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PRICE

$1345

SCHEDULE

Glacier Ski Mountaineering 5 Day
Spring 2023
April 28 – May 2, 2023
May 19 – May 23, 2023 (Women’s Only)
June 2 – June 6, 2023

DETAILS

Grade: Intermediate – Advanced
5 Day Course

Talk to an ADVENTURE expert
425.749.7421

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OVERVIEW

Are you interested in advancing your backcountry skiing skills in glaciated terrain? Mount Baker is the perfect setting to gain the knowledge and experience that is essential for taking on larger mountain objectives in the backcountry, as well as glaciated peaks. This five-day course serves to develop the skills needed for climbing and skiing on complex glaciated terrain. We will cover the fundamentals of backcountry skiing, including touring equipment, avalanche equipment and rescue, ascent and descent techniques, safety and navigation, and terrain selection. Your guides will introduce various topics specific to glaciated and steep terrain, such as ski and boot crampon usage, roped travel, ice axes, and self-arrest. Additionally, you will learn crevasse rescue and snow anchors, which are essential skills for becoming independent in this sport. You will apply these skills under expert guidance during the summit attempt.

Mount Baker Glacier Ski Mountaineering • 5 Day Course

For the five days of this course, we will be based on Mount Baker, developing the skills necessary for multi-day expeditions and snow camping. To provide the best terrain for training and maximizing your chances for a successful summit, your guides will choose to establish a base camp on one of two standard routes on Mount Baker. You will climb and train on either the Squak Glacier Route, 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, skiing and other mountaineering skills. We 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. We begin to introduce curriculum topics on day one of our tour, starting at the trailhead. On days two and three, we practice ski mountaineering skills and crevasse rescue. On day four, we make our summit climb attempt and glacier ski descent. On day five, we ski out to the trailhead.

Course Requirements

This course was designed for individuals who have at least one season of backcountry skiing experience. You should be able to ski a black to double black diamond run in-bounds. All participants must have already completed an AIARE 1 course. You must be able to skin 5,000’ in a single day to make it to the summit of Mount Baker.

Glacier Ski Mountaineering School Curriculum

  • Technical equipment usage: Skis, skins, ski and boot crampons
  • Avalanche equipment usage and rescue practice
  • Terrain evaluation, route planning, and risk mitigation
  • Uphill and downhill travel techniques and transitions
  • Ice axe and self-arrest
  • Glacier travel, climbing as a rope team
  • Introduction to snow and ice anchors
  • Basic climbing knots and hitches
  • Crevasse rescue
  • Belaying, rappelling, and rope management
  • Leave no trace skills
  • Mount Baker summit climb and ski descent, depending on conditions
  • Discussion topics: Clothing, equipment, packing a backpack, mountain weather, glaciology, snow camping skills

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: 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.

Squak Glacier / Southside

  • Approach Time to Camp: 4-5 hours
  • Distance: 3.5 miles, 2500 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: 45+ lbs. trailhead to high camp, 20-25 lbs. high camp to summit
  • Trail synopsis: We start at the same trailhead as the Easton Glacier. Once we reach the Schriebers Meadow, we ascend towards the Squak Glacier, which is adjacent to the 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 backcountry ski tour up to our high camp on Mount Baker
  • A full day of ski mountaineering training and avalanche rescue review to prepare you for your summit bid, set amid the spectacular scenery of the North Cascades and the heavily glaciated slopes of Mount Baker.
  • A ski descent 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.
  • 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 • Skin to High Camp, Avalanche training
Day 2 • Intro Ski Mountaineering School
Day 3 • Glacier Mountaineering School
Day 4 • Summit Day
Day 5 • Ski descent to Trailhead

Qualifications

This course is for those who are new to glaciated environments, with intermediate to advanced experience on skis. It is suitable for individuals 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.

Gear List

A complete clothing and equipment list specific to your trip is available here, and will also be emailed to you in your PreClimb information upon reservation. Click on our blog post for a list of gear recommendations for specific outdoor brands.

3 to 1 Skier to Guide Ratio

We lead the Mount Baker Easton Glacier or Squak Glacier Route at a 3 to 1 climber to guide ratio to ensure that you receive personal attention and hands-on instruction throughout the ski tour.

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 Ski Glacier Mountaineering

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 ski and 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 skin up 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 will review avalanche education and perform a rescue drill. We will then 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 ski mountaineering fundamentals. Instruction includes the use of ski crampons, boot crampons, ice axe and self-arrest, rope travel, team arrest, 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.

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

Day 3 • 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.

After mountaineering training, we return to camp and prepare for our summit bid. The team enjoys dinner and heads early to bed for the next day’s climb.

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

Day 4 • Summit Day • Mount Baker • 10,781 feet

Our summit day begins early with an alpine start. From high camp, we tour up 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.

On the Roman Wall, we will likely strap our skis to our backpacks, and travel uphill in our ski boots and crampons for the final stretch. With the peaks of the North Cascades spread out below us, we traverse the summit to Mount Baker’s highest point, sign the register, and celebrate. We will then begin our ski descent down the Roman Wall, and all the way back down to camp. During the afternoon guides will continue instruction as time allows.

Vertical gain climbing: 4,600 feet
Climbing time: 8+ hours

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 ski down 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 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
  • 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

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

We do not accept participants under 15 years old due to insurance and liability reasons.

