4-Day Ski Mountaineering Course in the North Cascades

Boston Basin is located in the heart of the North Cascades National Park and lies at the foot of the famous Forbidden Peak. The Boston Basin area quite possibly provides one of the best ski mountaineering course settings in the lower 48 states. You will be taught an amazing curriculum by AMGA or IFMGA certified guides.

Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System Explained

Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult

Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience

Fitness Level: Strenuous due to ski touring with overnight pack

  • Category: Alpine
  • Type: Instructional
  • Ratio: 3:1,6:2

* Required Fields

Welcome to the heart of North Cascades National Park. Boston Basin offers arguably one of the best ski mountaineering playgrounds in the lower 48 states. With a vertical rise of over 6000 feet from the valley floor to the summits, the setting could not be more spectacular. The Quien Sabe Glacier is the perfect glacier for our curriculum, we can climb over Sharkfin Col and visit the impressive Boston Glacier, maybe summit Sahale Peak and camp in amazing scenery.  All in all, Forbidden Peak provides a perfect training ground to introduce you to the elements of ski mountaineering. Here is the outline:
Ski Mountaineering course in Boston Basin:

The setting could not be more spectacular. We establish a base camp below the Quien Sabe Glacier on the first day. The rest of the time we will carry light day packs while exploring the terrain in the Boston Basin. Ski touring, ski mountaineering, glacier skiing, peak bagging, it is all there. This course is aimed at the back-country skier who is looking to take his or her skills to the high alpine environment. 

Day One: Approach to Camp in Boston Basin
• Revision of the basics of a ski touring course
• The difference between ski touring and ski mountaineering explained
• Equipment specific to ski mountaineering
• Map work and time calculations reviewed
• The basic function of a glacier explained

Day Two: 
Location: Boston Basin and Boston Glacier. We will go on a good sized ski tour on these two glaciers in order to explain the principals of glaciated ski touring.
• Crevasse formation and crevasse fall prevention
• Glacier travel on skis
• Roped travel on skis uphill and down hill
• Snow anchors in a ski mountaineering setting
• Crevasse rescue for ski mountaineering
• Self rescue for ski mountaineering

Day Three:
Location: Quien Sabe Glacier and Sahale Peak. We will climb the actual summit if conditions allow.
• Rappelling while side slipping on skis
• Basic snow climbing
• White out navigation in crevassed terrain
• The principles of short roping
• Elaborate rescue sled
• Improvised rescue sled

Day Four:
Location: Davenport Glacier. A wrap up of the course with a companion rescue upgrade before we head out.  
• Beacon search reviewed
• Multiple beacon search
• Avalache safety and incident prevention reviewed
• Emergency bivouac construction

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.

o 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
o  Non-Cotton Underwear
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  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 
o Small Personal 1st aid kit  and blister repair (Compeed™)
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 or Removable Ski Leashes
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 - check fit prior to departure
o Anti-Ball plates - for crampons
o Climbing Harness - lightweight, BD Alpine Bod style (no padding)
o 4 Locking Biners  - at least 1 large HMS style and 1 regular locker
o 4 Non-locking Biners  - any style, we prefer wire gate type
o 1 - 6 meter Cordelette (6mm)
o 1 - 3 meter Cordelette (6mm)
o 1 Single Length Runner (60cm)
o 1 Double Length Runner (120cm)
**A quick note about the technical gear: We would like you to have the carabiners, cordalettes, slings and ice screw, because an important course objective is to teach you a simple but efficient crevasse rescue system. This is best learned with your own gear. 
o  Ropes and elaborate crevasse rescue kits
o Tents, stoves and fuel
o Emergency communcation devices such as VHF radios and or Satellite phone

Should I tip my guide? And how much should I tip them? Although tipping is not a requirement it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat price tip that you are comfortable with.