PRICE

$1595

SCHEDULE

Expedition Training 6 Day
April  24 – April 29, 2022
May 1 – May 6, 2022

DETAILS

Grade: Intermediate
6 Day Course

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425.749.7421

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OVERVIEW

Learn how to prepare for a big mountain expedition on the second most glaciated peak in the Lower 48 States. Our 6-Day Expedition Training Course uses Mount Baker as a classroom while teaching aspiring mountaineers the advanced climbing and logistical skills needed for expeditions to Denali, Aconcagua and the Himalaya. You will learn to navigate in the mountains and build a secure expedition snow camp while practicing the essentials of glacier mountaineering, including: crampon and ice axe technique, climbing on snow, self-arrest, snow anchors, rope team travel, crevasse rescue and more. Depending on mountain conditions, we will use snowshoes and sleds for travel. This course gives you the essential skills needed to travel safely and independently in the glaciated mountain environment.

Mount Baker Expedition Training • 6 Day Course

Our Expedition Training course includes breakfast, dinner and hot drinks on the mountain. To minimize pack weight, we use the lightest available, high-quality mountaineering tents, stoves and group equipment. We meet at the Guide Hut in Sedro-Woolley for an equipment check and orientation on the first morning of the course and then make our way to the trailhead and hike to our base camp the same day. On Day Two, we practice essential glacier travel skills. On Day Three, we move camp to our high camp on either the Easton Glacier or the Squak Glacier. On Day Four, we continue instruction, practicing crevasse rescue and other essential expedition skills. On Day Five, we ascend to the summit and return to high camp. On day six, we wrap up instruction and return to the trailhead.

Expedition Training 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
  • Basic climbing knots & hitches
  • Ascending fixed lines
  • Belaying, rappelling, rope management
  • Mountain navigation
  • Establishing a secure expedition snow camp
  • Avalanche beacon usage
  • Traveling with snowshoes and sleds
  • Leave No Trace skills
  • Mount Baker Summit Climb
  • Discussion topics will include: Clothing and equipment, packing a backpack, mountain weather, glaciology, acclimatization, route finding, snow camp skills. Our professional guides will follow the above curriculum, introducing the essential mountaineering skills for a successful summit climb.

Squak Glacier / Southside

  • Approach Time to High Camp: 8-10 hours over 2 days
  • Distance: 7-8 miles, 4600 ft. gain
  • Trailhead: Forest Service Road, 2400 ft.
  • Basecamp: 4600 ft.
  • High Camp: 7000 ft.
  • Camp to Summit: 5-6 hours, 3800 ft. gain
  • Total Elevation Gain: 8,400 feet
  • High Camp to Summit to High Camp: 6 miles round trip, 9+ hours
  • Pack Weight: 35-45 lbs. trailhead to high camp, 20-25 lbs. high camp to summit, use of a sled to high camp
  • Trail synopsis: This route is longer than the Northside approach, but gains elevation more gradually. We start the hike by ascending a river valley toward the Easton Glacier stream (Sulphur Creek), where we turn north toward the mountain up the bottom of the broad, U-shaped valley carved in the past by the Easton Glacier. In early season, we may walk on snow to our base camp near the foot of the glacier between 4500 and 5000 feet of elevation. In later season, we may follow the Railroad Grade Trail to our high camp on the lower Easton Glacier.

Need help choosing a trip?
Read our Four-Legged Stool blog post for tips on finding the right adventure for you.

Course Highlights

  • A full day of mountaineering training and acclimatization to prepare you for your summit bid.
  • A full day to develop advanced glacier mountaineering skills including anchors and crevasse rescue.
  • Professional instruction from Northwest Alpine Guides staff.
  • Small teams for a personalized experience. Many of our courses are guided with a maximum of six climbers and two guides.
  • A comprehensive expedition training course in the spectacular scenery of Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Hike to Base Camp
Day 2 • Intro Mountaineering School
Day 3 • Move to High Camp
Day 4 • Expedition Training School
Day 5 • Summit Day
Day 6 • Hike to Trailhead

Qualifications

This is an intermediate level course and climb suitable for climbers in excellent physical condition with previous outdoor experience and solid backpacking skills. No prior glacier experience is necessary. Six full days of mountaineering are included in the program. No extra acclimatization is necessary for this program. Read our Goals and Fitness page for recommendations on how to best physically prepare for this adventure.

