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Domestic & International Trips & Courses with Professionally Trained Mountain Guides
Course

4-Day Ski Mountaineering Course - North Cascades

Overview

This course takes place in the heart of North Cascades National Park, where you will spend four days in 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 in incredible terrain.

It is important to note that due to weather, snow and road access conditions, Pro Guiding Service needs to reserve the right to change course locations. Other locations for this course include the glaciers of Mount Baker or the Snoqualmie Pass area. 

$1,200 Per Person
4 Days
Difficulty
Ratio:
3:1, 6:2

Trip Information

$1,200
Price based on 3 skiers per guide. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com

This course is aimed at the experienced backcountry skier who is looking to take his or her skills to the high alpine and more complex environment.

Welcome to the heart of North Cascades National Park, one of the best ski mountaineering playgrounds in the lower 48. Despite their modest top elevation, many of the North Cascades' peaks have huge vertical reliefs of over 6000 feet. The setting could not be more spectacular. The Quien Sabe or Inspiration Glaciers are the perfect glaciers for our curriculum. We should be able to deliver the curriculum in several locations, but where we get to travel over the course of the 4 days is completely condition dependent. It is therefore important to note that due to weather, snow and road access conditions, Pro Guiding Service needs to reserve the right to change course locations. Other locations for this course include the glaciers of Mount Baker or the Snoqualmie Pass area. We will do our best to put you into the perfect training ground. Once we have established a base camp on the first day, we will carry light day packs while exploring the terrain. Ski touring, ski mountaineering, glacier skiing, peak bagging, it is all there.

This course is also offered on Mount Baker and as an All-Women's Course on Baker.

Duration: 4
Ratio: 3:1, 6:2
Difficulty Level:
Click here to learn more about difficulty ratings.

Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult

Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience

Fitness Level: Very strenuous due to ski touring with overnight pack


Private Trips Available

Don't see a date that works for you? Pro Guiding Service offers any trip or courses on a private basis. We are flexible! Call or email to inquire.
Learn MoreView Dates & Availability

Itinerary

This four day course has a full curriculum. Every day will include instruction while moving through terrain; therefore a high level of touring experience and good fitness are required. If weather, snow conditions, and group dynamics line up you may have the opportunity to ski from a summit like Sahale Peak, but as always, it is condition dependent.

Curriculum:

Pro Guiding Service does its best to provide a practical, movement based, course experience. Below is a sample (best case) scenario that is subject to change based on weather, snow pack, and access conditions.

We will meet at one of the jump off points that provides access to the North Cascades National Park (most likely Marblemount). The final meeting location will be communicated to you via the office and/or the guide in advance.

Curriculum Day 1:

  • Review of backcountry touring: risk management, tour planning, appropriate gear and its use, uphill and downhill movement, and terrain management.
  • Discussion on the difference between backcountry touring and ski/split mountaineering.
  • Introduction to the equipment specific to ski/split mountaineering and its use.
  • Introduction to glacier formation, movement, and budget.

Curriculum Day 2:

  • Glacier travel on skis including roped movement both up and down.
  • Introduction to snow anchors for ski/split mountaineering.
  • Introduction to crevasse rescue.
  • Review of navigation with both maps and compass, and electronic tools.

Curriculum Day 3:

  • Other rope uses in ski/split mountaineering including rappelling, belayed skiing/riding, rope ascent, and basic snow climbing.
  • Crampon and ice axe use.
  • Introduction to white out navigation with glacier travel considerations.

Curriculum Day 4:

  • Introduction to self rescue including elaborate and improvised sled use, emergency shelter, and companion rescue.

Please note that this is a suggested itinerary and is subject to change based on conditions.

