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Technical Alpine Climbing

Skill Level:
Beginner - Intermediate
Fitness Level:
Washington - North Cascades
2019 dates: June 25-29; July 8-12; 15-19; 22-26; 27-31; August 6 – 10; 11 – 15; 23 – 27; September 3-7 (Custom Dates Available)
Trip Duration:
5 days

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Course Description:

Using Mt. Erie and Boston Basin in the North Cascades, we will give you a complete set of Alpine Climbing skills. The first two days are spent at the scenic Mt Erie rock crag near Bellingham, WA. For these two days we enjoy the amenities of car camping as we focus on introductory rope skills and high angle movement as needed for multi-pitch rock climbs in the mountains. On day three we pack our bags and drive to the Boston Basin trail-head in the heart of the North Cascades National Park. We then tackle the steep hike to our base camp at the base of the Quien Sabe Glacier.  This is an intense place. There are big glaciers and lots and lots of steep and jagged peaks. The glaciers and snow slopes that surround camp make an ideal classroom for learning mountaineering skills. At last we get to top off this full week with the opportunity for several technical and semi technical peak ascents.

Keep in mind this itinerary was built for the biginner student with an excelent base of fitness.  If you are worried about fitness try the Three Day Baker climb.

Day 1:  7:00 a.m. Meet at REI in Bellingham or if arriving from the south meet group in Sedro-Wooley. Introductions, gear check and last chance to buy items.

Day 2:  8:00 a.m. leave camp and practice rock skills throughout the day.  On this day we do quite a bit of climbing several pitches off the ground.  If you are not sure how you fair with heights than perhaps try a less ambitious program to start with.

Day 3: On day 3 we will arrive at the trailhead in early to mid morning.  Most hikes consist of about 3 miles and several thousand feet elevation.  Arrive at camp mid day set up camp and practice dive right into snow school.

Day 4:  8:00 a.m. leave camp and practice skills throughout the day.

Day 5:  3:00 a.m. leave camp for summit climb. This will put us on the summit somewhere between 8 and 10 AM. On this day we tackle a climb that puts all of the skills together.  Expect to use Glacier travel as well as rock climbing skills to reach the summit of a prominant alpine summit in the Cascades.  After a small rest and fuel and hydrate we pack up camp and descend to the car. This last day will get us back to town between 4:30 and 6:00 PM.

Mountaineering skills you will learn:

  • Basic Rock systems and movement skills
  • Multi-pitch climbing
  • Rock Anchors
  • Rappeling
  • Prussiking
  • Introduction to high angle rescue
  • Mountain Navigation
  • Route planning and time management
  • Mountain Fitness
  • Nutrition and training
  • Movement on steep snow and Ice
  • Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue
  • Technical snow systems

Additional Info from the Blog

Making the weather call

Crevasse Rescue 3:1

Crevasse Rescue 6:1

Choosing Slings

Staying Fueled