4 to 1 Climber to Guide Ratio

We lead the Mount Baker Expedition Training at a 4 to 1 climber to guide ratio ensuring that you receive personal attention and hands-on instruction throughout the climb.

Northwest Alpine Guides holds a Special Use Permit and is an authorized outfitter guide within Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mt. Baker Ranger District

“In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability. To file a complaint of discrimination: write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (202) 720-5964 (voice and TDD).”

ITINERARY

Mount Baker Expedition Training

Plan to arrive the day before the course begins.

Day 1 • Hike to Basecamp

Meet at our Guide Hut in Sedro-Woolley, WA.

Northwest Alpine Guides will provide you with a detailed PreClimb departure book upon registration including personal gear list, meeting location and driving directions.

Our alpine guides will meet you for team introductions, gear check, and group gear distribution. The drive to the southside Forest Service road takes approximately one hour.

The hike to basecamp takes 4 to 5 hours. The team will set camp on the lower Easton Glacier between 4,600 and 4,800 feet depending on route conditions. We prepare dinner and relax for the evening.

Vertical gain climbing: 1,800 feet – 2,200 feet

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: None

Day 2 • Intro to Mountaineering School

Today we learn mountaineering fundamentals. Instruction includes snow climbing, ice axe and crampon technique, self-arrest and team arrest, rope travel and basic knots and anchors. 

Each team member will be assessed throughout the mountaineering school. You will need to demonstrate adequate fitness and proficiency in climbing skills as your safety is our priority. 

After mountaineering training, we return to camp and prepare dinner.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: None

Day 3 • Move to High Camp • 6,998 feet

We gain 2,400 feet over 4 to 5 hours as we ascend the Easton Glacier to Crag View high camp, where we set up our tents on the edge of the Squak Glacier. During the afternoon guides will continue instruction as time allows.

Vertical gain climbing: 2,400 feet
Climbing time: 4 to 5 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: None

Day 4 • Expedition Training School

Today our curriculum moves into advanced glacier mountaineering skills needed for big mountain expedition climbing. We learn navigation, crevasse rescue, snow and ice protection, ascending fixed lines, belaying, rappelling, and rope management.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: None

Day 5 • Summit Day • Mount Baker • 10,781 feet

Our summit day begins early with a pre-dawn alpine start. From high camp, we climb moderate snowfields to the saddle between Sherman Crater at 9600 feet. From here, we ascend the steep terrain of the Roman Wall in a final 1- to 2-hour climb to Mount Baker’s expansive summit plateau.

With the peaks of the North Cascades spread out below us, we traverse the summit to Mount Baker’s highest point, sign the register, celebrate and retrace our climbing route back to high camp. During the afternoon guides will continue instruction as time allows.

Vertical gain climbing: 3,800 feet
Climbing time: 9+ hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: None

Day 6 • Hike to Trailhead

After enjoying breakfast, we wrap up our skills training and break camp. Then we retrace our hike back to the trailhead. We usually arrive at the trailhead by early afternoon and conclude our adventure in Sedro-Woolley.

Meals Included: None

Plan to depart the day after the course ends.

Itinerary Notes
Northwest Alpine Guides 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

DETAILS

Where to Meet

At 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the climb, we meet at the Guide Hut in Sedro-Woolley, WA for equipment check and orientation before heading to the trailhead. We will email you detailed PreClimb information including a gear list and full departure details upon receiving your registration.

Deposit and Payments

  • $300.00 deposit includes a $200.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application.
  • Balance due 90 days prior to start date.
  • The balance can be paid by check, or credit card.

