Intro to Mountain Climbing-Alpinism 101

  • Dates: CUSTOM-Min 2 People
  • Duration:2-3 Days
  • Level: Beginner
  • Client Ratio: 4:1
  • Cost:
  • 2 Day – $625*(No Summit Climb)
  • 3 Day – $895
  • 4 Day – $1095**(Crevasse Rescue Training)
  • Included:Park fees, group climbing equipment, and guide services. *(meals while on the mountain, tents, stoves, cook kits and personal climbing equipment rentals available)
  • Not Included:Ground transportation airfare, transportation within Seattle, hotel accommodations, restaurant meals, gratuities for guides, meals while on the mountain, tents, stoves, cook kits, and all personal items.

Book 4 Day Online Now!

Intro to Mountain Climbing with our Alpinism 101 beginning with our weekend alpine instruction on glacial travel. We teach skills and philosophy of fast and light alpine climbing in the rugged, glaciated North Cascades for climbers interested in developing their ability to climb in mixed terrain. The topics taught include: rock, snow &amp, ice climbing techniques, equipment choice, anchor systems and self-rescue techniques.

We keep the course small to facilitate a better learning environment. This course is the baseline for all our bigger climbs and more advanced courses. For new climbers looking to be independent, this program offers self-rescues skill necessary to manage the risks of a crevasse fall in the high alpine of the Cascades.With the addition of 1-2 days this intensive training program will include summit attempts ascents of Mount Baker or Sahale. This course is perfect training for Rainier and high altitude peaks that prepare your for your own personal ascent goals.

Knots and anchors
• Snow and ice anchor placement, construction, and equalization
• Ice axe application for climbing moderate snow and ice
• Ropes usage in glacier travel team management,
• Crampon usage and techniques: French and American techniques
• Crevasse rescue
• Route finding, and crevasse navigation and trip planning techniques
• Hazard assessment of: objective vs. subjective hazards
• Discussions on mountain weather, alpine ecology, Leave No Trace ethics, and moving fast and light – balancing speed with safety.

Day 1 • Hike to Camp
Start time and location to be determined. Gear check and drive to the trailhead. Hike to Camp. Throughout the day our guides will begin to introduce basic mountaineering skills. (D)

Day 2 • Mountaineering Instruction
Today is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of mountaineering. The course instruction includes snow climbing, use of ice axe and self rescue, crampon techniques, glacier travel and basic introduction on anchors and crevasse rescue. Throughout the program guides will host discussions on numerous mountaineering topics. Hike out by 4 to arrive back at your car by 6-7. (B)

  

Day 1 – Hike to Camp

7:30am orientation. After an initial meeting and equipment check, we drive from Seattle to the trailhead and begin our hike to base camp. This approach is very strenuous and can take from 3-5 hours depending upon the particular approach and the fitness of the group. (This is where all of your training pays off!) You’ll hike through ancient forests and snow-covered alpine meadows, enroute to our base camp. After establishing our camp, the remainder of the day will focus on the skills necessary for the proper use of an ice axe, traveling in balance, self-belay, self-arrest, placing various types of snow protection for use in the construction of snow anchors, as well as belay techniques.(D) 

Day 2 – Mountaineering Instruction 

You will begin the day by learning crampon use and climbing steep snow and ice. We then focus on the skills required for safe and efficient glacier travel including roped travel and self-rescue (prussiking) techniques. This will include the means for each team member to correctly tie into the rope including the proper spacing of climbers based on the number of team members.. After learning the proper techniques for traveling as a rope team, we will then make a short glacial “tour”, enabling us to practice and comprehend the day’s lessons. Discussions late in the day will focus on navigation with the use of map and compass. (B) (D) 

Day 3 – Summit Climb

After a pre-dawn wake-up and a quick breakfast, we climb our way toward the summit. Today your group will apply the skills they have been practicing toward our ascent of a major glaciated peak. Depending on conditions and the pace of your group, it will take from five to eight hours to reach the summit. After enjoying the views and a snack, and absorbing your accomplishments, students will navigate and lead their team back to high camp, enjoying a well-earned rest. We will then break camp, pack up our gear, and head back to the trailhead. (B) 

Day 1

7:30am orientation. After an initial meeting and equipment check, we drive from Seattle to the trailhead and begin our hike to base camp. This approach is very strenuous and can take from 3-5 hours depending upon the particular approach and the fitness of the group. (This is where all of your training pays off!) You’ll hike through ancient forests and snow-covered alpine meadows, enroute to our base camp. After establishing our camp, the remainder of the day will focus on the skills necessary for the proper use of an ice axe, traveling in balance, self-belay, self-arrest, placing various types of snow protection for use in the construction of snow anchors, as well as belay techniques. (D) 

