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Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing

3 Day Course • Washington State


$1795 per-person (1 climber, 1 guide)
$1095 per-person (2 climbers, 1 guide)


Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing*
June 14 – June 16, 2024 Sold Out
July 5 – July 7, 2024
August 9 – August 11, 2024
August 30 – September 1, 2024


* All dates available unless indicated as sold out.


Grade: Beginner
3 Day Course

Talk to an ADVENTURE expert



On this course you will learn fundamental alpine rock climbing skills and then apply them on scenic, multipitch routes in the Cascade Mountains. The instruction is designed for rock climbers of all abilities who are seeking to gain experience on complex, high mountain terrain.

Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing • 3 Day Course

For many people, alpine rock climbing is the epitome of the climbing experience. In “the alpine,” climbers must know how to build their own anchors and place their own protection. They must be prepared for long, strenuous days, and they must know how to efficiently ascend and descend through varied terrain. They are rewarded with spectacular views, solitude and adventurous, enjoyable climbing.

On Day 1 of our Alpine Rock Climbing Course, we practice fundamental technical and movement skills on the diorite cliffs of Mount Erie, high above the scenic Puget Sound. Instruction includes belaying, rappelling, lowering, placing protection, building anchors and more. We spend day 2 and 3 on Vesper Peak, in the North Cascades, where we continue to refine our skills as enjoyable, multipitch alpine routes in a spectacular backcountry setting.

As an alternate location, we may climb in the Snoqualmie Pass area, just 45 minutes east of Seattle on Interstate 90. On Day One, we practice skills at the popular Exit 38 climbing area. On days 2 and 3, we take our pick from a variety of classic, multipitch routes on The Tooth, Chair Peak and Snoqualmie Mountain.

Vesper Peak • 6,220 feet

Accessed via a roughly 3-mile hike from Washington’s scenic Mountain Loop Highway, Vesper Peak is home to a variety of routes that are ideal for anyone taking their first steps into alpine rock climbing. We can choose between Ragged Edge (5.7), True Grit (5.8), the North Face (5.7) or, for more skilled rock climbers, Fish and Whistle (5.10-). Each of these routes offer a half dozen pitches of high-quality climbing in a spectacular setting, with dramatic views of Sperry Peak, Wolf Peak, Morning Star Prak and other surrounding mountains.

Mt. Erie • Rock Climbing

Located about 1.5 hours north of Seattle on Fidalgo Island near the charming city of Anacortes, Mount Erie is home to an excellent range of single- and multipitch routes. It’s solid, diorite cliffs offer excellent sport and traditional climbing with wonderful views of the islands and forests of the Puget Sound.

The Tooth • 5,604 feet

After two days of training at Mount Erie, consider applying your skills on a one-day extension to climb the Tooth above Snoqualmie Pass just east of Seattle. A short early morning hike into the Source Lake area near Alpental ski resort leads to a view of our objective, the steep and blocky Tooth towering hundreds of feet above the surrounding landscape in the central Cascade Range.

Depending on climber ability, we choose one of several routes to the top of the pinnacle. We enjoy panoramic views from the summit, then descend safely with a mix of rappelling and hiking. We pack our gear and retrace our steps to the trailhead, generally arriving back at our cars by late-afternoon.

Twin Sisters Mountain • 7,004 feet

Twin Sisters Mountain is an outlier from the main spine of the Cascades located just south of Mount Baker on the edge of the Puget Sound. Composed of ancient olivine rock, “the Twins” offer a unique climbing experience. The reddish orange olivine is solid and extremely textured, making for excellent moderate, alpine rock climbing. Most climbers choose to ascend the popular west ridge of South Twin, the higher of the two summits. North Twin may also be climbed via moderate terrain on its west ridge, and more experienced climbers can link the two summits via the scenic and sometimes exposed North Twin to South Twin Traverse.

Depending on climber ability, we choose one of several routes to the top of the pinnacle. We enjoy panoramic views from the summit, then descend safely with a mix of rappelling and hiking. We pack our gear and retrace our steps to the trailhead, generally arriving back at our cars by late-afternoon.

Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing Curriculum

  • Movement on rock
  • Climbing equipment & clothing
  • Climbing knots & hitches
  • Traditional multipitch climbing
  • Belaying, lowering and rappelling
  • Introduction to anchors and protection
  • Using a guidebook and trip planning
  • Climbing communication
  • Leave No Trace

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

Course Highlights

  • Learn fundamental alpine rock climbing skills.
  • Develop multipitch rock climbing skills including belaying, rappelling and anchor management.
  • Enjoy a Northwest Alpine Guides adventure high in the North Cascades.
  • Access to our convenient BaseCamp and The Guide Hut in Sedro-Woolley, WA.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Rock climbing Instruction
Day 2 • Hike to High Camp
Day 3 • Summit Day


This is an entry level course suitable for climbers in excellent physical condition with no prior mountaineering experience. We will teach you the skills you need to participate in the course. 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.

