Mt Baker Ski Mountaineering Camp 5 Day
Our 5-day Mt Baker ski mountaineering program will set you up to confidently ski or ride glaciated mountains like Mt Baker, Mt Shuksan or any "big-mountain" style peak the world over. We'll skin into the field and set up a camp that will protect us from the elements and allow us to rest in comfort before diving into mountaineering skills that will give you the power to assess hazards, travel efficiently and manage the risks of high, glaciated peaks.
Each day we'll learn new skills, culminating in a summit attempt and ski descent. The on-mountain experience with our AMGA trained guides will provide the skills and mentorship for you to assess and managing the hazards of glaciated peaks from Washington to the Himalaya.
Skills Covered in this program Include:
- Camp craft (camping comfortably in the snow)
- Equipment necessary for glaciated ski mountaineering and glacier travel
- Crevasse rescue (you'll be able to do this in an actual crevasse)
- Alpine climbing techniques used in ski mountaineering including:
- The course will include an instructor led glacial tour as well as a glaciology lecture and a summit attempt!
Our maximum 3:1 skier to guide ratio means you'll get ample attention & coaching from our AMGA trained guides.
Ascent and descent options include: Coleman-Deming, Easton Glacier and Squawk Glacier Routes. There is a ton of ski terrain on Mt Baker and we'll find the best ski lines based on conditions.
- Significant backcountry skiing or splitboarding experience is required.
- Advanced resort skiing & riding skills in off-piste terrain are required for this program.
This is a physically demanding trip and a high level of fitness is required. Please reach out if you are unsure about your level of fitness and we can help determine if the trip will be right for you. Our partners at Pallas.io also offer training programs to help you build the fitness you need.
PricesRefer to prices on overview page
This is a typical itinerary for this program and is subject to change. As guides, we do our best to adhere to the schedule described below, but the mountains are a dynamic environment that requires flexibility. We may need to shift the summit day or some of the skills sessions to achieve the best learning outcomes or give ourselves a better chance at the summit.
8:00am Meet your guide at the trailhead. We'll do a gear check and review the plan for the day. The guide will discuss the route up to camp and we'll make any last-minute adjustments needed. The guide will conduct a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check.
8:30am Start the ascent to camp and on arrival we'll cover strategy for where to set camp and how to build a camp in snow or on rock that will be able to endure the elements that the mountains .
We'll learn all of the critical skills for moving up and down snow safely and efficiently. These skills are useful for any snow-covered mountain terrain, and we'll finish the day with a lesson geared toward glacier rope team travel.
- Ski Mountaineering Gear (Ice Axes, Crampons, Harnesses, Ropes, Carabiners, etc)
- Mountaineering efficiency including the kicking steps, the Rest Step, Crampon Techniques
- Ice Axe Techniques including Self Arrest and Team Arrest (for Glacier Travel)
- Descending techniques for mountaineering
- Basics of rope team travel (both glacier intervals and short roping)
- Mountaineering Knots and basic Mechanical Advantage Systems (this may be covered at camp)
Dinner and bed.
We'll find an appropriate crevasse, with a vertical or nearly vertical wall to practice crevasse rescue. With our foundation of knots and basic mechanical advantage systems, we'll dive into performing a crevasse rescue. We'll manage the crevasse hazard using a
Early Dinner and bed.
We’ll review the plan for our summit attempt before we prepare our gear and get to bed early.
Your guides will set the wake-up time based on the weather forecast and the hazards for the day. We'll have hot drinks and a warm breakfast before starting off for the summit.
We'll start toward the summit with 4,000' of snow and glaciated terrain between us and the top. This is a demanding day, and we may have to push through inclement weather or less-than-ideal conditions to make the summit.
Once we reach our high point, we’ll descend the lines with the best snow! We'll return to camp for a hot dinner and discussion of more mountaineering skills including knots.
Pack up camp and return to trailhead.
We’ll break down camp, pack up our bags and descend to the trailhead. We’ll aim to be down by early afternoon.
Time permitting, we'll may attempt to get in a minor ski objective.
