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Trip

Washington

Mountaineering, Camping

Trip Intro to Mountaineering
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Hone your mountaineering skills and climb a Cascade peak over a long weekend.

Powered by the pros at Mountain Madness, this Intro to Moun­taineer­ing course is a great way for begin­ner climbers to learn the fun­da­men­tals of moun­taineer­ing, and for expe­ri­enced climbers to learn the lat­est tech­niques and review their skills. The moun­taineer­ing skills you will learn are part of the fun­da­men­tal build­ing blocks of our climb­ing school. We spend two days on Ruth Moun­tain learn­ing the essen­tials of alpine moun­taineer­ing, includ­ing ice axe and cram­pon use, self arrest, and back­coun­try camp­ing. Our high­ly moti­vat­ed and expe­ri­enced guides are com­mit­ted to mak­ing your intro to moun­taineer­ing course a reward­ing and edu­ca­tion­al experience.
 
With quick access to glaciat­ed ter­rain and a spec­tac­u­lar set­ting on the north side of Mount Shuk­san, Ruth Moun­tain offers one of the best entry lev­el peaks for first time moun­taineer­ing. From the sum­mit of Ruth Moun­tain you get a glimpse into the spec­tac­u­lar Pick­ets Range and a unique north side view of Mount Shuk­san. This trip will sure­ly get you hooked on climbing.
 
This course curriculum includes:

  • Snow climb­ing, ice axe use and safe­ty, and mov­ing in balance
  • Roped glac­i­er trav­el, rope team man­age­ment, route find­ing, and crevasse navigation
  • Appli­ca­tion of all ice axe posi­tions and self arrest training
  • Intro­duc­tion to anchors and belaying
  • Cram­pon usage and techniques
  • Camp con­struc­tion, camp man­age­ment, and cold weath­er camp­ing skills
  • Prop­er cloth­ing and equip­ment for sur­vival in the moun­tain envi­ron­ment, moun­tain weath­er, alpine ecol­o­gy, self-depen­dent climb­ing tech­niques, and Leave No Trace ethics

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Itinerary
Itinerary
Note: Although we do our very best to fol­low the sched­ule list­ed, the very nature of climb­ing in an alpine envi­ron­ment requires flex­i­bil­i­ty. This itin­er­ary is sub­ject to change due to inclement weath­er, unsafe route con­di­tions, or oth­er rea­sons beyond our con­trol and in the guide’s best judgment.
  • 1
    Day number 1
    After a 7:00 am ori­en­ta­tion, we dri­ve to the Ruth Moun­tain trail­head and begin our trek to high camp. Ascend­ing approx­i­mate­ly 2,700 feet / 823 meters over the course of 4 – 5 miles makes this por­tion of the trip fair­ly stren­u­ous, but the hike also takes us through many scenic eco­log­i­cal zones and gives the group a chance to admire and pho­to­graph ancient forests and alpine mead­ows. Upon arrival at high camp, we set up our tents, dis­cuss equip­ment usage, Leave No Trace camp­ing tech­nique, and alpine ecol­o­gy. The remain­der of the day will be focused on the fun­da­men­tals of prop­er snow climb­ing tech­niques. This will include the appli­ca­tion of all ice axe posi­tions, self belay, self arrest, and move­ment in bal­ance. If time per­mits, we will begin famil­iar­iz­ing our­selves with essen­tial knots for climb­ing, prop­er belay tech­niques and sig­nals, basic anchor work, and rappelling.
  • 2
    Day number 2
    Fol­low­ing a pre-dawn wake-up, we begin our sum­mit attempt on Ruth Moun­tain. Leav­ing camp in the dark, we trav­el in teams fur­ther up the moun­tain. As the sun begins to rise, our teams may be able to view the sum­mit or, as we approach the sum­mit, view the route we have trav­eled thus far. The climb from base camp to the sum­mit gives climbers the oppor­tu­ni­ty to use and apply their new­ly acquired skills. On the sum­mit we rest, enjoy the spec­tac­u­lar views of Mt. Shuk­san and the Pick­ets Range, and bask in the sense of accom­plish­ment of hav­ing worked as team mem­bers to reach our goal. Our descent to base camp gives us the chance to prac­tice the addi­tion­al skills nec­es­sary for down-climb­ing steep ter­rain, nav­i­ga­tion, and time man­age­ment. Fol­low­ing our sum­mit climb, we break camp and descend to the val­leys where we cel­e­brate a suc­cess­ful trip and begin plan­ning the next climb­ing adventure.
Trip Package Includes
 