Day 2 – Mountaineering Instruction 

You will begin the day by learning crampon use and climbing steep snow and ice. We then focus on the skills required for safe and efficient glacier travel including roped travel and self-rescue (prussiking) techniques. This will include the means for each team member to correctly tie into the rope including the proper spacing of climbers based on the number of team members.. After learning the proper techniques for traveling as a rope team, we will then make a short glacial “tour”, enabling us to practice and comprehend the day’s lessons. Discussions late in the day will focus on navigation with the use of map and compass. (B) (D) 

Day 3 – Summit Climb
After a pre-dawn wake-up and a quick breakfast, we climb our way toward the summit. Today your group will apply the skills they have been practicing toward our ascent of a major glaciated peak. Depending on conditions and the pace of your group, it will take from five to eight hours to reach the summit. After enjoying the views and a snack, and absorbing your accomplishments, students will navigate and lead their team back to high camp. We will spend the afternoon going over crevasse rescue then relax in camp for another night! (B) (D) 

Day 4 -Mountaineering Instruction and Return Home
We wake up and review Crevasse rescue techniques, including constructing and equalizing multiple anchor points and practicing rescue scenarios then descend to the valley where we will celebrate a successful trip and begin planning the next climbing adventure. (B) 

Itinerary Notes: BCAG 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

Our recommended clothing system has four layers.

  • Base layer: manages moisture and wicks perspiration away from your skin. (synthetic or merino wool)
  • Softshell: should be a durable, comfortable, insulating and wind/water resistant layer that breathes well.
  • Hard shell: windproof, waterproof and breathable.  (e.g. Gore-Tex, or similar)
  • Insulating layer: should be down-fill or synthetic-fill and fit over all layers. (e.g. down, primaloft or polarguard)

These four layers are usually sufficient for most people, but if you tend to be colder bring one extra medium-layer that would be ideal for extra warmth around camp, such as a vest. When deciding what to pack, remember to bring enough clothes and accessories to ensure your safety and comfort, while not over-burdening yourself with items you probably won’t use.

Climbing Gear

  • Adjustable Ski Poles
  • Alpine Climbing boots Full shank crampon compatible leather, synthetic, or hybrid boot depending on climb and season.Single-weight synthetic/leather mountaineering boots are adequate for mid and late-summer climbs on Mount Baker and in the North Cascades when conditions are expected to be dry.
  • Alpine climbing harness  Must have adjustable leg loops and fit over all clothing and can be put on with ski boots
  • 2 Locking carabiners Large, pear-shaped carabiner is best. 
  • 2 Regular carabiners lightweight
  • 1 Single Length Runner/Sling
  • Ice axe  Lightweight
  • Crampons with anti-ball plate * Must be fit to boots prior to trip,
  • Climbing/ski helmet * Adjustable, should fit with hat on
  • Crevasse Rescue Equipment Kit*:
    • 4 locking carabiners Large, pear-shaped carabiner is best, screw gate type recommended
    • 4 regular carabiners (e.g. small wire gate are recommended)
    • 1 double length sling
    • 1 single length sling
    • ! Cordelette 6 mil 18-20’(6-7 meters)
    • 1 12” Prussik or Hollow Block*
    • 1 Microtraxion & Tibloc*

Upper Body

  • 1 synthetic T-shirt
  • 1 long sleeve Sun Hoodie or shirt Lightweight, light colored for sunny days
  • 2 synthetic sports bras*(WOMEN)
  • 1 soft shell jacket
  • 1 Down/synthetic jacket with hood
  • 1 Hard shell jacket with hood Waterproof and breathable. Gore-Tex or equivalent is best, roomy enough to fit over multiple layers.
  • 1 pair lightweight gloves
  • 1 pair warm waterproof gloves
  • Warm hat Wool or synthetic
  • Balaclava/Buff
  • Shade hat or Visor

Lower Body

  • 2 pair med- heavy wool/synthetic socks Check boot fit with liner and wool socks on
  • 1 pair lightweight long underwear
  • 1-2 pairs of underwear boxers/briefs
  • Softshell pants 
  • Shell pants Waterproof/breathable with full side zips

Sleeping Gear

  • Sleeping bag Rated to at least 20º F. Line the stuff sack w/ plastic bag.
  • Sleeping pad 1 closed cell foam and/or Neo-Air for extra warmth and comfort.

Backpack

  • Internal frame pack 3500-4500 cubic inch capacity able to carry snowboard/skis

Miscellaneous Equipment

  • Goggles and Sunglasses 100% UV protection with side shields or wrap around.
  • Personal first aid repair kit Basics: moleskin/blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, spare parts for bindings and batteries etc.
  • Lip balm At least SPF 20
  • Sunscreen At least SPF 40
  • Headlamp lightweight LED
  • 2 water bottles 1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene and 1 bottle holster, or
  • Hydration bladder With drinking tube and 1 Nalgene bottle
  • Bowl and spoon Plastic, small Tupperware works well. Lexan spoons are best.
  • Toiletry kit Be sure to include WAG Bag or toilet paper stored in a plastic bag.
  • Bandana
  • Hand wipes
  • 1 small stainless steel thermos (Optional)
  • Favorite snack foods (no more than 2 pounds)