Shuksan Descent-Riding Thunder Mountain

  • Dates: March 24-25; April 28-29
  • Duration: 2 Days
  • Level: Advanced
  • Client Ratio: 4:1
  • Cost:
    • – $625
  • Included: All meals while on the mountain, tents, stoves, cook kits, group climbing equipment, and guide services.
  • Not Included: Airfare, transportation within Seattle, ground transportation hotel accommodations, restaurant meals, gratuities for guides, and all personal items.
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Shuksan Descent from 9,127′ down the most photographed mountain in the world offers one of the great ski descents in the NW. From gentle glaciers to the steepest ice south of Canada, there is a route for everyone!  A taste of the Alps without the crowds, makes this one of the best ski descents in the Cascades with steep faces, narrow couloirs, gentle glaciers and old growth forests. Follow this up with an ascent of the highest peak in the North Cascades of Mt. Baker on the Coleman Deming glaciers taking in the view of the amazing BC Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean.

Day 1: We drive from Seattle to the trailhead. The hike to base camp takes from 2‑5 hours, passing through alpine meadows and clusters of Mountain Hemlock before making camp and take in the rugged spectacular ridges and icefalls that set Shuksan apart from the Volcanoes.

Day 2: A long day begins with a pre-dawn start on moderate glacier climbing over parts of three different glaciers to the summit pyramid. From here you will have views of the complex glaciers beneath us as well as the surrounding peaks of the North Cascades! We then descend the climbing route, back to our tent. After descending, we will enjoy the afternoon, break camp, head down the mountain, and arrive back at the trailhead to celebrate our run.

Touring Gear

  • Adjustable Ski poles with powder (big) baskets*
  • Skis or snowboard.Skis should be equipped with alpine touring bindings or telemark bindings. We prefer split decision snowboards w/ skins because you do not need snow shoes.
  • Alpine touring, telemark, or snowboard boots *(Available for rental @Pro Ski Service)
  • Snowshoes for snowboarders *(Available for rental @Second Ascent)
  • Skins with glop stopper (skin wax)
  • Avalanche Beacon This needs to be Triple Antenna. *(Available to rent from BCA Guides)
  • Shovel Small collapsible style *(Available to rent from BCA Guides)
  • Avalanche Probe 265cm or longer*(Available to rent from BCA Guides)
  • Harness Must have adjustable leg loops and fit over all clothing (e.g. Mammut Alpine Light, Black Diamond Couloir)
  • 2 Locking carabiners Large, pear-shaped carabiner is best. screw gate type, no Autolocking
  • 2 Regular carabiners (e.g. wire gate style recommended)
  • Ice axe lightweight for glacier travel
  • Ski Crampons for skis & boards
  • Crampons with anti-bot plates – fitted to your boots
  • Helmet for riding and climbing adjustable to fit over hats
  • Glacier Travel/Crevasse Rescue Prussiks/Ropeman & Tibloc

Upper Body

  • Lightweight base layer T-shirt or long sleeve polypropylene shirt
  • Soft Shell
  • 1 -2 Sports bra synthetic
  • 1 Down/synthetic jacket with hood
  • 1 Hard shell jacket with hood Waterproof and breathable. roomy enough to fit over multiple layers.
  • 1 pair liner gloves Thin wool or polypropylene
  • 1 pair warm gloves Synthetic
  • Shell gloves or mitts
  • Warm hat Wool or synthetic
  • Balaclava or Buff
  • Shade hat or baseball cap

Lower Body

  • 2 pair heavy wool/synthetic socks Check boot fit with liner and wool socks on
  • 2 pair synthetic underwear Polypropylene or Capilene
  • 1 pair lightweight long underwear Polypropylene or Capilene
  • Soft shell pants with Schoeller fabrics
  • Shell pants Waterproof/breathable with full side zips, Gore-Tex or equivalent is best

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 ¾ length Therma-Rest for extra warmth and comfort.*(For 3 day course)

Backpack

  • Internal frame pack 3000-4500 cubic inch capacity, avoid unnecessary options that add weight