2 to 1 Climber to Guide Ratio

We lead the Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing Course at a 2 to 1 climber to guide ratio to ensure that you receive personal attention and hands-on instruction throughout the course.

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

“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).”


Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing

Plan to arrive the day before the course begins.

Day 1 • Technical and Movement Skills

Video Resource: What to Expect the Morning of the Climb

Meet at our BaseCamp in Sedro-Woolley, WA.

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

Our alpine guides will meet you for team introductions, gear check, and group gear distribution. The drive to the trailhead takes approximately 30 minutes.

After a short walk to the crag, we will cover equipment selection, knots, belaying, rappelling, and movement skills, and introduce anchors and protection, while climbing a variety of single pitch and short multipitch routes. Throughout the course, your guides will host discussions on a variety of climbing topics.

Accommodations: Overnight in Burlington or Anacortes, WA (not included)
Meals Included: (non

Day 2 • Traditional Multipitch Climbing

We meet early in the morning and drive to the Sunrise Mine Trailhead for the roughly 3-mile, 2,500-foot, hike to our high camp near Lake Elan below Vesper Peak. After setting up camp, we embark on our first multipitch, alpine climb! We choose between a variety of 5- to 6-pitch routes ranging in difficulty from 5.7 to 5.10-. While climbing, we continue to practice essential skills, including route-finding, anchors, protection, rope and team management and movement techniques.

Vertical gain climbing: 1,000 feet
Climbing time: 5-7 hours

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: (none)

Day 3 • Alpine Rock Climb

We wake early to climb another multipitch route on Vesper Peak. During the climb, your guides will tailor the instruction, and the itinerary, to focus on topics not previously covered during the course, or areas where more instruction would be beneficial. After celebrating our success on the summit surrounded by views of the North Cascades, we descend back to high camp, pack up and hike to the trailhead.

We usually arrive back to the trailhead by mid-afternoon and conclude our adventure there, or in Sedro-Woolley.

Vertical gain climbing: 1,000 feet
Climbing time: 5-7 hours

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


Where to Meet

At 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the climb, we meet at BaseCamp 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

  • A non-refundable deposit of $300 per person secures your reservation.
  • The balance is due 120 days prior to start date.
  • The balance can be paid by credit card with a surcharge of 3.0%, or Zelle payment network.
  • If your balance payment is not received 120 days before the start of your program, your reservation will be canceled, and all program fees forfeited.

Price Includes

  • Guided climb and instruction
  • Boiled water for meals
  • Professional mountain guide
  • Group equipment (including tents, ropes, stoves, 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


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.


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.

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.

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

For Non-US Residents & Citizens – World Nomads

For Canadians and for other non-US residents (enter your country of origin), World Nomads can provide travel and disaster insurance options for mountaineers.

Date Changes

Date changes may be requested at any time up to 60 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 60 days before departure.


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 Terms and Conditions.


You will need to provide all of your own meals during the Intro Alpine Rock Climbing CourseYou will need (1) breakfast, enough lunch and snack foods for three (3) days, and one (1) dinner. Northwest Alpine Guides will provide the group with hot cooking water for breakfast and dinner. Video Resource: Mountain Snack and Lunch Ideas

Meal Schedule

Day 1: Three or four 15-minute lunch & snack breaks while climbing. Breakfast & dinner in Burlington or Anacortes on your own.

Day 2: Breakfast in Burlington or Anacortes on your own. Three 15-minute snack breaks on the hike to high camp. Four or five 10-minute snack breaks while rock climbing on Vesper Peak. Dinner in high camp.

Day 3: Breakfast in camp. Four or five 10-minute snack breaks while rock climbing on Vesper Peak. Two or three 15-minute snack breaks while hiking to the trailhead.

Mountain Lunches

We recommend that you bring a variety of snack food to eat while moving (about 150-200 calories each break). 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 drinking water will be available in high camp. Hot, boiled cooking water will be provided 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.


Getting There

At 8:00 a.m. on the morning of the climb, we meet at BaseCamp 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.

Northwest Alpine Guides | BaseCamp | The Guide Hut
11132 Sterling Road
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284

Click here for directions

Welcome to BaseCamp and The Guide Hut

What to Expect the Morning of the Climb

Northwest Alpine Guides is excited to announce the opening of BaseCamp, our new meeting location and seasonal guide office in Sedro-Woolley, Washington, the Gateway to the North Cascades!

The Guide Hut serves as our rental shop and retail store for guests of Northwest Alpine Guides. Find a variety of retail items, logo wear, and climbing equipment. Visit our online gear shop for available merchandise and rental gear options.

At BaseCamp:

  • Guests may pick up pre-reserved rentals, try on rental boots, and shop for last-minute items.
  • Gear Check: There is ample time to pick up items during the gear check the morning of the climb.

