PRICE

$945

SCHEDULE

Mount Baker Intro 3 Day

Summer 2021

May 14 – May 16, 2021
May 21 – May 23, 2021
May 24 – May 26, 2021
May 28 – May 30, 2021
June 4 – June 6, 2021
June 7 – June 9, 2021
June 11 – June 13, 2021
June 18 – June 20, 2021
June 25 – June 27, 2021
July 2 – July 4, 2021
July 5 – July 7, 2021
July 9 – July 11, 2021
July 16 – July 18, 2021
July 23 – July 25, 2021
July 30 – August 1, 2021
August 2 – August 4, 2021
August 6 – August 8, 2021
August 13 – August 15, 2021
August 20 – August 22, 2021
August 27 – August 29, 2021
August 30 – September 1, 2021
September 3 – September 5, 2021
September 10 – September 12, 2021
September 17 – September 19, 2021
September 24 – September 26, 2021

DETAILS

Grade: Beginner
3 Day Summit Climb

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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OVERVIEW

Summer 2021: At Northwest Alpine Guides we have adopted the following Infectious Disease Guidelines for the safety of our guests and our staff.

Our 3-Day Introduction to Mountaineering School on Mount Baker combines a summit ascent with an opportunity to learn the fundamental mountaineering skills to safely and successfully climb glaciated terrain with a guide. The course is designed for first-time, beginner climbers, or for those seeking to refresh their climbing skills. Mount Baker has it all: easy access to glaciated terrain, a remote wilderness setting, and big mountain esthetics. It is a superb choice for anyone who wants to discover mountaineering and ascend a large, heavily glaciated peak.

Mount Baker Intro to Mountaineering • 3 Day Ascent

To maximize your chances of success, Northwest Alpine Guides will select one of two standard routes on Mount Baker based on mountain conditions at the time of your climb. We will climb either the Coleman Deming Route from 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. Our professional guides will teach you the skills you will need for a safe and successful climb.

On our three and five day mountaineering courses 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. Our mountain guides are highly skilled professionals who take pride in caring for each client’s safety and success. We meet at our Guide Hut in Sedro-Woolley for an equipment check and orientation on the morning of the course, and then make our way to the trailhead and high camp the same day. On Day Two we practice mountaineering skills. On Day Three we climb to the summit and descend to camp, then return to the trailhead.

Which Mount Baker itinerary is right for me?

Our 3 Day Introduction to Mountaineering School and Summit Climb is designed for beginner climbers, and for climbers who have not previously used ice axe and crampons on glaciated terrain. The 3-day itinerary simply offers you more time to learn the skills you need to climb Mount Baker and other glaciated mountains safely with a guide. Our Mount Baker 2 Day Climb requires stronger hiking and backpacking skills. On the two-day itinerary, your guides will teach a 1-hour skills refresher once you arrive at high camp. Our two-day climb is best for those with previous climbing experience, or a high level of athletic fitness and the ability to learn quickly. You will be expected to maintain a swifter guided pace.

Intro to Mountaineering School Curriculum

  • Rest step, step kick, pressure breathing
  • Ice axe technique and self-arrest
  • Crampon technique
  • Snow travel, climbing as a rope team
  • Introduction to snow anchors
  • Basic climbing knots
  • 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 approach. After crossing Kulshan Creek at 2 miles (4500 feet), 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 and 6200 feet along the edge of the Coleman Glacier. Exact elevation and location will vary depending on water sources and other climbing parties.

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

Climb Highlights

  • One full day Introductory Mountaineering School to prepare you for your climb.
  • An extra day to adjust to the altitude, prepare for your summit bid, and enjoy views of the North Cascades and the heavily glaciated slopes of Mount Baker.
  • Small teams for a personalized experience. Many of our climbs are guided with a maximum of six climbers and two guides.
  • Access to our convenient Guide Hut in Sedro-Woolley, WA.
  • Breakfast, dinner and hot drinks are provided on the mountain.
  • An exciting, enjoyable Northwest Alpine Guides adventure, featuring training on glaciers and an ascent of one of a classic mountaineering objective.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Hike to High Camp
Day 2 • Mountaineering School
Day 3 • Summit Day

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.

