In this course you will ski into the heart of the North Cascades National Park and spend 4 days in the Boston Basin area, one of the best settings for a ski mountaineering course in the lower 48 states. You will learn techniques for glacier travel, crevasse rescue, route finding, tour planning, and steep skinning and skiing, all while camping and skiing big lines in incredible terrain.
Welcome to the heart of North Cascades National Park. The Boston Basin area offers one of the best ski mountaineering playgrounds in the lower 48. 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, 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. 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. This course is also offered on Mount Baker, as a Splitboard Only course, and as an All-Women's Course on Baker.
Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult
Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience
Fitness Level: Strenuous due to ski touring with overnight pack
Day 1: Ski approach to camp in Boston Basin
• Review 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 2: 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 3: 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 4: Davenport Glacier. A wrap up of the course with a companion rescue upgrade before we head out.
• Beacon search reviewed
• Multiple beacon search
• Avalanche safety and incident prevention reviewed
• Emergency bivouac construction
Please note that this itinerary is subject to change based on conditions.
Snow Travel Equipment
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 a flat amount that you are comfortable with.