Pickets Ski Traverse

A ski traverse through the famed Picket Range of the North Cascades National Park. It is a once in a lifetime trip!

$1,300.00
Difficulty rating and Skill requirements

Difficulty Rating System

Overall Difficulty: Very Difficult

Skills Required: Prior mounaineering experience required;
One should have glacier travel experience, solid cramponing and rock climbing skills up to 5.6 YDS. Continuous movement in exposed terrain should not be a problem. Elementary rope handling skills such as tying in, rappelling and belaying are required.

Fitness Required: Excellent physical fitness;
You should be able to hike or climb for more than six hours with a pack varying from 20 to 40 pounds and ascend 4,000 to 5,000 feet of vertical gain per day for up to a week.

  • Category: Ski
  • Type: Guided
  • Ratio: 4:2

* Required Fields

This sub-range of the North Cascades is considered the most rugged terrain in the lower 48. Local mountaineers talk about the Pickets Range, but very few ever really go there. It is truly one of the remaining alpine mountain wildlands in our country. Be prepared for strenuous days in wild ski mountaineering terrain terrain. The traverse consists mostly of "light  ski mountaineering" as far as technical mountaineering skills are concerned, but the overall demands on physical fitness and skiing skill cannot be overstated.  Substantial prior ski touring eperience is required for this amazing trip.You should be ready to tour between 5000 to 5500 feet of vertical with an overnight pack for six days straight.
Day 1: We inted to conduct the trip in a south to north direction. We will meet at the Ranger Station in Sedro Woolley, WA and conduct a final gear check before proceeding to the trialhead in near New Halem. Most of the first day will be spent getting up to the Stetatle Ridge via the Sourdough Mountain Lookout trial. This is strenuous day, since our packs will be full and the skis will be on our packs for most of the day.
Day 2: What a relief. Once on the Stetatle Ridge, we tour all day towards and eventually around Elephant Butte towards the entrance of the famed McMillan Cirque. This day should feel not as strenuous as Day 1. 
Day 3: We will be blessed us with our first big ski descent - down into the McMillan cirque, followed by a substantial ascent back out of it towards the ridge which divides the McMillan and Luna Cirque. 
Day 4: A similar itinerary to Day 3. We ski down into the Luna cirque and climb back out of it to our camp on the Challenger Glacier. 
Day 5: We are turning west now accross the Challenger Glacier, down Picket Pass onto Easy Ridge, over Mineral Mountain and towards Chilliwack Pass. Another big day for sure. 
Day 6: Our last day is a bit easier by comparison, but it still boost over 4000 feet of vertial gain, before we drop down our final 4000 feet via Hannegan Pass to our pick up spot. 
A ski traverse through the famed Picket Range of the North Cascades National Park. Treat yourself to these pictures and sign up as long as there is space. http://www.pbase.com/nolock/pickets
 

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.


CLOTHING

BASE  LAYER
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
MID LAYER
o Windshirt, Soft Shell, Fleece - only one of these is necessary
o Schoeller™ type pants - soft shell
OUTERWEAR
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
INSULATION
o Down or Synthetic Jacket
 
PERSONAL GEAR
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.
 
SKI GEAR
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
 
SAFETY GEAR
o Transceiver - single frequency,  457 kHz only
o Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
o Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice
 
TECHNICAL GEAR
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)
GLACIER TRAVEL KIT
o  2 Locking Carabiners- (1) large HMS style and (1) regular locker
o  2 Non-locking Carabiners - any style, we recommend wire gates
o  1 Single Length Runner
o  1 Double Length Runner
o  1 Cordelette - 6 mm diameter, 6 meter length
 
OPTIONAL ITEMS 
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
 
Pro Ski Service Logo

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.

Where in the world is Newhalem? Newhalem, WA is located on the western slopes of the North Cascades along State Hwy 20. Driving time from the Seattle area is about 3 hours.


Are there places to stay in Newhalem if I get there a day early? Yes, there are reasonable accommodations  nearby in Marblemount . You can stay at:


 Totem Trail Motel


 - www.totemtrail.com


57627 State Route 20, Rockport - (360) 873-4535


Buffalo Run Inn


PO Box 133, 60117 State Route 20, Marblemount - (877) 828-6652


Skagit River Resort


- www.northcascades.com


(North Cascades Hwy, WA St Rte 20, Mile 103.5), 58468 Clark Cabin Road, Rockport - (360) 873-2250


Does PGS provide food for the trip? No, we do not provide food, but are perfectly happy to make food suggestions.


Can I buy food for the trip in Marblemount? There is a small grocery store in the local Shell Station, but it only carries basic things? The last bigger grocery store is located near Concrete, WA.


I do not have any prior ski mountaineering experience. Can I still come on the trip? If you have  a goo amount of prior ski touring experience, are a very strong skier and are very fit, it should not be a problem.


Is the skiing difficult? The skiing is not difficult per say, but you will be skiing with an overnight pack in a big variety of snow conditions. Solid skiing ability will make it much more enjoyable. We do not recommend this being your first ski outing with a big pack.


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.