Miscellaneous Equipment

  • Glacier glasses 100% UV protection
  • Personal first aid kit Basics: moleskin/blister kit, Band-Aids, first-aid tape, ibuprofen, personal medications, etc.
  • Lip balm At least SPF 20,
  • Sunscreen At least SPF 40
  • Headlamp compact LED
  • 2 water bottles 1 liter wide-mouth Nalgene and 1 bottle holster, or
  • Hydration bladder With drinking tube and 1 Nalgene bottle
  • Plastic mug Needs a snap-on lid, 16 oz. or larger.*(for 3 Day Course)
  • Bowl and spoon Plastic, small Tupperware works well. Lexan spoons are best.
  • Multi-tool.
  • Toiletry kit Be sure to include toilet paper stored in a plastic bag.
  • 1-2 Large plastic bags Good for keeping miscellaneous gear dry
  • Nylon stuff sacks For food and gear storage (large Ziplocs are also useful
  • Bandana
  • Hand wipes
  • 1 small stainless steel thermos (Optional)
  • Lunch & snack food (no more than 2 pounds)
  • Camera
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WILL MY GUIDE (OR GUIDES) BE?
You will receive an introductory email with the instructor for your course. We are small company who enjoy working together in the mountains as well as highly skilled professionals who hold current Wilderness First Responder certification and are proficient in technical rescue and evacuation skills. Our guides are dedicated to the world of alpinism, many having first ascents and hold professional certifications with AIARE & AMGA. The AMGA is part of the IFMGA, which is the international body of certified mountain guides.

HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP MY GUIDES?
Tipping is considered standard practice in the guiding industry. Tipping amounts vary – so $15-20 per day per person/per guide is average that works well for the guides without a serious blow to your wallet. Often 10% of the course cost is a good rule-of-thumb. If you feel that the program was exceptional or substandard the tip can reflect that.

CAN I RENT EQUIPMENT FROM BCAG?
Yes, we rent Beacons, Shovels, Probes and Packs here. If you need these plus touring equipment, Second Ascent rents avalanche safety equipment, alpine touring, tele and split boards click here. Quantities are limited so please contact us as soon as possible if you are interested.

HOW HEAVY WILL MY PACK BE?
You will carry 10-15 pounds, which will include everything on the equipment list.

WHEN DO I NEED TO PAY THE BALANCE OF MY TRIP?
Payable when you make your reservation by check, or credit card.

WHAT HAPPENS IF I NEED TO CANCEL MY TRIP?
If you should decide to cancel your trip, BCAG must be notified in writing. Your trip will be cancelled from the date we receive written notice. You will be assessed a cancellation fee according to the following schedule:
90 to 22 days from trip departure – 50% of trip cost
30 days or less – 100% of trip cost

WHAT HAPPENS IF I WANT TO CHANGE THE DATES OF MY TRIP?
Schedule changes are subject to a $50 fee per person up to 2 weeks out and $100 less then 14 days from the start of the trip and may not be possible. If conditions or circumstances preclude running a scheduled program we reserve the right to make the decision as to whether the program will be canceled, rescheduled, or an alternative provided.

WHAT HAPPENS IF BC ADVENTURE GUIDES HAS TO CANCEL MY TRIP?
In the rare circumstance where we need to cancel a program you can reschedule without a fee or receive a refund on your deposit. If circumstances arise that force us to cancel a program that is already in progress we reserve the right to decide whether a refund or credit, at a prorated rate, will be issued. We are not responsible for cancellation fees or costs arising from your changed or cancelled flights, lodging, or other arrangements. We strongly recommend obtaining trip cancellation insurance from your travel agent.

DO I NEED TO PURCHASE TRIP INSURANCE?
BCAG highly encourages the purchasing of trip cancellation and travel insurance on domestic trips and requires it on International trips. Europeans and Canadians use it because travel insurance provides coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delays, medical expenses and emergency assistance.
Several options include Travelex or Travel Guard International at (1-877-248-8992) & www.travelguard.com for protecting your investment, however there are many companies to choose from and you may wish to do some individual research regarding which policy is right for you.

WHEN SHOULD I PLAN TO LEAVE A RETURN HOME?
We often get this question because most people need to know how much total time they need to take off work. Our Avi and Ski Tours begin by 8 AM at the trailhead and return to the car by 3. Our return to Seattle on the last day typically allows you to get back between 5-7 with the descent and drive back.