Gain mountaineering skills including glacier travel, crevasse rescue, ice climbing on Mount Baker. Mount Baker is arguably the best location to gain intensive glacier travel skills in the lower 48 states. We offer multiple dates.
Sign up for a course or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental. Go to Pro Ski and Mountain Service. Pro Ski and Mountain Service is our retail specialty store. It has been located in North Bend, WA since 1999.
The past trips and courses have had a large influence on what we sell. Many of our Pro Guiding customers come on trips and courses with gear they purchased from our store. Not only do we want our clients to have the right gear for the job; we also receive direct feedback from them while they are using it in the field. Trust us - if the gear does not work - we won't sell it.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE MOUNT BAKER MOUNTAINEERING SCHOOL AND THE NORTH CASCADES MOUNTAINEERING COURSE? We answer this question on the phone regularly, so let us try to answer it here: The basic topography of the two venues is quite different. The Mount Baker course venue happens on almost exclusively glaciated terrain on the north side of this 10780 foot volcano. The Coleman, the Deming and potentially the Roosevelt Glaciers are our training ground and with that the focus is centered around all things snow and ice. Glacier travel, crampon work and crevasse rescue is a large topic on the Mount Baker Course. It certainly is an important topic in the North Cascades Course as well, but you will take a deeper dive into these topics on Mount Baker.
The North Cascades Mountaineering Course takes place in the Boston Basin in the shadow of the famous Forbidden Peak. The area essentially holds every element that you might encounter on a “classic mountaineering adventure”. The Boston Basin holds glaciers, steep couloirs, glacier polished slabs, narrow ridges, big faces and sharp peaks. Just like on Mount Baker, we teach very much what the terrain demands or rather we chose an extremely diverse zone of the North Cascades National Park to give the course participant a rounded introduction into world of mountaineering.
Both of the approaches into the camps are moderately strenuous, with the Boston Basin trail being a bit steeper. Both camps have running water and the views are stunning either way.
As soon as you leave camp, things start feeling a bit different. While you might have to commute for about 45 minutes up slabby rocks to reach the lower margins of the Quien Sabe Glacier and the amazing Sahale and Sharkfin summits beyond, you will find yourself wearing the crampons on the lower Coleman Glacier ice of Mount Baker almost immediately.
If you are looking for a great course to make you feel more comfortable on large glacier ascents (Rainier etc.), the Mount Baker Course is most likely for you, but if you are looking for an all-around introduction to the world of mountaineering and would like to summit classic peaks like Forbidden Peak, the Matterhorn, the venue we offer in the North Cascades is hard to beat.
In summary; if you want to truly learn the craft of mountaineering, you should take both courses. We are not saying this to sell more courses. Either one of these courses is a great start and there is some overlap, but together they build a fantastic mountaineering skill foundation.
WHERE WILL WE BE CLIMBING? We will be climbing on the north side of Mount Baker, mainly on the Coleman Glacier.
HOW MUCH PRIOR MOUNTAINEERING EXPERIENCE IS REQUIRED? No substantial prior mountaineering experience is required, but solid fitness will enhance the quality of your week substantially.
WILL WE BE ABLE TO DO SOME ICE CLIMBING? Yes, the lower Coleman Glacier is probably one of the best spots for summer ice climbing in the lower 48 states and we intend to take advantage of it.
CAN I USE THIS WEEKS AS PREP WEEKS FOR HARDER CLIMBS IN THE CASCADES AND OTHER MOUNTAIN RANGES? Yes, this week will lay a good foundation for many guided or self guided climbs to come. If you are interested in the Alps in particular, you might want to consider the mixed mountaineering course in the North Cascades as well.
DOES PGS PROVIDE FOOD? No, you are responsible for your own food. We are glad to help with food suggestions though.
HOW BIG OR RATHER HOW SMALL SHOULD MY PACK BE? Try to fit your gear into a 50 liter pack. If the week is conducted out of an established basecamp, you could consider a bigger pack along with a summit pack.
HOW DO I GET TO GLACIER, WA? Driving directions to the Glacier Ranger Station: Take Interstate 5 north to Hwy 542 in Bellingham and go east to the town of Glacier. Driving time is about 3 hours from Seattle. The ranger station is located about 0.5 miles east of town on the right hand side.