  • Pro­fes­sion­al guid­ing and instruction
  • Climbing/​backcountry per­mits 
  • Trans­porta­tion from Seat­tle to the trail­head and back 
  • All meals, stoves, fuel, and cook­ing equip­ment while on the trip 
  • Tents
  • Group climb­ing gear
  • Camp­ground fees
  • 20% discount code at evo.com (exclusions apply)
Trip Package Does Not Include
 
  • Air­fare
  • Trans­porta­tion within Seattle
  • Hotel accom­mo­da­tions
  • Per­son­al climbing gear
  • Guide gra­tu­ities
  • Travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)

Questions? Call or email us!
Area Information

North Cascades


Washington’s North Cascades are part of the greater Cascade Mountain Range, extending from northern California to British Columbia. With their steep and rugged topography, the U.S. section of the North Cascades as well as the adjoining Skagit Range in British Columbia are renowned for their dramatic scenery and world-class mountaineering.
 
Trip Planning

Trip Planning

A com­plete cloth­ing and equip­ment list spe­cif­ic to your trip will be sent to you in a pre-depar­ture pack­et upon reg­is­tra­tion. Every year Mountain Madness reviews our lists and assess feed­back from our clients and guides for updat­ing these lists, giv­ing you the most com­plete and up-to-date guide­lines. Feel free to call us if you have ques­tions or need help locat­ing any of the items on the list. For a suc­cess­ful trip, it is extreme­ly impor­tant that you adhere strict­ly to the equip­ment list.

Pri­or to depart­ing on your trip, Mountain Madness staff will con­tact you to dis­cuss the par­tic­u­lars of your course or climb. This typ­i­cal­ly hap­pens about 10 days out. At this time you can review the equip­ment you have select­ed. Before pur­chas­ing any equip­ment, you are wel­come to call us and ask for rec­om­men­da­tions. We know that select­ing the right gear can be a chal­lenge and we are hap­py to help.

Mountain Madness has rental equipment available for those interested.