Price Includes

  • Guided climb and instruction
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Group equipment (including tents, ropes, sleds, etc.)
  • Wilderness Permits

Price Does Not Include

  • Transportation
  • Trailhead parking fees (Northwest Forest Pass)
  • Meals and snack food
  • Personal gear
  • Hotels or lodging
  • Trip cancellation insurance
  • Medical and evacuation coverage
  • Staff gratuities

Guides

Our instructors are highly skilled professional guides who have been selected based on their technical proficiency, proven safety records, careful judgment, patience, and supportive teaching styles. They are dedicated to a climbing lifestyle, and collectively have climbed throughout the earth’s major mountain ranges. Our guides are friendly, very willing to share their own experiences, and can help you develop a plan to achieve your own climbing ambitions. All our guides carry current certification in wilderness first aid.

Tipping

Our guides are dedicated mountain professionals who work hard to ensure your success and wellbeing on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. An average tip is 10 – 20% percent of the cost of the program, usually $100 – $200. Your guide team will pool all tips. If you prefer to transfer funds electronically, please send gratuities through paypal.me/mountaingurus

Summit Attempt

Northwest Alpine Guides cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe. You or your entire party may have to turn around without reaching the summit. Failure to reach the summit due to a team member’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not NWAG responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.

Age Guidelines

Participants age 16 & 17: May participate in fixed-date group itineraries if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

Participants age 15 and younger: May only participate in private climbs and must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

All minor climbers must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian throughout the entirety of the program. If either the minor climber or the guardian needs to descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together.

Climber to Guide Ratio

We aspire to lead summit attempts on Mount Baker at a 3 to 1 climber to guide ratio. On occasion we lead climbs at a 4 to 1 climber to guide ratio due to operational needs.

Minimum Participants

Please note that a minimum of two participants is required to guarantee each departure at the advertised price.

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend that all participants consider travel and trip cancellation insurance after making a deposit. Travel insurance offers the best protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness, an injury prior to or while traveling, or a possible family emergency.

If you choose not to purchase insurance, you assume full responsibility for any expenses incurred in the event of a medical emergency and/or evacuation, as well as for trip cancellation, interruption, lost luggage, etc. Northwest Alpine Guides does not insure you against these risks. We ask that you consult your travel insurance carrier directly with questions.

For more info about current coverage plans and quotes please visit.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance

Travel, evacuation and rescue coverage designed for adventure travelers.

For a quote, or to purchase travel insurance, please click this link Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™

  • Waiv­er for pre-exist­ing con­di­tions (must be pur­chased with­in 14 days of trip deposit)
  • Option­al ​“Can­cel for Any Rea­son” cov­er­age (must be pur­chased with­in 14 days of trip deposit)

Global Rescue

We recommend Signature Travel Insurance. For travel insurance or Global Rescue membership.

For a quote, or to purchase travel insurance, please click this link Global Rescue

Date Changes

Date changes may be requested at any time up to 45 days prior to your departure date for a $100.00 fee per person. Date changes are subject to availability and apply only to the current climbing season. No date changes allowed less than 45 days before departure.

Cancellations

Since departures require a minimum number of participants, Northwest Alpine Guides must adhere to a stringent refund policy. The policy is intended to protect participants who have otherwise committed time and resources to the departure. Please read our Online Reservation for Terms and Conditions.

MEALS

You will need to bring your own stove and gas, and prepare all of your own meals during the Mount Baker Expedition Training Course. You will need five (5) breakfasts, enough lunch and snack food for six (6) days, and five (5) dinners. As part of the curriculum, Northwest Alpine Guides will teach you to use your stove and cook meals in the backcountry.

Meal Schedule

Day 1: Three or four 15-minute lunch & snack breaks during the hike to basecamp. Dinner in basecamp.

Day 2: Breakfast in basecamp. Four or five 15-minute lunch & snack breaks during mountaineering school. Dinner in basecamp.

