General FAQ’s

Even the most experienced climbers have questions and if this is your first time on a Northwest Climb you are sure to have them. We provide information about travel dates, itineraries, and required equipment throughout our website. Each individual trip includes a travel information section with a list of specific trip FAQ’s for your reference. However, if you cannot find the answers you seek anywhere else, we try to provide them here!

When do I need to arrive and depart?

Domestic Departures

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.

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.

Domestic Programs

What type of tent accommodations can I expect?

We provide high quality mountaineering tents on Northwest climbs and courses. Clients maybe asked to participate in setting up tents and help in establishing camp, as well as participate in cooking.

Do you provide single tent accommodations?

During Northwest climbs and courses, single tent accommodations are typically not available.

How heavy a pack do I need to carry?

On Northwest programs you will be required to carry a portion of the group gear and food, in addition to your personal gear. This should be taken into consideration when deciding what you should bring. Be prepared to carry between 40-55+ lbs. depending on the length of the program and group size. An adequate size backpack is required.

Can I hire a porter?

During Northwest climbs and courses, hiring a porter is not feasible. You are responsible to carry all your personal gear and food, as well as a portion of group gear (tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, etc.). An adequate size backpack is required.


Is it customary to tip your mountain guide?

Tipping is considered a symbol of appreciation for a job well done. Tipping the Northwest Alpine Guide guide staff is a personal choice.

Our guides are dedicated to working hard to ensure your success and well-being 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, please send gratuities through

I have a group of family/friends/colleagues and we have specific dates we would like to climb. Can you customize a climb for us?

All our programs can be run on a private basis. The beauty of a private program is you climb what you want, with who you want, when you want. We will take care of the entire program. We are also able to provide you with a custom itinerary depending on your interests. We may require a non-refundable deposit for custom program planning which will be applied towards your program cost at the time of reservation.

Travel & Insurance

Do you recommend trip cancellation insurance?

Northwest Alpine Guides highly recommends purchasing of trip cancellation and travel insurance. This comprehensive travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delays, medical expenses and emergency assistance.

Northwest Alpine Guides does not insure you against cancellation. For more info about current coverage plans and quotes please visit.

Do I need any other insurance?

Make sure you provide yourself adequate traveler’s medical and evacuation insurance for coverage should you have a problem during the trip.

Experience and Fitness

What are climbing grades?

Northwest Alpine Guides provides climbing grades to help choose which programs are best suited for experience level, knowledge of climbing, and overall physical conditioning. Mountain travel can be extremely challenging yet profoundly rewarding. We offer programs of various skill levels and difficulty. Regardless which program you choose we expect our clients to be physically and mentally prepared for the demands of the journey.

Can anyone participate on your NWAG programs?

We feel that anyone good physical fitness should be able to join us on many of our programs. Northwest Alpine Guides guides will introduce basic climbing skills needed during the program. Remember your ability to participate in the program is largely dependent upon your overall health and fitness. A climb should not be taken lightly and we encourage you to prepare for it by physically conditioning yourself for the strenuous aspects of the program. We strongly advise anyone who is considering a climb with Northwest Alpine Guides, who may have a medical condition or medical history that may affect their performance, first consult with their physician. If you have further questions or concerns, please contact us and our office staff can discuss which program is best suited for you.

What are the minimum age requirements?

We would prefer to talk with you about the program you are interested in and see if it is an appropriate choice for someone under the age of 18.

Participants age 16 & 17, on a fixed date group climb, and accompanied by parent or legal guardian.

Participants age 15 or under, NWAG requires a private climb, and accompanied by parent or legal guardian.

A minor climber must be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian throughout the entirety of the program. If either climber must descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together.


Does Northwest Alpine Guides rent equipment?

We provide rental gear on our domestic Northwest climbs and courses. Please refer to the rental reservations page for details. Rental gear needs to be reserved and paid in advance.

Where should I buy equipment?

We can help you find a quality local climbing and outdoor shop where you can purchase the equipment you will need.