Meeting Times & Transport
Getting to Seattle
If you do not live in the Seattle area, flight reservations for your course should be made as soon as possible. Alpine Ascents uses the services of Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel: (800) 727-2157 or (206) 623-2157. He is very familiar with our programs and offers competitive prices on all flights.
Day 1 of Climb
Arrive at our Seattle offices at 6:30AM on the first day of your climb. We will begin with a thorough equipment check and orientation, during which we will go over the required equipment, apparel and food. We will make recommendations for substitutions and additions as necessary. Please arrive in your street clothes. After the gear check and before we depart the office for the trailhead, there will be time to change into the appropriate climbing attire.
Location: Alpine Ascents International Office, Seattle, WA – Directions Here
What to Bring: Please arrive with your pack fully packed with all gear listed on the gear list. Rental gear can be picked up at the gear check. You are responsible to bring all gear on the gear list except your rental gear. If you are unsure if a piece of gear you plan on bringing is suitable for the climb, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices before your arrival. We happily make recommendations.
Last Day of Climb
Return to trailhead, retrieve cars and return home.
Lodging in Seattle
We recommend staying overnight nearby the night before the climb begins.
The Marqueen Hotel offers Alpine Ascents Climbers a discounted rate throughout the summer. Please tell them you are with Alpine Ascents in order to receive the special rate. The Marqueen Hotel is located about one block from our office. Reservations for your room should be made as soon as possible.
Phone Reservations: (888) 445-3076
Here are directions to the trailhead and parking information.
Directions to the trailhead: Seattle to Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead
Take I-5 N to Bellingham. Take Exit 255. Drive SR 542 east 33 miles to the town of Glacier. One mile east of Glacier, turn south on Glacier Creek Road (Forest Road 39) and drive 8 miles south to the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead.
You will need a Northwest Forest Pass to park at the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead. A season parking pass is available for $30.00 in person from local Seattle retailers such as REI. Day passes are $5.00 per day and can be purchased from Alpine Ascents during your gear check.
Guides are permitted to accept and greatly appreciate tips. The amount of tip is at your discretion, but tips for excellent service normally average 10-15% of the cost of the program, or $140-210. Our guides pool tips and share them equally.
Breakfast and Dinners are provided on the climb. Please bring a cup, bowl and spoon. You are required to bring your own lunches (see Menu Plan). If you have any food allergies or requirements, please let us know in advance. There is a place on the application to do this. You may be asked to help carry provisions to each camp. All tents and group climbing equipment are provided on the climb. At your gear check we will check and organize personal/group gear, including food. It is advisable to purchase your lunch foods before we meet. For fresh food, there are several large
supermarkets in the area.
Menu Plan for your climb:
The weather in the Washington Cascades are subject to highly variable weather conditions. With this in mind, we developed our gear list for the safety and comfort of our climbers. There may be occasions when required items are not used because of current weather conditions. You are welcome to call the office before your trip to check on conditions, but please note the gear list prepares you for poor weather conditions. Please read your annotated equipment list very carefully.
Review your Gear List
Follow this link for the required gear list and rental form:
You are required to bring every item on this list as described so be as precise as possible when packing. Alpine Ascents rents quality equipment at reasonable rates. In addition, gear is now available for purchase at the Alpine Ascents Equipment Store where climbers on an Alpine Ascents expedition will receive a discount. Please call or email Alpine Ascents with any gear questions. We have storage for gear and street clothes while you are on your climb. Please bring a duffle bag/suitcase to store gear.
- Pack everything in two layers of sturdy plastic. (Trash compactor bags work best and are equivalent to two layers of plastic)
- Bring one large trash bag to completely and easily cover the inside of your pack.
- It is likely that you will be asked to help carry some of the group equipment, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your backpack.
In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training and excellent physical condition are required. Prior experience with backpacking and camping is required. An approximately 40 pound pack weight is the ideal we are striving towards; be prepared to carry a 40-55 pound pack. Climbers need to be in excellent physical condition for both personal enjoyment and to be an integral team member. We encourage you to contact us so that we may assist you in developing a training program that meets your particular needs.
Alpine Ascents has developed a comprehensive training program in conjunction with Body Results:
Physiology of Mountaineering
Please read our primer on the basics of altitude physiology and awareness of the dangers posed by travel in the mountains.
Alpine Ascents International practices Leave No Trace principles on all expeditions. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Please Visit:
As guides, we spend time teaching the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principals and practices. There is nothing more beautiful than working hard to get high into the mountains, come upon a pristine campsite, witness incredible views and have the feeling that no one has been there before.
Conversely, there is nothing more disheartening than working hard to climb a mountain, reaching a site and encountering trash, food waste and toilet paper. Please read the seven LNT principles, and call the office if you have any questions about what you can do to plan ahead.
I was very impressed and satisfied with the expedition. Compared to other guiding companies on Aconcagua, Alpine Ascents seemed to have better food, better/longer acclimatization process, more flexibility in schedule, and the only group to have a permanent base camp at a great location.