Ski Mountaineering Pass

Build your skills and tackle a classic ski / splitboard mountaineering peak this season! Choose Mount Shasta, Mount Baker or the Eastern Sierra. We'll build your skills, guide you up and ride with you from the summit of these iconic ski peaks. The pass provides a full season to sharpen your skills and prepare for incredible adventure in the Cascades or Sierra Nevada!
Ski Mountaineering Pass
Ski Mountaineering Pass
Ski Mountaineering Pass

Gear up for ski or split mountaineering adventure with a Big Mountain Pass!  Choose Mount Shasta, Mount Baker, or the Eastern Sierra.  We'll get you set to climb and ski these classic ski mountaineering descents.  Build the skills you need close by in Lake Tahoe, then head to your objective of choice to summit and ski with our expert, AMGA trained guides.  

The Ski Mountaineering Pass provides a progression to build the skills you need to summit and ride big peaks anywhere in the world, and ends with a ski descent of an iconic peak.   

    Mount Shasta Pass

    At 14,179' and with a base broader than Mount Rainier, Shasta is the largest stratovolcano in the continental United States.  The Mount Shasta Pass begins with Ski Mountaineering Skills, and progresses into a 3 Day Climb and Ski of Mount Shasta.  You'll come away from the program with a great understanding of techniques and tactics for big mountain climbing and skiing and with the right conditions, a ski descent of a huge volcano!

    Shasta Pass Includes:

    • Rope Skills for Skiers and Riders
    • Ski Mountaineering Skills
    • Shasta Summit and Ski 3 Day 

    Individual Price: $1550 Mount Shasta Pass: $1350!

    Mount Baker Pass

    Mount Baker, aka Koma Kulshan, is the most heavily glaciated peak in the Cascade range after Mount Rainier.  In fact, it has more ice on it than all the other cascade volcanoes combined!  The Mount Baker Pass is designed to provide all the knowledge and skills you'll need to tackle this massive, ice covered peak and similar peaks on your own.  You'll come away from the program with a great understanding of big mountain climbing and skiing and with the right conditions, a ski descent from 10,781', the summit of Mt Baker!

    Baker Pass Includes:

    • Rope Skills for Skiers and Riders
    • Ski Mountaineering Skills
    • Crevasse Rescue 
    • Baker Summit and Ski 3 Day

      Individual Price: $1775 Mount Baker Pass: $1550!

      Eastern Sierra Pass

      The Eastern Sierra is a ski mountaineer's dream.  From huge faces to steep couloirs, this range hosts a lifetime of ski or splitboard descents.  We'll take 3 days to pick off objectives like the Dana Couloir, Powerhouse Chutes, Ellery Bowl, Mount Wood, Mount Lewis and others.  This is an opportunity to tick some of the classic lines in the Range of Light!

      Eastern Sierra Pass Includes:

      • Ski Mountaineering Skills
      • Rope Skills for Skiers and Riders
      • Tahoe Tour
      • Eastern Sierra Ski Mountaineering 3 Days

        Individual Price: $1775 Eastern Sierra Pass: $1550!

          Ski Mountaineering Pass
          Ski Mountaineering Pass
          Ski Mountaineering Pass
          • Load image into Gallery viewer, Ski Mountaineering Pass
          • Load image into Gallery viewer, Ski Mountaineering Pass


          Available Dates

          Mt Shasta Pass
          Mt Baker Pass
          Eastern Sierra Pass


          $495 per person


          The Blackbird A1 is a full AIARE Avalanche Program, exclusive to Blackbird Mountain Guides.  We have done a massive amount of legwork to provide you with a course that fits your needs and provides meaningful education that extends beyond the dates of our course.

          Our state of the art online program allows you to tackle the classroom portion of the learning at home before the course, on your schedule.  That’s right, no need to take a friday off, no need to wait for a holiday weekend, just plan to spend that 8 hours with us learning online before the course.  Plus, you’ll be able to come back to this online content even after the course is done to refresh concepts that need more clarification.  

          Once you’ve completed the online program, you’ll have two full days in the field with our expert Avalanche instructors to see and experience snowpack, terrain and rescue skills.  


          Online Coursework (6 hours): Immediately after signing up for Blackbird AIARE 1, you can begin learning. Take the Online Coursework whenever it makes sense for you.  You’ll need roughly 6 hours to complete this portion of the course.  This education is for your own development and understanding, so study hard and come up with some good questions for your instructor.  The more knowledge you have before you arrive to the field, the more you and your fellow participants will get out of the course.  

          Please take notes and write down questions as you progress through the online coursework so that we can review them in the “Pre-Field Webinar.”

          Pre-Field Webinar (2.5 hours): Before the course, you’ll be invited to a “Pre-Field Webinar” where you avalanche instructor will tie the lessons of the online coursework together with some fun and helpful exercises.  After that, there will be time available for questions.


          Field Day 1: Avalanche Rescue and Field Observations

          8:00 am  Meet your guide and review the plan for the day. The guide will discuss the avalanche problem for the day, the proposed route up and options for the ascent and descent.  The guide will conduct a Trailhead Departure Check/Beacon Check.

          8:30 am  Tour to a zone where we can make snowpack observations pertinent to the current avalanche problem, including a Snow Pit.

          12:30 pm  Tour to a zone that is appropriate for practicing small team avalanche rescue.  

          3:30 pm  We will close the program at the trailhead with a quick review of the skills that we learned, a synopsis of the avalanche observations that we made and an overview of what to expect the following day in the field. 


          Field Day 2: Ski Tour with Avalanche Observations and Decision Making

          8:00 am  We’ll meet at the trailhead for our objective and students will lead us through the weather overnight and forecast for the day, the current avalanche advisory, our route plan and options, an emergency action plan and perform the trailhead beacon check.  

          Throughout the day we will practice the skills that we’ve learned throughout the program in real time to execute our tour in good style.  We’ll practice gathering observations, prioritizing information and making decisions with our teams.

          • 3:30 pm  We’ll regroup at the trailhead to debrief the tour and discuss the lessons of the day.  Then we will close out the program by providing some guidance on good choices for your next steps in avalanche education and ski touring progression.



          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

          ❏ 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 S

          Avalanche Gear

          RENT a the full Avalanche Gear Kit from Blackbird

          ❏ 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

          ✓ Wag Bags (Solid Human Waste Disposal Bags)

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

          Know Before You Go


          North Lake Tahoe, CA

          Mount Shasta, CA

          Eastern Sierra, CA

          Mount Baker, WA



          Technical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪

          The skills we build during these programs range in difficulty.  The general skills offered in “Ski Mountaineering Skills” are easily accessible, while the more complex rope skills and rescue systems for Crevasse Rescue are more involved and take more practice to master.

          Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪

          Ski and Split mountaineering are physically demanding.  You will need to be in excellent physical condition to attempt either Mount Shasta or Mount Baker.

          Trip Length

          Varies by program.

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