 
Carrying & Sleeping Gear
Climbing Gear
Clothing & Accessories
Other Important Items
FAQ
FAQ
  • What COVID-19 policies do you have in place?
    Mountain Madness has a detailed COVID-19 Operations Plan which will be shared prior to the trip. All participants must fill out a pre-trip COVID-19 questionnaire/agreement.
  • Do I need any prior training to participate in this course?
    No previous training or mountaineering skills are required to take this course.
  • How physically fit do I have to be for this course?
    This can be a physically demanding course, and your abil­i­ty to enjoy the adven­ture depends on your health and fit­ness, thus it’s recommended that you are in good physical condition. Your trip will be more reward­ing if you pre­pare for it by con­di­tion­ing prop­er­ly well in advance. We believe that the best form of train­ing is sim­u­lat­ing the activ­i­ty you are train­ing for, and then increas­ing exer­tion as the rou­tine becomes easier. For exam­ple, walk­ing up hills and stair climb­ing are excel­lent ways to con­di­tion your low­er body, heart and lungs for climb­ing. Begin slow­ly, with­out the weight of a pack, and even­tu­al­ly add weight as you increase your train­ing pace. Then begin tak­ing longer hikes sev­er­al times a week with a weight­ed pack. Use water con­tain­ers for uphill hikes, then emp­ty the con­tents for the descent to reduce knee stress. It is never a bad idea to sup­ple­ment these work­outs with run­ning, swim­ming, bicy­cling, or oth­er forms of aer­o­bic activ­i­ty as well as weight training.
  • Who are the guides?
    Mountain Madness guides are high­ly expe­ri­enced instruc­tors that have been trained by the Cana­di­an Avalanche Asso­ci­a­tion (CAA), the Amer­i­can Moun­tain Guides Asso­ci­a­tion (AMGA), and the Amer­i­can Insti­tute for Avalanche Research and Edu­ca­tion (AIARE). They are the best, most­ high­ly trained instruc­tors!
  • What will the weather be like on my trip?
    Like all large moun­tain ranges, the Cas­cades tend to gen­er­ate and attract their own weath­er, mak­ing con­di­tions impos­si­ble to pre­dict. Typ­i­cal­ly July, August, and Sep­tem­ber have the best weath­er, but opti­mum or adverse weath­er can occur at any time. You should be pre­pared for a wide range of tem­per­a­tures, from freez­ing nights and snowy and windy con­di­tions, to bright sun­shine inten­si­fied by high alti­tude. These wide fluc­tu­a­tions make it espe­cial­ly impor­tant to bring every­thing on the equip­ment list. Because our climbs and cours­es take place in the unpre­dictable moun­tain envi­ron­ment, your guides will make deci­sions regard­ing the trip itin­er­ary based on cur­rent weath­er and route con­di­tions. Moun­tain Mad­ness guides will make every attempt to fol­low our trip itin­er­aries, but the deci­sion to amend an itin­er­ary is always at the dis­cre­tion of your guide. Sum­mits are not guar­an­teed, and fail­ure to sum­mit is not suf­fi­cient cause for a refund.
  • Are rentals available?
    Yes, rental gear is available and can be rented directly through Mountain Madness. Please inquire for pricing.
  • How heavy will my pack be?
    You will be required to car­ry a por­tion of the group gear and food in addi­tion to your per­son­al gear. This should be tak­en into con­sid­er­a­tion when decid­ing what you will bring. A good rule of thumb is to try to keep your pack weight below 40 pounds, which will allow for adding the group equipment.
  • What will the food be like?
    At Moun­tain Mad­ness, we pride our­selves in prepar­ing great moun­tain cui­sine and we offer this added lev­el of ser­vice on our sum­mit climbs and cus­tom trips. Our many years of moun­tain trav­el have pro­vid­ed us with time-test­ed and nutri­tious meal plans. Be sure to bring along your favorite munchies, ener­gy food, and after din­ner treats. If you have spe­cif­ic allergies/​restrictions/​preferences, please note that on your appli­ca­tion and your guide(s) will do their best to pro­vide meals accordingly.
  • What if I need to cancel?
    evo will refer to the Mountain Madness cancellation policy. If you need to can­cel your trip, please submit your noti­fication 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: More than 60 days from trip depar­ture — $75 fee reg­is­tra­tion fee. 60 days or less from trip depar­ture – 100% of trip cost
  • What if I need to change the dates of my trip?
    All date changes must be received in writ­ing. There will be a fee of $100 for date changes. Any date change can be dif­fi­cult and is sub­ject to all addi­tion­al incurred expens­es as assessed by Moun­tain Mad­ness. Changes will be made at the sole dis­cre­tion of Moun­tain Mad­ness and may not be pos­si­ble. Date changes are for cred­it only (no refunds) and valid for one year from writ­ten change notification.
  • I need accommodations in Seattle. Do you have recommendations?
    Yes, there are plenty of options, depending on your preferences. Near Sea-Tac Airport: Cedarbrook Lodge (4-star), Double Tree Hotel Seatac (4-star), Hampton Inn Seatac (3-star), Hilton Garden Inn Seatac (3-star). Near Mountain Madness: Georgetown Inn (2.5 star), The Grove (2-star).
  • When and how do I meet up with the group?
    You will receive detailed instructions regarding when and how to meet the group from Mountain Madness.
  • What is the maximum number of guests on the trip?
    There is a maximum of 10 guests for this course. The guest:guide ratio is 5:1, with groups of 10 being split into 2 groups due to COVID.
  • Is there a minimum age required for this trip?
    We will accept par­tic­i­pants 15 years or old­er, if they are accom­pa­nied by a legal guardian. You must be 18 years or old­er to attend a trip on your own.
  • I need accommodations in Seattle. Do you have recommendations?
    Yes, there are plenty of options, depending on your preferences. Near Sea-Tac Airport: Cedarbrook Lodge (4-star), Double Tree Hotel Seatac (4-star), Hampton Inn Seatac (3-star), Hilton Garden Inn Seatac (3-star). Near Mountain Madness: Georgetown Inn (2.5 star), The Grove (2-star).
Testimonials
I've climbed with Mountain Madness twice, and both have been extraordinary experiences. The guides are literally world class, and their abilities truly shine on the most challenging objectives.
Mark
Trip Guest
I’ve climbed all over the world with MM and couldn’t recommend them higher. Their guides are world class and are knowledgeable, appropriately cautious but eager to get you to the summit, amiable and yet able to challenge you to do things you didn’t think you could! Their front office is easy to communicate with and keeps you up to speed with everything throughout the whole process from pre-climb to post-climb. If you’re thinking about climbing, I would strongly and without reservation recommend mountain madness.
Andrew
Trip Guest
Jake was an awesome guide, super informative. MM was fantastic, had good options for renting gear, easy to work with.
Kayla
Trip Guest

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