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Trip

Washington

Ski & Snowboard

Trip Intro to Ski Mountaineering
Sorry, this trip is sold out

Questions? Let us help! Call us at 1-866-386-1590
Become a self-reliant ski mountaineer over three days - and one summit attempt - in the breathtaking North Cascades.

This course is designed for indi­vid­u­als aspir­ing to learn the fun­da­men­tal skills of snow, ice, and glac­i­er climb­ing tech­niques, and the appli­ca­tion of these skills toward the ascent and descent of major glaciat­ed moun­tains. Our goal is to devel­op com­pe­tent, self-reliant ski moun­taineers ready to climb and ski local­ly or in the great ranges of the world. This course is tru­ly an excel­lent foun­da­tion for any ski­er seek­ing inde­pen­dence in the alpine arena.
 
Set in a spec­tac­u­lar envi­ron­ment that pro­vides abun­dant learn­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties, this com­pre­hen­sive course is tru­ly reward­ing. The three days take place in the North Cas­cades where active glac­i­ers, vol­canic peaks, and breath­tak­ing views cre­ate the ide­al learn­ing envi­ron­ment. A sum­mit attempt on the last day of the course gives you the chance to put your new­ly devel­oped skills to the test.
 
This is an inter­me­di­ate lev­el instruc­tion­al course. Lev­el 1 avalanche train­ing, inter­me­di­ate ski skills and pre­vi­ous ski tour­ing expe­ri­ence are rec­om­mend­ed. It is open for tele­mark and alpine tour­ing skiers, as well as snowboarders.

This course involves the following:

  • Ski­ing with both a day pack and overnight pack to 45 lbs
  • Inter­me­di­ate-advanced lev­el ter­rain with some slopes to the black dia­mond level
  • Glac­i­er trav­el and steep snow climbing
  • Long days in poten­tial­ly adverse weather
  • Skiers should be in excel­lent phys­i­cal con­di­tion and com­pe­tent on var­ied terrain

Course cur­ricu­lum includes:

  • Ter­rain man­age­ment (haz­ard assess­ment, effi­cien­cy, speed)
  • Ter­rain man­age­ment with hill track
  • Ter­rain man­age­ment downhill
  • Snow climb­ing, ice axe posi­tion­ing, and mov­ing in balance
  • Self arrest techniques
  • Snow and ice anchor selec­tion, con­struc­tion, and equalization
  • Snow climb­ing and cram­pon techniques
  • Prus­sik­ing and team crevasse res­cue practice
  • Rap­pelling and rope management
  • Glaciol­o­gy and crevasse pat­tern prediction
  • Nav­i­ga­tion using maps, altime­ters, and compasses
  • Roped glac­i­er trav­el and route find­ing through crevassed areas
  • Moun­tain weath­er, alpine ecol­o­gy, haz­ard assess­ment, and Leave No Trace Ethics

Select your date and location (Mt Rainier or Mt Baker) from the options below


Select Your Trip

Itinerary
Itinerary
Note: Although we do our very best to fol­low the sched­ule list­ed, 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
    6:30 am 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 4 — 6 hours depend­ing upon the par­tic­u­lar approach and the fit­ness of the group. (This is where all of your train­ing pays off!) You’ll skin through ancient forests and snow cov­ered alpine mead­ows, en route 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. We will cap the day with a short evening ski run before dinner.
  • 2
    Day number 2
    You will begin the day by learn­ing cram­pon use and climb­ing steep­er snow. 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. We will cov­er the dif­fer­ence in trav­el­ing with skis ver­sus snow­shoes or cram­pons, i.e. when you need to rope up. 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. We fol­low that les­son up with a few runs before ski­ing back to camp. Dis­cus­sions late in the day will focus on nav­i­ga­tion with the use of map and compass.
  • 3
    Day number 3
    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 glisse descent. We will then break camp, pack up our gear, and head back to the trailhead.
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% off service and 10% off rental at evo Seattle store
  • 20% discount code at evo.com (exclusions apply)
Trip Package Does Not Include
  • Air­fare
  • Hotel accom­mo­da­tions pre and post-trip
  • Per­son­al gear
  • Guide gra­tu­ities
  • Travel insurance (we recommend World Nomads)

Questions? Call or email us!
Area Information

Washington Cascades


The Washington Cascades are part of the greater Cascade Mountain Range, extending from northern California to British Columbia. To offer flexibility and a diverse range of options to clients, Mountain Madness offers trip dates for this ski mountaineering course on Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier.
 
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.

If you are interested in rentals, please feel free to contact the evo Seattle store to inquire about items and availability (your package includes 10% off rentals). Equipment can also be rented directly from Mountain Madness.



 
Ski / Snowboard & Avalanche Safety Gear
Ski Clothing
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. Classroom lectures will be held via Zoom instead of in person. In the field, a face covering must be worn at times when social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Do I need any prior training to participate in this course?
    This is an inter­me­di­ate lev­el instruc­tion­al course. Lev­el 1 avalanche train­ing, inter­me­di­ate ski skills and pre­vi­ous ski tour­ing expe­ri­ence are rec­om­mend­ed. It is open for tele­mark and alpine tour­ing skiers, as well as snowboarders.
  • How physically fit do I have to be for this course?
    This is 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 excellent physical condition.
  • 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!
  • Are rentals available?
    Yes, rental gear is available and can be rented directly through the evo Seattle store, as well as Mountain Madness. Please inquire for pricing.
  • 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.
  • 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 9 guests for this course.
  • 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
The experience was awesome--great course, both professional and a lot of fun. Appropriate measures for Covid-19 were put in place.
Evan
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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A destination near you

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Questions? Let us help! Call us at 1-866-386-1590

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A destination near you

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Sorry, this trip is sold out

Questions? Let us help! Call us at
1-866-386-1590
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Questions? Let us help! Call us at 1-866-386-1590

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A destination near you

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Sorry, this trip is sold out

Questions? Let us help! Call us at
1-866-386-1590