Day 3: Breakfast in basecamp. Three or four 15-minute lunch & snack breaks during move to high camp. Dinner in high camp.

Day 4: Breakfast in high camp. Four or five 15-minute lunch & snack breaks during expedition training school. Dinner in high camp.

Day 5: Breakfast in high camp. Four 15-minute snack breaks on the ascent from high camp to summit, two or three 15-minute snack breaks on the descent from summit to high camp. Dinner in high camp.

Day 6: Breakfast in high camp. Remaining snack and lunch food for the descent to trailhead.

Mountain Lunches

We recommend that you bring a variety of snack food to eat while moving. On each day, we will encourage you to eat at regular, short maintenance breaks, roughly once every hour. These snacks can be critical for maintaining a steady supply of energy while moving up and down the mountain. We will not stop for a big lunch break.

Some examples of snack foods include dried meats (salami), jerky (turkey, beef, fish), tuna fish, cheese, crackers, bagels, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, candy bars, gummy candy, cookies, energy bars and trail mix.

We cannot overstate how critical it is for you to bring foods that you enjoy eating. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength in the mountains. We recommend a selection of sweet, sour and salty food.

When preparing lunches, please do not bring food items that require cooking or extensive preparation.

Mountain Breakfasts and Dinners

Please prepare your meals prior to your climb. Suggested food items:

Alpine Breakfast: Instant oatmeal, Pop Tarts, dried fruit, granola bars, bagels, peanut butter, cream cheese.

Dinner: Freeze-dried dinners are easy to prepare but do not always taste good and may affect your stomach. Instant noodle soups and rice are also popular. You may also consider bringing a cold meal of dried meat, bread, pizza, or sandwiches.

Hot Drinks: Coffee, Caffeinated Tea, Herbal Tea, Cocoa, Cider

Cold water for drinking and cooking will be available in high camp. You will be responsible for boiling water for your meal preparation, for example for freeze-dried dinners, instant soups, instant oatmeal and hot drinks.

When preparing meals, please do not bring food items that require extensive cooking or other preparation.

The Guide Hut offers a wide variety of freeze-dried meals for purchase, including vegan and gluten free options.

TRAVEL

Getting There

At 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the climb, we meet at the Guide Hut in Sedro-Woolley, WA for equipment check and orientation before heading to the trailhead. Upon receiving your registration, Northwest Alpine Guides will email you complete PreClimb information, including a gear list specific to your itinerary and other departure details. The Guide Hut offers a selection of mountaineering equipment and clothing for purchase and rent.

The small town of Sedro-Woolley, “The Gateway to the North Cascades,” is approximately 70 miles and a 1.5-hour drive from Seattle or Bellevue. Limited services are available in Sedro-Woolley. More extensive food, shopping and lodging options may be found nearby in the cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington.

The Guide Hut / Northwest Alpine Guides
305 F And S Grade Road
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

Click here for directions
Additional parking can be found across the street in the Park & Ride lot.

The Guide Hut

The Guide Hut serves as a meeting location, rental shop and retail store for guests of Northwest Alpine Guides.

During open hours at the Guide Hut, you may pick up pre-reserved rental items, try on rental boots, and purchase last-minute items. The Guide Hut offers a selection of retail items including outdoor clothing, glacier sunglasses, gloves, water bottles, cups, bowls, spoons, sunscreen, waste kits, moleskin, batteries, sports food, freeze-dried meals, Northwest Alpine Guides logo wear, and a selection of climbing equipment, including carabiners, cord and other items. Please visit the online Gear Shop for a list of available merchandise and to pre-purchase items.

The Guide Hut exclusively serves Northwest Alpine Guides customers. It is not open to the public, and does not serve customers outside of scheduled operating hours.

Flight Travel

Most climbers will fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) the evening before the program and rent a car for the hour and forty-five minute drive to Sedro Woolley, Washington. Please note that Seattle traffic is worsening and driving times from Seattle and Seattle-Tacoma International Airport may be significantly longer.

