Isolation Traverse

The Isolation Traverse takes you through the mountain wilderness north of Eldorado.

April 25, 2019 - April 28, 2019

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System Explained

Overall Difficulty Level: Very difficult

Skills Required:  Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience 

Fitness Level: Very strenuous due to skitouring with big overnight packs

  • Category: Ski
  • Type: Guided
  • Ratio: 4:1,6:2

The Isolation Traverse takes you through the mountain wilderness north of Eldorado. From the high peaks of the Colonial-Snowfield group to the glacial expanses of the McAllister and Inspiration glaciers, this trip is a true North Cascades adventure. We will cross high cols, summit lonely peaks, and cross big glaciers. It's a natural and compelling route that offers some great skiing and an unforgettable adventure.

Suggested Itinerary:

Day One:

We meet early at the Marblemount ranger station for a gear check and a car shuttle. Then it's off to Eldorado Creek, where we begin our climb into the high country. We ski north, crossing the Roush Creek drainage on our way to a camp on the East Ridge of Eldorado.

Day Two:

This day brings us into country rarely visited by skiers. We cross the Inspiration and MCAllister glaciers and ski a third, nameless glacier to a camp near the enigmatic Backbone Ridge; A truly wild setting in the heart of the North Cascades.

Day Three:

An intricate route takes us north, down the elusive "Ice-Elation" couloir, and over the top of Isolation Peak. This is a big day, so eat your Wheaties! We aim to make camp at the top of the truly unique Neve Glacier.

Day Four:

If you've ever driven the North Cascades highway, then you may have gazed up at Colonial and Pyramid peaks from near Diablo Lake or Thunder Arm. On our final day, we ski down between these grand peaks in what is truly a grand exit. A classic Cascadian climber's trail leads down from tree line to Pyramid Lake and the highway shortly beyond.

Sign up for a course or a trip and receive a 10% discount on purchases and a 20% discount on gear rental.

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.


o 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
o 1 or 2 Tops - midweight or lightweight
o Sock Liners - 2 or 3 pair
o Ski Socks - 2 pair
o Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece - only one of these is necessary
o Schoeller™ type pants - soft shell
o Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
o Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Pants
o Softshell Ski Touring Pants
o Warm Hat - should cover ears
o Sun Hat - baseball type or visor
o Lightweight Gloves
o Ski Gloves
o Down or Synthetic Jacket
o Internal Frame Pack - 50 Liter (3100 cu in.) minimum
o Sleeping Bag - down or synthetic, 15º F to 20º F minimum
o Compression Sack - for sleeping bag           
o Sleeping Pad - closed cell foam or self inflating
o Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
o Water Bottles - 1 or 2 liters, wide mouth
o Bowl or Cup
o Utensils
o Small Knife
o Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
o Goggles
o Sunscreen - SPF >25, waterproof
o Lip Balm - SPF 15+
o Lighter
o Personal Toiletries - toothbrush, toothpaste, waterless hand cleaner, etc.
o Small Personal 1st aid kit - blister repair (Compeed™), aspirin, ibuprofen, etc.
o Skis - Alpine Touring or Telemark
o Ski Boots - Alpine Touring or Telemark – no downhill boots
o Ski Poles - telescopic poles work well, but not required
o Climbing Skins
o Ski Crampons - THESE ARE REQUIRED!
o  Ski Brakes
o Transceiver - single frequency,  457 kHz only
o Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
o Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice
o Ice Axe - 55-70 cm length, lightweight
o Boot Crampons – Aluminum is recommended for this trip
o Climbing Harness - lightweight, BD Alpine Bod style (no padding)
o 2 Locking Biners - (1) large HMS style and (1) reg. locker
o 3 Non-locking Biners - any style, we recommend wire gates 
o 1 Cordelettes - 6 mm diameter, 6 meter lengths, untied
o 1 Sewn Sling - nylon or spectra, double-length
o Camera - we’d like some shots for the PGS website!
o Ear Plugs - essential for sound sleep
o Camp Booties
o Thermos - vacuum type
o Note Pad and Pencil - Rite-in-the-rain brand waterproof notebook works
o Compass - adjustable declination a must
o Altimeter - Suunto watch works well
o Map Case - large zip-loc will suffice
o Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
o Collapsible Water Canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp
o Warm Socks - to sleep in
o Lightweight Bivy/Tarp - handy with a floorless tent
o Foot Powder
GROUP GEAR PROVIDED BY PGS   *Please contact the guiding office if you prefer to bring your own gear in place of any of our group gear.
o Tents
o Stoves
o Fuel
o Cooking Pots
o Rope
o Technical Group Gear, VHF radio or SAT phone
o Group 1st Aid Kit