Climber to Guide Ratio

We aspire to lead summit attempts on Mount Baker at a 4 to 1 climber to guide ratio.

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

During the Mount Baker Ski Glacier Mountaineering 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 (about 150-200 calories each break)

Day 2: Lunch & snacks for mountaineering school
8-hour training includes a 30-minute lunch break, two 15-minute snack breaks (about 150-200 calories each break)

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 (about 150-200 calories each break)

Day 4: Lunch & snacks for mountaineering school
8-hour training includes a 30-minute lunch break, two 15-minute snack breaks (about 150-200 calories each break)

Day 5: Remaining snacks for the descent to trailhead

Group Meals

Northwest Alpine Guides may provide and prepare one or more of the following items for group breakfasts and dinners:

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Toasted Bagels with Cream Cheese, Pop Tarts, Granola Bars

Dinner: Chicken, Beef, Pork, Cheese, Noodles, Spaghetti, Tortellini, Rice, Beans, Fresh Vegetables, Tasty Bite Indian Meals, Freeze-Dried Meals

Hot Drinks: Coffee, Caffeinated Tea, Herbal Tea

Meal Concerns

We can accommodate most common food allergies. We do not serve fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk or eggs. For vegetarian diets, we are easily able to leave out the meat before serving group meals. For those with other dietary concerns, we recommend bringing food to supplement the pre-planned meals we provide. 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. If you are trying to precoordinated a ride, feel free to send an email to info@mountaingurus.com and we can forward it to your fellow climbers.

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 Ski Glacier Mountaineering 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 online at TheGuideHut.com. Please read our Guide Picks blog post for gear recommendations by specific brands. Participants are responsible for bringing their own ski gear. Skiing specific gear is not available for rent in the guide hut.

Shop the Guide Hut »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.
  • Ski Goggles: For protection from wind. (Optional)
  • 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: Medium 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© waterproof outer or DWR treatment.

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

  • Alpine Touring Ski Boots: Alpine touring (AT) ski boots with walk and ski modes for uphill and downhill travel. Must be compatible with your bindings and crampons.
  • Camp Shoes (Optional): Lightweight shoes for wearing around camp and for training. Ideally water resistant.
  • 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 to 20ᵒ Fahrenheit depending on season.
  • 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.

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. Backpacks smaller than 65 liters are not acceptable.

Ski & Climbing Gear

  • Skis: Lightweight alpine touring (AT) recommended. 90-110 mm underfoot depending on snow conditions.
  • Bindings: Lightweight alpine touring (AT) bindings with uphill and downhill modes. Ski brakes and/or leashes recommended. Must be compatible with your boots.
  • Climbing Skins: For ascending on skis. Must be properly sized for your skis.
  • Ski Crampons: Must be compatible with your bindings.
  • Ski Poles: Lightweight and adjustable with snow baskets.
  • 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.
  • Avalanche Probe: Lightweight aluminum or carbon fiber. At least 6 feet / 2 meters long.
  • Avalanche Shovel: Lightweight metal with collapsible handle. Must meet UIAA standards for avalanche rescue shovels. Plastic shovels are not acceptable.
  • Helmet: Lightweight. If bringing a climbing helmet, you must verify that it is certified for skiing.
  • Ice Axe: 55-75 cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates, fully automatic and compatible with ski boots
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • 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
  • Petzl Micro Traxion or Nano Traxion pulley, recommended
  • Petzl Tibloc, optional
  • Ski Straps: (2)

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 system, endurance, 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 45 pounds or more on your back, ideally on skis.

Mount Baker Southside

The Easton Glacier Route demands nearly 7,400 feet of elevation gain from trailhead to summit. On day four of the 5 Day Mount Baker Glacier Ski Mountaineering Course, we climb to the summit, descend to high camp, then pack up and hike down to the trailhead the following day. Participants should prepare for 12-14 hours of combined climbing and skiing time.

Schriebers Meadow Trailhead to Camp:

  • Distance: 4 miles
  • Ascent: 2,600 feet
  • Pack Weight: 45+ pounds
  • Time: 4-5 hours

Sandy Camp to Summit Roundtrip:

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Ascent: 4,800 feet
  • Pack Weight: 20-25 pounds
  • Time: 7-10 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

Why Choose Northwest Alpine Guides

Since 2008, we have offered world-class climbs and courses throughout the Pacific Northwest. We make safety our foremost priority. We employ some of the most talented guides in the industry, and we maintain low client-to-guide ratios to ensure that you enjoy the best possible experience. We also offer a wide selection of rental equipment and other services from our Guide Hut in the town of Sedro-Woolley, Washington, the “Gateway to the North Cascades.” No other company operates a dedicated full-service facility so close to Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan and nearby peaks. To learn more about our services, history and philosophy please visit: Why Choose Northwest Alpine Guides.

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 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 Intro to Backcountry Ski Touring

2 Day Mount Baker Ski Descent

2 Day Crevasse Rescue Course

All Northwest Courses

Mount Baker is the perfect setting to gain the knowledge and experience that is essential for taking on larger mountain objectives in the backcountry, as well as glaciated peaks. This five-day course serves to develop the skills needed for climbing and skiing on complex glaciated terrain.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National ForestMount Baker