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
View Private Trips

Pricing

$1,200
per person
Price based on 3 skiers per guide. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com
View Dates & Availability
Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 60 days away or an international trip that is over 90 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 60 or more days before domestic trips or 90 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 60 days of the start of domestic trips or 90 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Clothing
Base Layer
  • 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
  • 1 or 2 Tops - midweight or lightweight
  • Ski socks - 2 pair
Mid Layer
  • Windshirt or light soft shell jacket
  • Fleece or similar warm layer
  •  Soft-shell pants
Outerwear
  • Lightweight waterproof/breathable jacket
  • Lightweight waterproof/breathable pants
  • Warm hat - should cover your ears
  • Sun hat - baseball cap or visor
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Ski gloves/mittens
  • Down or synthetic puffy-type jacket
Personal Gear
  • Backpack - 50 Liter/3100 cu.in. minimum
    • Everything must fit inside except ice axe, crampons and helmet.
    • If approach shoes are worn, ski boots may be on outside of pack as well
  • Sleeping bag - down or synthetic, 15-20º F or warmer
  • Compression sack - for sleeping bag
  • Sleeping pad - closed cell foam or self inflating (or both), min R-value of 4
  • Headlamp
  • 2 Water bottles - liter bottles, wide mouth recommended
  • Bowl and cup - bowl is optional if eating from freeze-dried meal bags
  • Spoon, fork, or spork (long-handled nice if eating from a bag)
  • Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip balm - SPF 15+
  • Lighter
  • Personal toiletries - keep it simple: toothbrush, tiny toothpaste, hand sanitizer
  • Small personal first aid kit - just the basics: blister care, ibuprofin, prescription meds, etc.; your guides will have a substantial group first aid kit
  • Toilet paper (blue bags provided by PGS)
Technical Gear

Snow Travel Equipment

  • Skis - alpine touring or telemark skis,  or splitboard
  • Ski boots - alpine touring or telemark boots (no downhill boots), or snowboard boots
  • Poles - telescopic poles work well, but not required, with snow baskets
  • Climbing skins
  • Ski or splitboard crampons - REQUIRED! - Ensure that they are compatible with your bindings
  • Ski brakes or leashes

Safety Gear

  • Avalanche transceiver - 3 antenna
  • Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade required
  • Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice

Technical Gear

  • Ice axe - lightweight, 45-70 cm is fine (45-55 cm ideal)
  • Boot crampons – ensure they fit your boots
  • Anti-ball plates for crampons
  • Climbing harness - lightweight, (no padding ideal; ex: Petzl Altitude, Black Diamond Couloir)
  • Helmet - climbing or lightweight uninsulated ski helmet
  • Crevasse rescue kit:
    4 Locking carabiners - at least 1 large HMS style and 1 regular locker
    4 Non-locking carabiners - any style, we recommend wire gates
    1 Single length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (60cm/24in diameter loop)
    1 Double length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (120cm/48in diameter loop)
    1 Cordelette - 6 mm cord, 6 meter length
    1 Cordelette - 6 mm cord, 3 meter length
    1-2 Prussik loops - 3-4 feet of 6mm cordelette tied in loop with double fisherman's knot and/or a Sterling Hollowblock
    1-2 ice screws - 13-17 cm long
Optional Items
  • Ear plugs - essential for sound sleep
  • Camp booties
  • Thermos - vacuum type
  • Small knife
  • Electrolytes - tablets/powder/gel/blocks
  • Note pad and pencil - Rite-in-the-Rain brand waterproof notebooks work well
  • Compass - adjustable declination a must
  • Altimeter watch
  • Map case - large Ziploc bag works well
  • Maps - download or bring paper version
  • Collapsible water canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp
  • Liner socks - if blister-prone
  • Warm socks - to sleep in
  • Approach shoes--lightweight running shoes work well
  • Neck gaiter - for protecting your neck and face from sun, wind, cold
  • Post-course care kit (to leave in car): cotton T-shirt, flip flops, favorite treats
Equipment Sales & Rental

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FAQs

Should I tip my guide?

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.

Why Book With Us? 

Certified Professional Guides & All Access
All of our guides have the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate.
Safe, Well-Planned Tour Design
Every tour has a carefully thought-out guide-to-customer ratio. You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us.
Pioneers In The Industry
You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on skills and routes in the industry. 
Read Our story
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