-day) – $1345
Learn how to mountain climb! 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.
This course is a great introduction into the world of alpine climbing. Our course is designed for beginner climbers seeking to learn basic mountaineering skills. During the program you will learn the fundamentals of alpine mountaineering, climbing on snow, cramponing techniques, self arrest, traveling as a rope team, covering the essential climbing skills needed to travel safely in the mountains. NWAG four day course is conducted in the Cascades Range and provides adequate time for basic mountaineering instruction and a summit climb. Or put it all together and combine 4 days of Intro to Mountaineering Course with a 2 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 Peak, Forbidden Peak, Ruth Mountain, Mount Deception, North Cascade Classic Climbs, Snoqualmie Alpine Rock
• Rest step, step kicking and pressure breathing
• Ice axe techniques and self arrest training
• Crampon usage and techniques
• Snow travel, climbing as a rope team
• Introduction to snow anchors
• Basic climbing knots & hitches, intro to belaying
• Leave no trace skills
• Summit climb of Ruth Mountain, Snoqualmie Pass, Sahale Peak, Mount Baker or Mount Shuksan
• 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.
Course begins and ends in the Cascades
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
Today is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of mountaineering. The course instruction includes snow climbing, use of ice axe and self rescue, crampon techniques, snow travel and basic introduction on knots and anchors. 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)
Day 4 • 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
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
Trailhead parking pass fees
Lunch and snack food
Hotels or lodging
Trip cancellation insurance
Medical and evacuation coverage
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.
Click on the camera icon below to view a sample gear item.
Head and Face:
**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.**
**Proper hard shell rain gear is required on all NWAG trips. Gaiters are optional on mid and late summer climbs.**
**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.**
**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.).**
Personal Health and First Aid
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.
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.