Alpine Skills – $1090
Alpine Skills & Intro to Alpine Rock (2-day) – $1540
The emphasis of this course will be learning alpine mountaineering skills on Mount Baker. The instruction is designed for climbers seeking to become independent in a glaciated environment. 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. Reaching the summit of Mount Baker is secondary to the course objectives and will be determined by conditions on the mountain, the goals of the team and time constraints required to cover the course curriculum. The course offers the freedom to explore less traveled and more remote areas of Mount Baker.
• 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
• Basic Crevasse rescue
• Basic climbing knots & hitches
• Ascending fixed lines
• Belaying, rappelling, rope management
• Introduction to ice climbing (late season courses only)
• Leave no trace skills
• Discussion topics will include: Clothing and equipment, packing a backpack, mountain weather, acclimatization, route finding and navigation, glacial fundamentals, snow camp skills.
NW Alpine Guides is an authorized outfitter guide within Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mt. Baker Ranger District.
For more information about international adventures, please visit our partner company Mountain Gurus.
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 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, glacier travel and introduction on 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 • Mountaineering Instruction
Today allows more time to develop our mountaineering skills. We continue building on the essential skills needed to climb glaciated peaks. Topics include basic crevasse rescue, belaying and rappelling on snow, fixed line travel and ice climbing. (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.
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
Where to Meet
8:00 am, the morning of the climb, we meet in Sedro Woolley, WA for equipment check before heading to the trailhead.
Upon registration, you will be emailed a PreClimb departure PDF containing detailed trip information.
Registration and Payments
$500.00 deposit includes a $300.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application.
Balance due 90 days prior to start date. Please read NW Alpine Guides Cancellation/Refund Policy for details.
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.