Our Northwest programs begin at the date, time and meeting location listed in the itinerary in your PreClimb Information. Meeting locations may vary depending on program destination. Climbers flying to Washington State must arrive the day before their program begins in order the meet the group for an early morning gear check and orientation. Return times on the final day of the program are difficult to predict. We strongly recommend that climbers book a hotel night following the final day of their itinerary and schedule departure flights on the following day. If departing on the last day of the program, we recommend booking a flight later than 10 pm.

Transportation

Transportation between the meeting location and the trailhead is not included in the price of the trip. Guides are not responsible for providing transportation to team members. We serve both local and out-of-town climbers in our Northwest programs, and many of our guests prefer to use their own vehicles. Team members are free to organize rideshares with other team members. With your permission, our office staff can share your name and contact information with other team members so that you can organize ridesharing. The NWAG office does not coordinate ridesharing or carpooling and we are unable to share customer or guide contact information due to privacy concerns. In rare cases, Northwest Alpine Guides staff may provide limited transportation between the trailhead and Sedro-Woolley as a fee service.

Trailhead Parking

You will need to obtain a NW Forest Pass or equivalent parking permit to leave your car at the trailhead lot. Single-use passes are $5.00 per day. They can be purchased in advance or the day of the gear check. A National Parks pass may suffice.

Driving Directions

From Seattle

Take I-5 North towards Burlington to Cook Road in Skagit County.
Take exit 232 from I-5 N

Turn right onto Cook Road, Head East to Sedro-Woolley
Follow Cook Road to Borseth Road in Sedro-Woolley, 7 min (4.3 mi)

At the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit and onto Borseth Road
Turn left onto F & S Grade Road

The NWAG Guide Hut is the first building on your left

From Bellingham

Take I-5 South towards Burlington to Cook Road in Skagit County.
Take exit 232 from I-5 S

Follow Cook Road to Borseth Road in Sedro-Woolley, 7 min (4.3 mi)
Turn left onto F & S Grade Road

The NWAG Guide Hut is the first building on your left

From Burlington

From State Highway 20 East, at the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit onto Cook Road (after the Walgreens)

Follow Cook Road to Borseth Road in Sedro-Woolley, 7 min (4.3 mi)
Turn left onto F&S Grade Road

The NWAG Guide Hut is the first building on your left

Hotels

Lodging in Burlington and Sedro-Woolley, Washington. If you wish to stay close to the meeting location the night before your climb, we recommend the following options:

Three Rivers Inn Hotel
210 Ball Street
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Burlington
9384 Old Hwy 99 North
Burlington, WA 98233

La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Burlington
1670 S Burlington Blvd
Burlington, WA 98233

Mountain Weather

For updated North Cascades weather forecasts, click here.

GEAR LIST

These items are required for our Mount Baker Expedition Training course.

The Guide Hut offers a selection of mountaineering equipment and clothing for purchase and rent. Gear may be purchased from the Guide Hut in person on the morning of your climb, or in advance via our Online Gear Shop. Rental gear must be reserved in advance using our quick rental form. Please read our Guide Picks blog post for gear recommendations by specific brands.

Shop the Guide Hut »Quick Rental Reservation »Gear Recommendations »

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. Must cover the ears.
  • Buff or Balaclava
  • Sun Hat or Baseball Cap
  • Glacier Glasses: Essential eye protection at altitude. Wrap around style or side shields. A category 4 lens is required.
  • Sunscreen: SPF 30+
  • Lip Balm: SPF 30+
  • Climbing LED Headlamp: Bring one extra set of batteries.

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: Two synthetic long-sleeve shirts. Hoods for sun protection are strongly recommended.
  • Mid-layer Top: A synthetic or fleece top.
  • Softshell Jacket: This is a breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended.
  • Hardshell Jacket: A fully waterproof shell. GORE-TEX© or equivalent. Hoods are required.
  • Insulated Jacket: Heavy weight down. 700+ fill or higher required.

