Baker Summit Mountaineering Course (3-day).
This can be taken on its own or following our 3-day Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel Course. This course focuses on the skills taught in the second half of our 6-day Glacier Mountaineering Course. We offer it here in a shorter format to give climbers the chance to master the same skills on programs taught over long-weekends.
This program is taught on Mt. Baker and it assumes that you are familiar with crevasse rescue, roped glacier travel, and the use of ice axes and crampons. We build on these skills and start to focus on route finding, navigation and time-mangement while we undertake a 3-day climb to the summit of Mt. Baker (10,781')
Skills Covered - Baker Summit Mountaineering Course
- Route planning
- building and following a written route plan
- Time Management
- the Munter Method for making time estimations
- Mountain Medicine
- hypothermia, frostbite, and altitude issues
- Glacier Route Selection
- evaluating snow bridges, getting around crevasses, selecting the safest or fastest route
- Pacing and Efficient Climbing
- Building Secure Snow Camps
- platforms, snow wall, easily removable snow anchors
- Use of Climbing Stoves
- clean cooking, stove selection and maintenance, making good meals
- Single Rescuer Crevasse Rescue
- optional item, but a very useful skill
- Leave No Trace
Itinerary: Baker Summit Mountaineering Couse
Day 1: Meet your guide in Sedro-Woolley at the USFS/NPS Ranger Station for group orientation, packing, and equipment check. The guide will bring a complete route plan and will spend time going over the basics components of their route plan. They will layout the projected route and times for each leg of the route and explain how they develop a time management plan for the days ahead. We drive to the trailhead at 3200’ (Schreibers Meadow) and then hike into the basecamp around 6000'. The hike in generally takes about 4 hours. Once in camp we will build a bomber camp, this time on snow, and spend the evening working on our navigation skills and refining our route plan.
Day 2: Today we will spend the day refining our route plans and practicing use of maps, compasses, and GPS units. We will then go on a glacier walk and give people the opportunity to route-find and navigate on glaciers. The guide will explain how to evaluate snow bridges and explain strategies for deciding how best to get around problem crevasses. This will also be an opportunity to refine your skills surrounding rope use such as laying out the rope in the morning, selecting a proper rope interval, adjusting rope interval when the need arises, using the kiwi coil and belaying. Back in camp we will give a good talk on camp stove use and give students the opportunity to help with meal preparation. In the early evening we will go over the plan for the following day and make sure that we have a really solid navigation plan written down and our maps stored in a way that keeps them dry and accessible if needed during bad weather.
Day 3: Today is our final exam and the culmination of all the training. We like the Easton Glacier because it provides good opportunities for route finding and is big and broken enough to provide a real challenge. The standard climb generally takes the path of least resistance and we will as well, but the flanks of the route will provide good route finding situations during our training on day 2. The climb will put to use all of the skills we have learned in the previous two-days. The goal is to get to the summit in good-style and make it back to camp with plenty of time and energy for the hike out. The goal is to be down in the late afternoon with ample time to make the drive home before it gets late. If the weather forecast indicates we are better off climbing on day 2 we can change the order to give us a better shot at making the summit.
QualificationsParticipants need to be in good physical condition and be prepared to carry backpacks weighing as much as 40 lbs. You do not need to be proficient in crevasses rescue, but you should be familiar with use of ice axe and crampons. You should also be able to tie basic climbing knots and have either taken our 3-day crevasse rescue and glacier travel course or be familiar with most of the skills listed in that course description. The entire trip takes place in a mountain environment in a wide variety of weather conditions that may include extremes of heat and cold. Call the office at 509-548-5823 or send us an e-mail to discuss you fitness if you think it will be an issue.
Equipment for your courseOne advantage of climbing with us over many of the other companies in the area is that we provide all of the group gear such as tents, ropes, stoves, fuel, screws, pickets, and such. You will need to bring your own personal equipment such as clothing, ice axe, harness, boots, crampons, etc. We realize that new climbers may not own all of this gear so we rent the following items: sleeping bags, sleeping pads, ice axes, harnesses, helmets, crampons, headlamps, trekking poles, & backpacks.
Our experience teaching these skillsJohn and Olivia Race own the business and are IFMGA guides. Together they have guided on 8 - 8000 meter peak expeditions, 30 Denali expeditions, have summated Rainier 250+ times. Olivia is an instructor for AMGA courses and exams and is up to speed on the latest thinking on technical systems. Our guides include a mixture of AMGA certified and IFMGA guides, NOLS instructors, and guides with extensive previous experience guiding Denali, Mt. Rainier and other major peaks. We run a ton of guided Baker trips and have been operating in the North Cascades as a guide service for the past 20 years. Our guides not only know how to teach these skills to beginners, but they have the training and experience to make sure it is done in the most current, safest way possible. They are fully supported by our office in Leavenworth and each trip carries communications devices such as satellite phones, Spot devices, and cell phones to stay abreast of the weather forecast and contact outside help if there is an emergency.
Getting to Sedro-Woolley, WA and meet point.Sedro-Woolley is located on SR 20 and we meet in the parking lot of It takes about 1 hour and 15 mins to get to Sedro-Woolley from Seattle, WA, 35 minutes from Bellingham, WA, and 2 hours from Vancouver, BC with time allotted for the border crossing. All of our courses meet at the US Forest Service and North Cascades National Park service center at 810 SR 20; Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284. This is where we will register for our climb. You should arrive in Sedro-Woolley with all of your gear with the exception of rental gear, which will be brought by the guide. There is a good grocery store in Sedro-Woolley, but it is not possible to purchase or rent climbing gear.
Mt. Baker as a training venueThis course is designed to be taught in conjunction with our 3-Day Crevasse Rescue and Glacier Travel Course which takes place on the North side of Mt. Baker. To mix things up we run this on the South side of the Baker as it gives us access to the Easton Glacier, which is generally more broken and complex than the Coleman-Demin Route and it provides the ideal location for this courses focus on route finding, navigation, and practicing good time management.
Links to our other Guided Baker Climbs