Baker Ski Mountaineering Gear Guide
Gear Guide / Packing List
Backcountry Touring Gear
- Alpine Touring Skis or Splitboard - Light to Midweight Setup with “Tech Bindings”
- Alpine Touring Boots or Splitboard Compatible Boots; Scarpa F1
- Ski Poles - Lightweight, Adjustable Poles with Baskets; BD Expedition 3 Poles
- Climbing Skins - Mohair Mix is Best; Black Diamond GlideLite Mohair Mix
- Ski Crampons - Specific to your Skis/Board
- Ski Strap - Voile Ski Strap or Similar
- 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
- Climbing/Ski Helmet - Dual Rated Helmet; Petzl Sirocco or Black Diamond Vision
- Headlamp - LED headlamp with fresh batteries; Petzl Actik Core
- Climbing Harness - Light Alpine Harness; Petzl Altitude, Mammut Zephyr Altitude
- Two Locking Carabiners - Petzl Attache, etc
- Two Non Locking Carabiners - Black Diamond Hotwire
- Triple Action Locking Carabiner - Edelrid HMS Strike Triple FG Locking Carabiner
- Double Length Sling - Sewn Runner; Black Diamond 10mm Dynex Runner
- 5mm Cordelette - BlueWater 30ft. Accessory cord
- 1 Prusik loop - fixed 4’ loop of 6mm nylon cord or purpose built loop like Sterling “Hollowblock”
- Belay Device - Tube Style Belay Device; BD ATC Guide, Petzl Reverso
- Petzl Micro Traxion (optional)
- Crampons, Steel - Steel Crampons Compatible with Your Boots; Petzl Vasak or Crampons, Aluminum - Aluminum Crampons, Compatible with Your Boots. Please ask your guide which is appropriate for your objective
- Lightweight Ice Axe - An ultralight Axe for Steep Terrain; Petzl Ride, BD Raven Ultra
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 Gaiter - Light to Midweight Neck Gaiters; Buff or your favorite Face Masks
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 & NanoAir
- Puffy - Midweight Down or Synthetic with Hood; Patagonia Fitzroy or similar
- Hardshell Jacket, Hooded - Waterproof, Light, 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 Pants; OR Trailbreaker II
- Vented Hardshell Ski Pants - (Conditions dependent) Waterproof Pants for Extreme Weather
Camping & Backpacking Gear
- Sleeping Bag - Down or Synthetic Rated to 0F-20F; Feathered Friends Egret UL 20
- Sleeping Pad Inflatable - Insulated Inflatable Air Mattress; Therm-a-Rest NeoAir X-Therm, X-Lite
- Sleeping Pad Closed Cell Foam - Therm-a-Rest Z-Lite - The combo of both the inflatable and foam sleeping pad provides optimal warmth for sleeping on snow
- Compression Stuff Sack - To Pack Sleeping Bag; Ultralight Compression Stuff Sack Large
- Backpack - Lightweight, Simple 50 Liter Pack; Patagonia Alpinist 50, BD Speed 50 - MUST FIT ALL OF YOUR GEAR AND FOOD
- Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)
Food and Water
- Dinner - Favorite Freeze Dried or “Just-Add-Hot-Water” Meal for Each Night in the Field.
- Breakfast - Your Favorite Freeze Dried or “Just-Add-Hot-Water” Meal for Each Morning in the Field
- Hot Drinks - For After Dinner and During Breakfast; Instant Coffee, Decaffeinated Tea, Hot Cocoa, Tang, Whatever You Prefer
- Half Liter Nalgene Bottle - A Hard Sided Water Bottled that Can Act as your Mug For Hot Drinks and WAter Bottle During the Climb; Nalgene 16oz Wide Mouth Bottle
- Soft Water Bottle 1.5L - Flexible Water Bladder; Hydrapak Flux 1.5L
- ***Please bring at least one hard sided water bottle.
- Water Treatment or Filtration - Katadyn BeFree Filter Connects to Hydrapak Flux Bottles
- Bowl - Reuse your Freeze Dried Dinner Bag as Your Bowl, or Bring Another
- Spoon - 9” Long Handled Spoon (For Eating Food in a Bag); GSI Essential Spoon Long
- Snacks - Snacks and Lunch food for each day of the trip
- 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
Blackbird Mountain Guides will supply all of the group gear for the trip, including:
- Slingfin Tents (Designed and Headquartered in Berkeley, CA)
- Fuel for Stoves
- Snow Pickets (if required)
- Rock Protection (if required)
- Guide’s First Aid Kits
Know Before You Go
Mount Baker, WA
Technical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪
The ski mountaineering routes we offer on Baker involve glacier travel and the ability to climb and ski steep snow (up to 38 degrees) in variable conditions.
Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪
Mount Baker is a strenuous physical challenge. Skiers climb over 7,000 feet from trailhead to the summit before descending the second most glaciated volcano in the Cascade Range. Efficiency with climbing technique and excellent endurance are keys to feeling good on this climb.
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