Note: Proper hardshell rain gear is required on all trips.
Note: Women may want to bring an extra sports bra in case one becomes wet.

Handwear

  • Lightweight Softshell Gloves: One pair. Leather palms offer durability and grip.
  • Heavyweight Gloves: Insulated glove or mitten with GORE-TEX© or waterproof outer.

Lower Body

  • Baselayer Bottom: One pair. Synthetic, no cotton.
  • Softshell Pants: One pair. Synthetic, stretchy, non-insulated.
  • Hardshell Pants: One pair of GORE-TEX© pants. Full-length side zips are required; you may need to take off your hardshell pants without removing your boots.
  • Gaiters: Full-sized waterproof gaiters that must fit snugly over your mountaineering boots.

Footwear

  • Mountaineering Boots: Full shank crampon compatible double plastic, leather, synthetic, or hybrid boot depending on the season.

Note: Please read our Mountaineering Boots and Crampons guides for recommendations.

● Double plastic mountaineering boots or heavyweight synthetic/hybrid mountaineering boots are required for early season climbs on Mount Baker.

● Single-weight synthetic/leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid- and late-summer climbs on Mount Baker when conditions are expected to be dry.

X – NO backpacking or trekking boots are allowed above high camp on any trip. Climbing boots must be full shank and crampon compatible.

  • Camp Booties (Optional): Down or synthetic booties with friction soles for use around camp.
  • Mediumweight Socks: Two pair of wool or synthetic socks.
  • Heavyweight Socks: One pair of wool or synthetic socks for sleeping in and for summit day.

Sleeping

  • Sleeping Bag: A warm bag rated 0ᵒ Fahrenheit.
  • Sleeping Pad: A full-length closed-cell foam and/or inflatable pad. Foam AND inflatable pads are recommended for camping on snow during early-season climbs.

Cooking

  • Personal Stove System: MSR Reactor – 1.0 or 1.7 Liter. Or similar.
  • Fuel Canister: (3-4) MSR IsoPro 8 oz.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 65- to 75-liter pack for personal and group gear. Should have an effective waist belt, fit properly and provide good support while carrying 45+ pounds.
  • Liner Bags: 2 large plastic contractor bags.

Note: An adequately sized backpack is required. You are responsible to carry all of your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.). We do not recommend an additional pack for summit day.

Climbing Gear

  • Ice Axe: 55-75 cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Medium pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-Locking Carabiners: (4) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Belay Device: Tube style belay device.
  • Rescue Pulley
  • Prussik Cord: 6 mm, 30 feet
  • Nylon Slings: (1) 60 cm nylon sling, (1) 120 cm nylon sling
  • Snowshoes: Lightweight snowshoes for glacier travel. Must have traction binding to prevent your foot from slipping sideways.
  • Avalanche Transceiver: With harness system. Modern 3-antenna model required. (Recommended models: Mammut Barryvox or Barryvox S; or BCA Tracker 3, Tracker S or Tracker 4.)
  • Avalanche Transceiver Batteries: One set of fresh batteries in your transceiver.
  • Petzl Micro Traxion or Nano Traxion pulley, optional
  • Petzl Tibloc, optional

Hydration

  • Water Bottles: (2) 1-liter, wide-mouth plastic bottles. NALGENE©

Note: CamelBaks and other bladder-style hydration systems may be used in addition to two water bottles, but are not sufficient. Bladders may pop and hydration hoses freeze in the cold.

Personal Health and First Aid

  • Small personal first-aid kit with medications and blister kit
  • Plastic bowl, insulated mug, and spoon
  • Toilet paper, blue bag or wag bag
  • Earplugs
  • Camera
  • Pee Funnel (for Women), optional
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Personal Items

Note: Pack basic medical supplies in a compact package. We recommend basic painkillers, Moleskin, first-aid or athletic tape, Band-Aids, and anti-septic wipes or gel.
Note: All solid waste must be carried out of the backcountry. One waste kit per 1-3 days is typically sufficient.

