PRICE

$1095
Inquire for private climb rates

SCHEDULE

June 28 – July 1, 2019 / Sahale Peak
July 5 – July 8, 2019 / Mount Shuksan
July 12 – July 15, 2019 / Sahale Peak
July 26 – July 29, 2019 / Mount Shuksan
August 16 – August 19, 2019 / Mount Shuksan
September 6 – September 9, 2019 / Mount Shuksan

DETAILS

Grade: Beginner
4 Day Course

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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OVERVIEW

The emphasis of this course will be learning alpine mountaineering skills on a peak within North Cascades National Park. The instruction is designed for climbers seeking to gain experience in a glaciated environment. During the school you will learn the fundamentals of glacier mountaineering, climbing on snow and crampon techniques, self arrest, traveling as a rope team, introduction to snow anchors and basic crevasse rescue, covering the essential climbing skills needed to travel safely in the mountains. The course includes a summit climb of either Mount Shuksan, Sahale Mountain or Eldorado Peak. The course curriculum with be conducted on the Sulfide Glacier, in Boston Basin (Quien Sabe Glacier) or within the Eldorado Cross-country zone (the Eldorado and Inspiration Glaciers). For private group instruction, an alternate course location can be held on Mount Baker. Reaching the summit of Mount Baker is often secondary to the course objectives and will be determined by the goals of the team and time constraints required to cover the course curriculum. The course offers the freedom to explore less traveled and more remote areas of the North Cascades or Mount Baker.

Alpine Mountaineering Skills • 4 Day Course

All our mountaineering courses provide breakfast, dinner and hot drinks on the mountain. We utilize the lightest high quality mountaineering tents, stoves and group equipment available to lessen pack weight. We meet in Sedro Woolley for equipment check the morning of the course and make our way to the trail head and high camp the same day. Day two is dedicated to learning alpine mountaineering skills, day three we make our summit climb. Day four return to the trail head.

Or put it all together and combine our 4-day Alpine Skills Course with our 2-day Intro to Alpine Rock Course and discover what alpine climbing is really about.

Alpine Skills School Curriculum

  • Rest step, step kicking and pressure breathing
  • Ice axe techniques and self arrest training
  • Crampon usage and techniques
  • Glacier travel, climbing as a rope team
  • Introduction to snow & ice anchors
  • Basic crevasse rescue
  • Basic climbing knots & hitches
  • Leave no trace skills
  • Summit climb of Mount Shuksan or Sahale Mountain
  • Discussion topics will include: Clothing and equipment, packing a backpack, mountain weather, glaciology, acclimatization, route finding, snow camp skills.

Course Highlights

  • A full day of mountaineering skills in preparation for the climb.
  • The day is spent adjusting to the altitude, enjoying views of the North Cascades, and preparing for our summit bid.
  • An ascent and summit of a classic North Cascades peak.
  • Enjoy a Northwest Alpine Guides adventure training on glaciers and summit a peak in the heart of North Cascades National Park.
  • Small teams for a personalized experience, many of our courses are guided with a maximum of six climbers and two guides.
  • Breakfast, dinner and hot drinks are provided on the mountain.

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1 • Hike to High Camp
Day 2 • Alpine Mountaineering School
Day 3 • Summit Day
Day 4 • Hike to Trailhead

Qualifications

This climb is an entry level course and is suitable for climbers in great physical condition with no prior mountaineering experience. A full day of introductory skills training is included in the program. No acclimatization is necessary for this program. Read our Goals and Fitness page for recommendations on how to best physically prepare for this adventure.

3 to 1 Climber to Guide Ratio

We lead the Alpine Skills Course at a 3 to 1 climber to guide ratio ensuring that you receive personal attention and hands-on instruction throughout the course.

Northwest Alpine Guides is an authorized outfitter guide service within North Cascades National Park

ITINERARY

Course begins and ends in the North Cascades

Plan to arrive the day before the course begins.

Day 1 • Hike to High Camp

Meet 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. Then drive two hours to the trailhead in North Cascades National Park.

The hike to high camp takes 5 to 6 hours. The team will set camp between 5,000 – 6,600 feet depending on the season, we prepare dinner and relax for the evening.

Mount Shuksan has multiple camps between 5,000 feet and 6,600 feet.
Boston Basin has two designated camps known as the low camp at 5,300 feet and high camp at 6,400 feet.

Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Dinner (D)

Day 2 • Alpine Skills Mountaineering School

Today is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of mountaineering. The course instruction includes snow climbing, use of ice axe and self-rescue, crampon techniques, rope travel, and basic introduction on 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 • North Cascades National Park

Our summit day starts early with a pre-dawn alpine start. After enjoying summit views and celebrating our success we descend the route to high camp.

During the afternoon we will continue building on the essential skills needed to climb glaciated peaks. Instruction includes training on basic crevasse rescue systems.

