Custom Skills

Custom Skills programs are tailored for you and your team.  Whether your goal is to ski tour to the South Pole, scale Mount Everest, or anything in between, we can train you to get there.  Our years of experience, AMGA training and commitment to high quality instruction will get you up to speed.
Custom Skills
Custom Skills
Custom Skills
Custom Skills
Custom Skills
Custom Skills


This program is driven by your goals in the mountains.  Tell us what you’re looking to climb or ski and we’ll compile a program that delivers the skills to get there.  If you already know the skills you need, we'll help you pick a perfect location for your team and we'll train you up.   From Avalanche education to Z-Pulley, we've got you covered!

Custom skills programs are completely tailored to your objective and are single day to week plus in length.  We can set up recurring training sessions that span months and don’t stop until you feel comfortable with your skill level.


We offer Custom Skills programs in the following locations:

  1. North Lake Tahoe, CA
  2. North Cascades, WA
  3. Mount Baker, WA
  4. International  Locations:
    1. Chile
    2. Bolivia
    3. Canada
    4. Nepal
  5. Others!  Reach out and we can discuss the options we can provide for other venues across the globe.

Skills we teach:

  • Rope Skills
  • Tools and Materials Used in Climbing/Ski Mountaineering
  • Basic Knots
  • Advanced Knots
  • Mechanical Advantage Systems
  • Rock Rescue
  • Escaping the Belay​​​
  • Crevasse Rescue
  • Belaying
  • Rappelling
  • Ascending Ropes
  • Ascending Fixed Lines
  • Rock and Alpine Climbing Skills
  • Gym to Crag
  • Lead Climbing
  • Following Traditional Rock Climbs
  • Snow Climbing
  • Crampons and Ice Axe Skills
  • Glacier Climbing
  • Self and Team Arrest
  • Ice Climbing
  • Anchors (Rock​, Snow, Ice, Terrain)
  • Alpine Anchors
  • Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering Skills
  • Skinning Technique
  • Balance and Form​
  • Transitions (Ski Touring, Ski Mountaineering, Alpine Climbing, Rock Climbing)
  • Ski Cramponing
  • Skin Track Setting​
  • Crampon Techniques (Mountaineering or Ski Mountaineering)​
  • Steep Skiing 
  • Rappelling (With and Without Skis On)
  • Crevasse Rescue for Ski Mountaineers

Requisite Experience 

Custom Skills programs are private programs to increase the skills of your group. There are no prerequisites.  You tell us what you want to get out of the program and we’ll deliver the skills you need!

    Custom Skills
    Custom Skills
    Custom Skills
    Custom Skills
    Custom Skills
    Custom Skills
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    • Load image into Gallery viewer, Custom Skills
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    Available Dates



    Winter Price List 2021
    ProgramPrice Per Person Per Day
    California Ski Touring/Mountaineering 
    Skier to Guide Ratio 



    This will be determined based on what your objectives are.  Reach out today to build a Custom Skills Program for your group!


    Gear for this program will be determined based on the skills and venues you select.


    Potential gear for your program could include some or all of the following items:


    Technical Gear

    ❏ Climbing Helmet - Petzl Sirocco or Black Diamond Vision

    ❏ Headlamp - LED headlamp with fresh batteries; Petzl Actik Core

    ❏ Climbing Harness - Alpine or Rock Climbing Harness; Petzl Altitude, Mammut Zephyr

    ❏ Two Locking Carabiners - Petzl Attache, etc

    ❏ Triple Action Locking Carabiner - Edelrid HMS Strike Triple FG Locking Carabiner

    ❏ Double Length Sling - Sewn Runner; Black Diamond 10mm Dynex Runner

    ❏ Belay Device - Tube Style Belay Device; BD ATC Guide, Petzl Reverso

    ❏ Climbing boots - Suitable for the Weather and Mountain; LaSportiva G5 or Nepal Cube,

    Scarpa Phantom Tech or Scarpa Mont Blanc

    ❏ Gaiters - Low Profile, Lightweight Gaiters; OR Flex-Tex II

    ❏ Crampons - Steel Crampons Compatible with Your Boots; Petzl Vasak

    ❏ Semi-technical Ice Tool - A Curved Tool with a Pommel for Glacier Walking and Steep

    Snow/Ice Climbing; Petzl Sum-Tec, Petzl Quark, CAMP XLight, Black Diamond Venom

    ❏ Technical Ice Tool - Aggressive Curved Tool for Steep Ice; Petzl Nomic, CAMP X-Dream,

    BD Cobra

    ❏ Trekking Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Alpine FLZ Poles

    Backcountry Touring Gear

    ❏ Alpine Touring Skis or Splitboard - Light to Midweight Setup with “Tech Bindings”

    ❏ Alpine Touring Boots or Splitboard Compatible Boots; Scarpa F1

    ❏ Climbing Skins - Mohair Mix is Best; Black Diamond GlideLite Mohair Mix,

    ❏ Touring Backpack - A Pack with Avalanche Tools Pocket; BD Cirque 35

    ❏ Ski Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Expedition 3 Poles

    ❏ Ski Helmet - Lightweight Ski Helmet; Smith Variant

    Avalanche Gear

    ❏ Avalanche Beacon - Digital Avalanche Transceiver; Black Diamond Guide Recon BT

    ❏ Avalanche Shovel - Collapsible, Aluminum Shovel; Backcountry Access BT2 Shovel

    ❏ Avalanche Probe - Quickdraw Style Probe; Backcountry Access Stealth 300

    Head and Neck Layers

    ❏ Sun Hat - A Baseball Hat; Blackbird Mountain Guides Logo Hat

    ❏ Sunglasses - Dark Lens Glasses with Side Coverage; Julbo Shield

    ❏ Goggles - Ski Goggles with a Storm Lens; Julbo Aerospace Reactive

    ❏ Warm Hat - Lightweight Warm Hat that Fits Under Your Helmet;

    ❏ Neck Gaiters - Light to Midweight Neck Gaiters; Buff or your favorite Face Masks

    ***These Are Required as Covid-19 Face Coverings

    Upper Body and Hand Layers

    ❏ Long Sleeve Base Layer - Lightweight, Synthetic/Wool; Patagonia SunHoody

    ❏ 2 Insulating Top Layers - Light to Midweight Insulation Layers; Patagonia R1 & Nano Air

    ❏ Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Patagonia Fitzroy or similar

    ❏ Hardshell Jacket, Hooded - Waterproof, Gore-Tex, NOT insulated; Arc’Teryx Alpha FL

    ❏ Light Gloves - Light to Mid Weight for Warm Temps; Flylow John Henry Gloves, BD Tour

    ❏ Midweight Gloves - Mid to Heavy Weight for Cold Conditions; BD Legend

    ❏ Sports Bra - Wool/Synthetic;

    Lower Body and Foot Layers

    ❏ Socks - Midweight Wool/Synthetic; Darn Tough Via Ferrata

    ❏ Underwear - Wool/Synthetic

    ❏ Long Underwear - Wool/Synthetic “Long Johns”; Patagonia Capilene Air

    ❏ Softshell Ski Pants - Breathable, Weather Resistant for Fair Weather; OR Trailbreaker II

    ❏ Vented Hardshell Ski Pants - Waterproof Pants for Extreme Weather; Flylow Compound

    Food and Water

    ❏ Nalgene Water Bottle - Hard Sided Bottle; Nalgene 16oz-32oz Wide Mouth Bottle

    ❏ Soft Water Bottle 1.5L - Flexible Water Bladder; Hydrapak Flux 1.5L

    ***Please bring at least one hard sided water bottle.

    ❏ Snacks - Enough Snacks for the Day. There will be no lunch break so snacks must be

    convenient and easy to eat.

    Other Essentials

    ❏ Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)

    ❏ Lip Balm (with SPF)

    ❏ Hand Sanitizer

    ❏ Toilet Paper


    ❏ First Aid/blister Kit

    ❏ Chemical Hand Warmers

    ❏ Hydration System - Flexible Water Bladder with Hose; Hydrapak, Camelback, Platypus

    Group Gear

    Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:

    ✓ Guide’s First Aid Kits

    ✓ Snow Observation Equipment (Snowsaws, Loops, Crystal Cards, Etc)

    ✓ Slingfin Tents (Designed and Headquartered in Berkeley, CA)

    ✓ Stoves

    ✓ Fuel for Stoves

    ✓ Ropes

    ✓ Snow Pickets (if required)

    ✓ Rock Protection (if required)

    ✓ Guide’s First Aid Kits

    ✓ Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)

    Know Before You Go


    Dependent on objective.


    Dependent on objective and location.

    Technical Difficulty ⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪

    The technical difficulty of each Custom Skills Program varies with the objective of the program.  Your guide will discuss this with you.

    Physical Difficulty ⚪⚪⚪⚪⚪

    The physical difficulty of each Custom Skills Program varies with the objective of the program.  Your guide will discuss this with you.

    Trip Length

    Custom: 1 day - 1 week+

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