FITNESS

Physical fitness is the foundation of every mountain adventure. A strong cardiovascular systemendurance, core strength, flexibility and balance let us safely enjoy the spectacular terrain and close camaraderie we find in the planet’s highest places. 

Mountaineering is a strenuous activity that imposes unique demands on our bodies. Running, swimming, cycling and other sports may help you prepare for your climb, but they are usually not sufficient. Even strong runners may struggle to carry a heavy pack over steep, uneven terrain for hours at a time. Do not underestimate the importance of climbing-specific training.

The following fitness guidelines will help you prepare for your climb. For your safety and the safety of your rope team, you must be able to maintain the pace set by our guides while maintaining reserves of strength. Moving more slowly can be dangerous. As the climbing day lengthens, we become fatigued and dehydrated. We lose precious daylight hours and we expose ourselves to quickly shifting mountain conditions and weather. 

Fitness Benchmarks

To safely enjoy this course, you must be able to meet these benchmark times while maintaining reserves of strength. Our guides may turn around climbers who are unable to do so. We recommend training for Mount Baker at least 3-6 months in advance.

  • You should be able to hike/climb for 1 to 2 hours at a time, punctuated by 10 minute breaks, for up to 12 hours.
  • You should be able to ascend 5,000 feet per day while carrying 20-25 pounds on your back, and 3,000 feet per day while carrying 35 pounds or more on your back while hauling a sled.

Mount Baker Southside: Squak Glacier Route

The Squak Glacier Route demands nearly 8,400 feet of elevation gain from trailhead to summit. On day five of the 6 Day Mount Baker Expedition Training Course, we climb to the summit, descend to high camp, then pack up and hike down to the trailhead. Participants should prepare for 12-14 hours of combined climbing and hiking time.

Forest Service Road to Basecamp:

  • Distance: 3-5 miles
  • Ascent: 2,200 feet
  • Pack Weight: 35+ pounds, plus hauling a sled
  • Time: 4-5 hours

Basecamp to High Camp:

  • Distance: 2-3 miles
  • Ascent: 2,400 feet
  • Pack Weight: 35+ pounds, plus hauling a sled
  • Time: 4-5 hours

High Camp to Summit Roundtrip:

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Ascent: 3,800 feet
  • Pack Weight: 20-25 pounds
  • Time: 8-10 hours

Training Resources:

Please read our Goals & Fitness guide for strategies to help you train for your climb.

Many climbers, particularly those who are new to the sport, will benefit from a workout plan designed to prepare you for the rigors of mountaineering. We recommend the following training resources:

Uphill Athlete
Mountain Tactical Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

What about safety?

Whether you’re a rock climber eager to begin climbing in glaciated terrain, or you’ve never tied into a rope, our professional instructors are prepared to meet you at your skill level and teach you the techniques you’ll need to stay safe on big mountains. In an adventure sport like mountaineering, safety is paramount. Our instruction in designed to help you build your skills from the ground up.

All of our instructors have advanced avalanche training and wilderness medical certifications. We follow a well-rounded curriculum to help you become self-reliant in the mountains. Mountain climbing can be unpredictable – weather conditions can change in a moment and bad decisions can lead to injury. Northwest Alpine Guides will teach you how to climb safely and successfully.

MOUNTAINEERING COURSES

3 Day Mount Baker Intro to Mountaineering Climb

5 Day Mount Baker Glacier Mountaineering Course

7 Day North Cascades Alpine Climbing Course

All Northwest Courses

Learn how to prepare for a big mountain expedition on the most glaciated peak in the Lower 48 States. Our 6-Day Expedition Training Course uses Mount Baker as a classroom while teaching aspiring mountaineers the advanced climbing and logistical skills needed for expeditions to Denali, Aconcagua and the Himalaya.

Mount BakerMt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest