PRICE

$1345

SCHEDULE

Summer 2020
May 22 – May 26
June 12 – June 16
June 26 – June 30
July 17 – July 21
August 14 – August 18
September 11 – September 15

DETAILS

Grade: Beginner
5 Day Course

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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OVERVIEW

Learn how to mountaineer on the second most glaciated peak in the Lower 48 States. Our 5-Day Glacier Mountaineering Course on Mount Baker combines a summit ascent with instruction for climbers who want to gain independence in the glaciated environment and hone their skills for larger objectives such as Denali, Aconcagua and the high peaks of the Himalaya. You will practice the fundamentals of glacier mountaineering, including: crampon and ice axe technique, climbing on snow, self-arrest, snow anchors, rope team travel, crevasse rescue and more. You will apply some of these skills under expert guidance during the summit climb.

Mount Baker Glacier Mountaineering • 5 Day Course

To provide the best terrain for training and maximize your chances for a successful summit, your guides will choose to establish a high camp on one of two standard routes on Mount Baker. You will climb and train on either the Coleman Deming Route on the north side of the mountain, or the Easton Glacier Route on the peak’s southern flanks. These routes are similar in length, elevation gain and difficulty. Both are excellent training grounds for roped glacier travel and other mountaineering skills.

All our mountaineering courses include 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 high camp the same day. On Day Two and Day Four, we practice mountaineering skills. On Day Three we make our summit climb. On Day Five we return to the trailhead.

Or put it all together and discover what alpine climbing is really about by combining our 5-day Glacier Mountaineering Course with our 2-day Introduction to Alpine Rock Course.

Glacier Mountaineering School Curriculum

  • Rest step, step kick, pressure breathing
  • Ice axe technique and self-arrest
  • Crampon technique
  • Glacier travel, climbing as a rope team
  • Introduction to snow and ice anchors
  • Basic climbing knots and hitches
  • Crevasse rescue and self extrication
  • Ascending fixed lines
  • Belaying, rappelling, rope management
  • Introduction to ice climbing (late season courses only)
  • Leave No Trace skills
  • Mount Baker Summit Climb
  • Discussion topics will include: Clothing and equipment, packing a backpack, mountain weather, glaciology, acclimatization, snow camp skills. Our professional guides will follow the above curriculum, introducing the essential mountaineering skills you will need to reach the summit.

Climbing Routes

Easton Glacier / Southside

  • Approach Time to Camp: 4-5 hours
  • Distance: 3.5 miles, 2600 ft. gain
  • Trailhead: Schriebers Meadow, 3400 ft.
  • High Camp: 6000 ft.
  • Camp to Summit: 5-6 hours, 4800 ft. gain
  • Total Elevation Gain: 7,400 feet
  • High Camp to Summit to High Camp: 6 miles round trip, 9+ hours
  • Pack Weight: 40-45 lbs. trailhead to high camp, 20-25 lbs. high camp to summit
  • Trail synopsis: This well-maintained trail is longer than the Northside route but gains elevation more gradually. We start the hike in a river valley, cross the Easton Glacier stream (Sulphur Creek), then proceed up switchbacks to a meadow at 4500 feet. From here we ascend the moderately angled “Railroad Grade Trail” which follows the crest of a glacial moraine. In early season we may camp at 5600 ft. in protected sites below treeline. In later season, we continue to follow the trail up the moraines above the lower Easton Glacier, taking us directly into Sandy Camp at about 6000 ft.

Coleman Deming Glacier / Northside

  • Approach Time to Camp: 3-4 hours
  • Distance: 2.5 miles, 2500 ft. gain
  • Trailhead: Heliotrope Ridge, 3500 ft.
  • High Camp: 6000 ft.
  • Camp to Summit: 5-6 hours, 4800 ft. gain
  • Total Elevation Gain: 7,300 feet
  • High Camp to Summit to High Camp: 6 miles round trip, 9+ hours
  • Pack Weight: 40-45 lbs. trailhead to high camp, 20-25 lbs. high camp to summit
  • Trail synopsis: From the parking area, a well-maintained trail gains elevation quickly making this approach slightly shorter than the southside. After crossing Kulshan Creek at 2 miles (4500 ft.), we break out of the trees, cross another stream at 5400 feet, then climb a final steep moraine into Hogsback Camp. Camp sites are scattered between 6000 ft. and 6200 ft along the edge of the Coleman Glacier. Exact elevation and location will vary depending on water sources and other climbing parties.

Course Highlights

  • A full day of mountaineering training and acclimatization to prepare you for your summit bid, set amid the spectacular scenery of the North Cascades and the heavily glaciated slopes of Mount Baker. 
  • An ascent to the summit of Mount Baker, a classic Pacific Northwest volcano. 
  • A full day to develop advanced glacier mountaineering skills including anchors and crevasse rescue. 
  • Small teams for a personalized experience. Many of our courses are guided with a maximum of six climbers and two guides. 
  • Breakfast, dinner and hot drinks are provided on the mountain. 
  • A fun and exciting Northwest Alpine Guides adventure that will help set you on the path to the highest summits on the planet. 

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Hike to High Camp
Day 2 • Intro Mountaineering School
Day 3 • Summit Day
Day 4 • Glacier Mountaineering School
Day 5 • Hike to Trailhead

Qualifications

This ascent is an entry level summit climb and is suitable for climbers in excellent physical condition with no prior mountaineering experience. A full day of introductory skills training is 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.

3 to 1 Climber to Guide Ratio

We lead the Mount Baker Easton Glacier or Coleman Deming Glacier Route at a 3 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

Course begins and ends in Mount Baker – Snoqualmie National Forest

Plan to arrive the day before the course begins.

Day 1 • Hike to High Camp

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 Schriebers Meadow trailhead at 3,400 feet takes approximately one hour. The drive to the northside Heliotrope Ridge trailhead at 3,500 feet takes approximately two hours.

The hike to high camp takes 4 to 5 hours. The team will set camp between 5,600 and 6,200 feet depending on the season. We prepare dinner and relax for the evening.

Vertical gain climbing: 2,800 feet

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Dinner (D)

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. Throughout the program guides will host discussions on numerous mountaineering topics.

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 for our summit bid. The team enjoys dinner and early to bed for the next day’s climb.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner (B, D)

Day 3 • 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 or Colfax Peak at 9000 feet depending on the route we choose. From here, both routes 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: 4,600 feet
Climbing time: 9+ hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner (B, D)

Day 4 • Glacier Mountaineering School

Today we continue to develop our skills, practicing advanced glacier climbing techniques needed for expedition mountaineering. Instruction will include snow protection, crevasse rescue, ascending fixed lines, belaying, rappelling and rope management. Introduction to ice climbing is dependent on conditions in the field and is typically possible for late season courses.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner (B, D)

Day 5 • Hike to Trailhead

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

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

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 in Sedro-Woolley, WA, for an equipment check and orientation before driving 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

  • $500.00 deposit includes a $250.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application.
  • Balance due 90 days prior to start date.

Price Includes

  • Guided climb and instruction
  • Scheduled meals on the mountain (breakfast, dinner, hot drinks)
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Group equipment (including tents, ropes, stoves, etc.)
  • Wilderness Permits

Price Does Not Include

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

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. Tips normally average 10 – 20% of the cost of the program. 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.

Date Changes

Date changes may be requested at any time up to 45 days prior to your departure date for a $150.00 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.

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.

Travel Insurance

We highly recommend that all participants consider travel and trip cancellation insurance. Travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or while traveling. Northwest Alpine Guides does not insure you against these risks. For more info about current coverage plans and quotes please visit.

Global Rescue

We recommend Signature Travel Insurance.
For travel insurance or Global Rescue membership.
Click here for a quote

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance

For travel, evacuation and rescue coverage.
Click here for a quote

TripAssure

We recommend Assure Adventure Plans to cover travelers participating in climbing, skiing, mountaineering and trekking programs. Click here for a quote Reference code: MOUN0700WA

Adventure Plan and Adventure Plus Plan differ only in the coverage option which allows you to Cancel for Any Reason. In order to receive Cancel for Any Reason coverage you must purchase the Adventure Plan Plus within 15 days of paying your deposit or payment with NWAG.

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

During the Mount Baker Glacier Mountaineering 5-Day Course, Northwest Alpine Guides will provide group meals consisting of four (4) breakfasts and four (4) dinners. You will need to provide your own lunch and snack food on the mountain.

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.

Day 1: Lunch & snacks for hike from trailhead to high camp
Three or four 15-minute lunch & snack breaks

Day 2: Lunch & snacks for mountaineering school
8-hour training includes a 30-minute lunch break, two 15-minute snack breaks

Day 3: Lunch & snacks for climb to summit and descent
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

Day 4: Lunch & snacks for mountaineering school
8-hour training includes a 30-minute lunch break, two 15-minute snack breaks

Day 5: Remaining snacks for the descent to trailhead

Group Meals

For those with special meal concerns we recommend bringing food to supplement the pre-planned group meals we provide. We can accommodate most common food allergies. We do not serve fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk or egg. For vegetarian diets, we are easily able to leave out the meat before serving group meals.