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

Day 4 • Hike to Trailhead

After enjoying breakfast, we wrap of skills training and break camp, pack our gear and retrace our hike back to the trailhead. We generally arrive back to 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

8:00 am, the morning of the climb, we meet in Sedro Woolley for equipment check before heading to the trailhead. We will email you PreClimb info including gear list and departure details upon registration.

Deposit and Payments

$500.00 deposit per person includes a $200.00 non-refundable registration fee, due with application. Balance due 90 days prior to start date.

Price Includes

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

Price Does Not Include

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

Tipping

Our guides are dedicated 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 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, and you or your entire party may have to turn around without reaching the summit. Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not NWAG responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.

Date Changes

Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 30 days prior to your departure date for a $100 fee per person. Date changes are subject to availability and apply only to the current climbing season. There are no date changes allowed less than 30 days before departure.

Age Guidelines

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.

Travel Insurance

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

TripAssure

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

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

Global Rescue

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

Cancellations

Since departures require a minimum number of participates, 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 Alpine Mountaineering Skills 4-Day Course, Northwest Alpine Guides will provide group meals, (3) breakfasts and (3) dinners while on the mountain. You will need to provide your own lunch and snack food on the mountain.

Mountain Lunches

We recommend a variety of snack food for eating on the go, we do not stop for a big lunch break, we eat during short maintenance breaks throughout the day. The idea is to keep your energy level up for the climb eating small amounts about every hour or so.

Some examples of snack-lunch foods are dried meats (salami), jerky (turkey, beef, fish), tuna fish, cheese, crackers, bagels, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, candy bars, gummy candy, cookies, energy bars, GORP trail mix.

The importance of having foods that you like to eat cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. A diet of sweet, sour and salty foods is recommended.

When preparing lunches, please do not bring food items that require cooking or extensive preparation.

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

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

Day 3: Lunch & snacks for climb to summit and descent
Four 15-minute snack breaks on the ascent from high camp to summit, two or three 15-minute snack breaks on the descent from summit to high camp

Day 4: Remaining snacks for the descent to trailhead

Group Meals

Here is an example of meal items NWAG provides and our guides will prepare during group breakfasts and dinners.

Breakfast: Oatmeal, Pop Tarts, Bagels, Fruit and Granola Bars

Dinner: Chicken, Beef, Pasta, Noodles, Tortellini, Vegetables, Rice, Beans, Tasty Bites, Cheese, Freeze-Dried Food

Hot Drinks: Coffee, Caffeinated Tea, Herbal Tea

Meal Concerns

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

Northwest Alpine Guides is unable to accommodate vegan, gluten-free, or other types of special meal concerns. You will be happier providing your own meals.

Contact us for questions.

TRAVEL

Getting There

8:00 am, the morning of the climb, we meet in Sedro Woolley for equipment check before heading to the trailhead. We will email you PreClimb info including gear list and departure details upon registration.

The town of Sedro Woolley is approximately 76 miles and an hour and thirty minute drive from Seattle or Bellevue depending on traffic. The small town of Sedro Woolley is referred as “The Gateway to the North Cascades”. The cities of Mount Vernon and Burlington offer more food and lodging than Sedro Woolley.

Bingham Park
Sedro Woolley, WA 98284
Click for location on Google maps

We meet at the picnic table under the trees, in view of the playground. Following the gear check you will have an opportunity to stop at a market for last minutes items.

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.

Northwest programs our itineraries reflect the date and time the program begins at a start location (Mount Baker, North Cascades National Park). When flying to Washington State you will need to arrive the day before the climb begins to meet the group at the program start location. With regards to your departure flight, our return time to the program start location is often unpredictable. We suggest a hotel reservation for the night of the last day and plan to return home the day after the end of the program. If departing on the last day of the program, we recommend booking a flight later than 10pm.

Transportation

Group transportation is not included within the price of the trip. This includes transportation from the meeting location to the trailhead. Guides are not responsible to provide transportation to team members. We often have a mix of local and out of town customers on each Northwest climb or course. Climbers are free to rideshare with other team members at their own responsibility. Our office will forward your name and email to other team members if you give us permission to share your contact information indicating that you are interested in ridesharing. The NWAG office does not coordinate ridesharing/ carpooling. In some cases, a Northwest Alpine Guides staff member can provide limited transportation from Seattle or Bellevue to the trailhead as a fee service.

Trailhead Parking

You will need to obtain a NW Forest Service parking permit at the trailhead lot. Passes are $5.00 per day. They can be purchased in advance or the day of the gear check.

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 Bingham Park Loop in Sedro-Woolley, 7 min (4.3 mi)

At the traffic circle, take the 2nd exit and stay on Cook Road
Turn left onto Bingham Park Loop

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 Bingham Park Loop in Sedro-Woolley, 7 min (4.3 mi)

From Burlington

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

Hotels

Lodging in Burlington and Sedro Woolley, Washington. For those who wish to lodge close to the meeting location the night before the climb, the following options are recommended.

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

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

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

Red Lion Hotel Bellevue
11211 Main Street
Bellevue, WA 98004

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

Mountain Weather

For updated North Cascades weather forecasts, click here.