Navigating in the mountains is one of the most important skills a backcountry traveler can acquire. This course consists of an indoor lecture in North Bend (or on Zoom), and a subsequent nighttime ski tour conducted entirely in the dark.
The course consists of an evening lecture in North Bend (or via Zoom) and a subsequent ski tour that will be conducted in the dark the following evening. Often, the lecture is Friday evening and the tour is Saturday evening, but sometimes we offer a Saturday/Sunday evening option. The total course time will be roughly 8 hours including the indoor portion. Get plenty of sleep the night before the outdoor portion as we might be out late! This is a fantastic way to learn about navigating in the dark or whiteout conditions and course participants are always amazed how much they get out of this format.
Important: This course is only suited for strong skiers with advanced skiing skills or snowshoers with very strong fitness.
Please note that only the first date (lecture date) will be displayed after clicking the "view dates & availability button."
Overall Difficulty Level: Moderate to Difficult
Skills Required: Advanced skiing skills or snowshoeing skills. Skiing skill cannot be a concern when navigating at night.
Fitness Level: Not Very Strenuous
Evening Lecture (6:00 pm - 9:00pm)
During the three-hour class, we will review the “anatomy of a map”, explain tour planning, time calculations, compass use, and elementary GPS use.
Following Night Evening Tour (6:00pm - 11:00pm)
During the tour in the Snoqualmie Pass backcountry we will apply all the things we learned in the previous night's lecture. This tour will obviously only be conducted in safe snow conditions. It is an amazing experience. Treat yourself to this.
• Review of the make-up of a map
• Review of time calculation and tour plans
• Putting a bearing on a map
• Translating the bearing into the landscape
• Translating the bearing onto the map from the landscape
• Whiteout navigation in a winter environment
• The UTM grid system
• Introduction to GPS use modern navigation apps like Gaia or Caltopo.
Snow Travel Gear
The real life nature of a night tour, challenges even our guides! We can pretty much guarantee that you will learn a lot from this class.
The indoor component of this course will be conducted in the North Bend at a designated indoor classroom space. The specific meeting location will be announced 10 days prior to the start of the course. Currently, the indoor portion is being conducted over Zoom, but may be switched back to in- person depending on current conditions.
The tour will be conducted in the Alpental backcountry. The specific location will be determined by the instructor depending on conditions and weather.
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.