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Pro Guiding Service
Domestic & International Trips & Courses with Certified Mountain Guides
Trip

Pickets Ski Traverse

Overview

A ski traverse through the famed Picket Range of the North Cascades National Park. This trip is the experience of a lifetime.

$1,700 Per Person
6 Days
Difficulty
Ratio:
2:1

Trip Information

$1,700
Price based on 2 skiers per guide. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com

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. 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 experience 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.

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

Overall Difficulty: Very Difficult

Skills Required: Prior ski mountaineering experience required; One should have very strong skinning skills and not be afraid of doing so in exposed terrain. Strong and confident skiing skills with an overnight pack are a must.

Fitness Required: Excellent physical fitness; you should be able to ski tour and ski with an overnight pack 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. We cannot overstate that this trip is physically very demanding and excellent physical fitness is an absolute must.


Private Trips Available

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest.
Learn MoreView Dates & Availability

Itinerary

Day 1: We intend 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 trailhead in Newhalem. 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 will turn west now across 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 boasts over 4000 feet of vertical gain, before we drop down our final 4000 feet via Hannegan Pass to our pick up spot. 
 

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

$1,700
per person
Price based on 2 skiers per guide. 425-888-6397 x2 | info@proguiding.com
View Dates & Availability
Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 30 days away or an international trip that is over 60 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 30 or more days before domestic trips or 60 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 30 days of the start of domestic trips or 60 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
  • Internal Frame Pack - 50 Liter/3100 cu.in. minimum
    • Everything must fit inside except ice axe, crampons, helmet, and pad
    • 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)
  • Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
  • 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
  • Small Knife
  • 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 (or Splitboard)
  • Ski Boots - Alpine Touring or Telemark - 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
  • Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
  • Probe - dedicated probe only, ski poles do not suffice

Technical Gear

  • Ice Axe - lightweight, 45-70cm is fine
  • Boot Crampons – Ensure they fit your boots
  • Anti-ball plates for crampons
  • Climbing Harness - lightweight, (no padding; ex: Black Diamond Alpine Bod)
  • Glacier Travel Kit:
    • 2 Locking Carabiners - at least 1 large HMS style and 1 regular locker
    • 2 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 Prussik Loop - 3-4 feet of 6mm cordelette tied in loop with double fisherman's knot and/or a Sterling Hollowblock
Optional Items
  • Camera - we’d like some shots for the PGS website!
  • Ear Plugs - essential for sound sleep
  • Camp Booties
  • Thermos - vacuum type
  • 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 - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
  • 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
  • Foot Powder
  • Neck gaiter - for protecting your face from sun, wind, cold
  • Helmet - climbing or lightweight uninsulated ski helmet (recommended)
  • Post-course care kit (to leave in car): cotton T-shirt, flip flops, favorite treats
Equipment Sales & Rental

Gearing Up Adventurers Since 1999 

Be prepared for every adventure by visiting our sister business—Pro Ski and Mountain Service. Order online or visit us in store in North Bend, Washington. Check out our discounts on rentals and purchases when you book a trip or course with us.
10% Off purchases and 20% Off rentals for Pro Guiding Service guests
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FAQs

Does PGS provide food for the trip?

No, we do not provide food, but we are 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 good 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 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?

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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