BaseCamp exclusively serves Northwest Alpine Guides customers. It is not open to the public and operates only during scheduled 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 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 coordinate a ride, feel free to send an email to 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
Follow I-5 North to Burlington, Skagit County
Take exit 231 from I-5 N, Merge onto N Burlington Blvd, 3 min (0.6 mi)

Turn left onto State Rte 20 E, Head East towards Sedro-Woolley
Follow State Rte 20 E to Sterling Rd, 7 min (3.0 mi)

Turn right onto Sterling Rd, 2 min (0.8 mi)
Turn right into BaseCamp / Northwest Alpine Guides

From Bellingham
Follow I-5 South to Burlington, Skagit County
Take exit 232 from I-5 S, Head East on Cook Rd towards Sedro-Woolley, 4 min (2.7 mi)

Turn right onto Collins Rd, 2 min (1.0 mi)
Turn left onto State Rte 20 E, 1 min (0.3 mi)

Turn right onto Sterling Rd, 2 min (0.8 mi)
Turn right into BaseCamp / Northwest Alpine Guides


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

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.


These items are required for our Intro to Alpine Rock Climbing course.

Discover premium retail and rental equipment at The Guide Hut’s online store. Order today, and your gear will be ready for pickup at BaseCamp on the morning of your climb. Don’t miss our Guide Picks blog for brand-specific gear recommendations. Gear up with us for your next adventure!

Shop the Guide Hut »Rental Reservation »Gear Recommendations »

Head and Face

  • Warm Hat: Wool or synthetic. Must cover the ears.
  • Buff
  • 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: One synthetic long-sleeve shirts. Hoods for sun protection are strongly recommended. A second base layer is optional to bring if you prefer a change of clothes.
  • Softshell Jacket: This is a breathable but wind-and-weather resistant jacket. Hoods are highly recommended. Alternatively, you could bring a mid- layer top such as a synthetic fleece or top to use in place of your softshell jacket.
  • Hardshell Jacket: A fully waterproof shell. GORE-TEX© or equivalent. Hoods are required.
  • Insulated Jacket: Medium weight down. 700+ fill or higher required.
  • Check out our video resource on Down Jackets for more.

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.


  • 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 shoes.


  • Rock Climbing Shoes: Velcro, lace-up, or slipper-style rock climbing shoes with sticky-rubber soles. A snug but not painful fit is recommended.
  • Approach Shoes: Light hiking boots or sturdy trail running shoes.
  • Lightweight Socks: Two to three pair. Synthetic or wool recommended.
  • Mediumweight Socks: One pair of wool or synthetic socks for chilly days.


  • 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.
  • Check out our video resource on Sleep Systems for more.

Packing and Backpack

  • Backpack: One 40- to 50-liter pack for personal and group gear. Should have an effective waist belt, fit properly and provide good support while carrying roughly 25 pounds.
  • Liner Bags: 1 large plastic contractor bag. 
  • Check out our video resource on Packing a Mountaineering Backpack for more.

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 (ropes, protection, etc.).

Climbing Gear

  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Rock Climbing Harness: Padded rock climbing harness.
  • 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.
  • Cord: 6 mm, 30 feet
  • Nylon Slings: (1) 60 cm nylon sling, (1) 120 cm nylon sling
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible for approach hikes to alpine rock climbs. (Optional)


  • 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 and medications
  • Plastic bowl, insulate mug, and spoon
  • Bear resistant container or sack
  • 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.


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 the Intro Alpine Rock Climbing Course 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 3,000 feet per day while carrying 45 pounds or more on your back.

Intro Alpine Rock Climbing Course

The 3 Day Intro Alpine Rock Climbing Course requires excellent physical fitness. Participants should prepare for up to 12 hours of combined hiking and training time on days 2 and 3.

Sunrise Mine Trailhead to Lake Elan High Camp:

  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Ascent: 2,500 feet
  • Pack Weight: 45+ pounds
  • Time: 3-4 hours

Lake Elan High Camp to Vesper Peak Summit:

  • Ascent: 1,000 feet
  • Pack Weight: 15+ pounds
  • Time: 5-7 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:

Evoke Endurance
Mountain Tactical Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

What about safety?

No matter if you have never climbed before, our instructors are prepared to help you learn mountaineering from the ground up. In addition to professional instruction in climbing skills, most importantly, you will learn skills that will keep you safe in the mountains. With an adventure sport like mountaineering, safety is paramount.

All our instructors have advanced avalanche training, wilderness medical training, and will instruct you how to be self-reliant in the mountains. Mountain climbing can be unpredictable – weather conditions can change in a moment and one wrong step can lead to an injury. Northwest Alpine Guides will instruct you how to climb safely and successfully.

Peaks of the North Cascades

Click to read more about the Peaks of the North Cascades in Washington State.

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Trip Length: 7 days

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Trip Length: 1-3 days

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Trip Length: 3 days

The emphasis of this course will be learning fundamental alpine rock climbing skills. The instruction is designed for climbers seeking to gain experience in an alpine mountaineering environment.

Vesper PeakDarrington, Washington