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 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 to ensure that you receive personal attention and hands-on instruction throughout the climb.

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

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

ITINERARY

Mount Baker Intro to Mountaineering

Plan to arrive the day before the climb 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-rescue, 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. We pack our gear and hike to the trailhead.

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

Vertical gain climbing: 4,600 feet
Climbing time: 9+ hours

Meals Included: Breakfast (B)

Plan to depart the day after the climb 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 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.

Minimum Participants

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

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 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 Intro Climb, Northwest Alpine Guides will provide group meals consisting of two (2) breakfasts and two (2) 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 3: Remaining snacks for the descent to trailhead

Group Meals

Northwest Alpine Guides may provide and prepare 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. In rare cases, Northwest Alpine Guides staff may provide limited transportation between the trailhead and Sedro-Woolley as a fee service.

Trailhead Parking

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

Driving Directions

From Seattle

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

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

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

The NWAG Guide Hut is the first building on your left

From Bellingham

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

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

The NWAG Guide Hut is the first building on your left

From Burlington

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

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

The NWAG Guide Hut is the first building on your left

Hotels

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

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

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

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

Mountain Weather

For updated North Cascades weather forecasts, click here.

GEAR LIST

These items are required for our Mount Baker Intro to Mountaineering climb.

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

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

Head and Face

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

Upper Body

  • Baselayer Tops: One synthetic long-sleeve shirt. 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.

Handwear

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

Lower Body

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

Footwear

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

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

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

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

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

  • Approach Shoes (Optional): Light hiking boots or sturdy trail running shoes may be adequate for late-season approaches to high camp after trails are free of snow. Must be sturdy enough to support your ankles while carrying a carrying a 35- to 45- pound pack.
  • 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 35+ pounds.
  • Liner Bags: 1 large plastic contractor bag.

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

Climbing Gear

  • Ice Axe: 55-75 cm mountaineering axe.
  • Crampons: 12-point steel with anti-balling plates.
  • Climbing Helmet: Lightweight
  • Alpine Harness: Lightweight alpine harness with adjustable leg loops.
  • Trekking Poles: Adjustable and collapsible with snow baskets.
  • Locking Carabiners: (2) Large pear-shaped, screw gate locking carabiners.
  • Non-Locking Carabiners: (1) Wire gate non-locking carabiners.
  • Prussik Cord: 6 mm, 30 feet

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
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Earplugs

FITNESS

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

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

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

Fitness Benchmarks

To safely enjoy this climb, 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.

Mount Baker Southside: Easton Glacier Route

The Easton Glacier Route demands nearly 7,400 feet of elevation gain from trailhead to summit. On day three of the 3 Day Mount Baker Glacier Mountaineering Course, we climb to the summit, descend to high camp, then pack up and hike down to the trailhead. Participants should prepare for 12-14 hours of combined climbing and hiking time.

Schriebers Meadow Trailhead to Sandy 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: 9-10 hours

Mount Baker Northside: Coleman Deming Glacier Route

The Coleman Deming Glacier Route demands approximately 7,100 feet of elevation gain from trailhead to summit. On day three of the 3 Day Mount Baker Glacier Mountaineering Course, we climb to the summit, descend to high camp, then pack up and hike down to the trailhead. Participants should prepare for up to 12-14 hours of combined climbing and hiking time.

Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead to Hogsback High Camp:

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

Hogsback Camp to Summit Roundtrip:

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Ascent: 4,800 feet
  • Pack Weight: 20-25 pounds
  • Time: 9-10 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 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.

MOUNTAINEERING COURSES

5 Day Mount Baker Glacier Mountaineering Course

4 Day North Cascades Alpine Skills Course

6 Day Mount Rainier Expedition Training Course

All Northwest Courses