Northwest Alpine Guides is unable to accommodate vegan, gluten-free, or other special meal concerns. Freeze-Dried foods are available for purchase.

Meal Concerns

For those with special meal concerns we recommend bringing food to supplement the pre-planned group meals we provide. We can accommodate most common food allergies. We do not serve fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk or egg. For vegetarian diets, we are easily able to leave out the meat before serving group meals.

Northwest Alpine Guides is unable to accommodate vegan, gluten-free, or other special meal concerns. Freeze-Dried foods are available for purchase.

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 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
Parking can be found across the street in the Park & Ride lot.

We sell a selection of basic mountaineering equipment in our Sedro-Woolley location. Following the gear check and orientation you will have an opportunity to stop at a market for other last-minute items.

The Guide Hut

On the day of your climb, you will meet your guides at the Guide Hut for group orientation and gear check. For participants on our 3-day and 5-day mountaineering courses, the Guide Hut opens on Thursday afternoons from 4-6 p.m. the day before the climb, and on Friday morning at 8:00 a.m. the day of the climb. For participants on other 2-day and 3-day climbing itineraries please refer to your PreClimb registration email for exact meeting times and location.

During open hours at the Guide Hut, you will have an opportunity to pick up pre-reserved rental items, try on boots, and purchase last-minute items prior to driving to the trailhead. The Guide Hut offers a selection of retail items such as outdoor clothing, glacier sunglasses, gloves, water bottles, cups, bowls, spoons, sunscreen, carabiners, climbing cord, waste kits, mole skin, batteries, freeze-dried foods, as well as NWAG logo wear. Visit the Guide Hut online store for available merchandise.

The Guide Hut serves Northwest Alpine Guides climbing customers only. 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 / Seattle / Bellevue 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. For those who wish to lodge close to the meeting location the night before the climb, the following options are recommended.

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

There are many hotel choices in Seattle, Bellevue and Issaquah.

Red Lion Hotel Bellevue
11211 Main Street
Bellevue, WA 98004

Motel 6 Seattle East Issaquah
1885 15th Pl NW
Issaquah, WA 98027

Mountain Weather

For updated North Cascades weather forecasts, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is mountaineering for you?

If you have never climbed before and are curious to sample the beauty and thrill of ascending big, glaciated mountains, our 3-day intro course and summit climb on Mount Baker offers an excellent way to explore mountaineering and decide if it is right for you. Mountaineering is an intensely physical adventure sport that demands stamina and endurance. Climbing can be strenuous, but as any mountaineer will tell you, the struggles of the ascent are often balanced out by the camaraderie and scenery you’ll experience along the way – and the exhilaration of stepping onto a summit and looking down at the long distance you’ve come.

If climbing the Seven Summits is on your bucket list, a glacier mountaineering course can be a great way to begin practicing the skills you’ll need on your international adventure. Mount Baker is one of the most heavily glaciated peaks in the Lower 48, but it is relatively easy to access and offers beginner climbing terrain. This combination makes it an excellent training ground for both committed mountaineers and those who are just beginning to explore “the alpine.”

What skills will I learn?

No matter what your skill level – whether you have just developed an interest in mountaineering, have not used your skills in a while, or have mountaineering skills but are ready to take them to the next level – our mountain guides can teach the skills you need. We offer a wide range of mountaineering courses, ranging from basic to advanced. We will help get you prepared for whatever climb you plan to attempt – from Mount Baker or Mount Rainier, to Mount Everest!

Northwest Alpine Guides offers a variety of courses for climbers of all levels and can customize the instruction to meet your specific needs. Our climbing instructors can also advise you on what clothing, gear, and equipment you need. We have rental items available.

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.

Why choose Northwest Alpine Guides?

Mountain climbing blends physical and mental challenge with teamwork and unparalleled opportunities to immerse oneself in the natural world. Our group sizes are often smaller than those of other guide services, allowing us to provide our customers with rewarding, personalized adventures that make the most of all the mountains have to offer.

Our mountain guides have decades of experience and have climbed the peaks of the Northwest hundreds of times. They have completed many expeditions to the world’s most challenging summits, including Mount Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro and Aconcagua. Our guides are knowledgeable and personable. Northwest Alpine Guides will ensure you enjoy your climbing experience as you advance your skills.

General FAQ’s

Click to read general Frequent Questions