4:00 P.M. Gear Check Day Before Course Begins
FOR SUMMER 2021, AS PART OF COVID-19 REGULATIONS: Climbers will need to self drive until further notice.
Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 3:45 p.m. for a mandatory gear check beginning at 4:00 p.m. the day before your climb is scheduled to begin. This gear check will last about 2 hours. You are required to attend this meeting. Please review the Gear Check information and come prepared. You are responsible for driving to and from the course location.
Getting to Seattle
If you are flying into Seattle, SeaTac is the closest airport to our office. You are responsible for transportation between the airport and your hotel.
Getting from the Airport to the Office and Vicinity
Our office is 30-50 minutes from the airport (depending on traffic). Most climbers coming from out of town rent a car at the airport.
Other options are taking Shuttle Express or the Light Rail (public transit) from the airport station to Westlake Station, followed by a Lyft/Uber/taxi the last 1.8 miles to the office. The Light Rail is $3 for this one-way trip.
For 2021: Because you will drive yourself to the mountain, most climbers coming from out of town will rent cars at the airport.
8:00 a.m. Trailhead Meeting on Day 1 of Course
We meet at the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead at 8:00 a.m. on Day 1 of your course. You will need a Northwest Forest Pass to park. You can either purchase an annual pass for $30.00 or two $5.00 day passes. Please be on time and be aware that there is not cell phone coverage at the trailhead.
Please note: Uber/Lyft and other rideshare apps or taxis are not viable options for your transport from Seattle to the mountain.
Rental Gear Return Day 2 of Course
The team will de-issue rental items at the trailhead at the conclusion of the course. Climbers will not return to the Alpine Ascents office after the course.
Air travelers are strongly advised against booking flights out until the day after your course concludes. Trip schedules will not be adjusted to accommodate return flights booked on the same day your course concludes.
We recommend booking a room for the night before your course and for the night your course concludes. We will return to the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead in the evening on Day 2 of the course, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. We strongly advise against flying out until the day after your course concludes. Trip schedules will not be adjusted to accommodate return flights booked on the same day your course concludes.
The closest town to the starting point of our 2-Day Alpine Ice Climbing Course is Glacier, Washington (~ 22 miles). It’s a very small town without traditional hotels, but there are excellent and affordable rentals on AirBNB. Bellingham, Washington is farther away (~60 miles) but is a larger town and has more lodging options and restaurants. We recommend finding a hotel on your preferred travel booking site at a price point that works for you.
4:00 p.m. Gear Check (Day Before Course Begins)
FOR SUMMER 2021: Due to COVID-19, Alpine Ascents is making every effort to limit the amount of time our team is gathered indoors. Pre-Gear Check materials will be sent to climbers to supplement a shortened gear check process, which will be held on our outside patio and last 60-75 minutes.
Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 3:45 p.m. for a mandatory gear check beginning at 4:00 p.m. This takes place the day before your climb is scheduled to begin. This meeting will last approximately 3 hours.
You are required to attend this meeting, so we can distribute and fit rental gear, do a thorough check of your gear, provide packing instruction, check personal menu items, review the route and trip itinerary, and answer any questions you may have.
You may attend the gear check in your normal street clothes.
What to Bring: Please bring all of your gear to gear check. Note that you do not need to pack carefully, as we look at every item together. Rental gear will be picked up at the gear check. You are responsible to bring all gear on the gear list (including food) except what you rent from Alpine Ascents.
Gear Check Video
For reference, check out this video that talks through the 3 Day Rainier gear list. The gear list for your course is similar, though not identical. The video should give you a basic understanding of the gear you will need for your Mount Baker course, but please refer to the link above when packing and preparing for your 2 Day Alpine Ice Climbing Course.
Link back to your 2 Day Alpine Ice Climbing Course gear list:
Due to the heavily glaciated temperate mountains in the Washington Cascades you may be 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.
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. Gear is also available for purchase at the Alpine Ascents Equipment Store where climbers on an Alpine Ascents expedition will receive a discount.
• 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.
• You will help carry some of the group equipment, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your pack.
FOR SUMMER 2021: As part of our COVID-19 protocols to operate in Mount Baker National Forest, we will provide a dehydrated breakfast and dinner in lieu of our traditional menu. Climbers will choose from a selection of options from Mountain House and Good-to-Go during the gear check. Climbers are welcome to bring their own dehydrated food (1 dinner, 1 breakfast) if preferred.
On-mountain dinner (Day 1) and breakfast (Day 2) are provided on the climb. You are required to bring your own lunches/snacks. If you have any food allergies or requirements, please include this information in your registration paperwork.
Food is one of the basic pleasures of wilderness travel. There are countless options for putting together healthy and delicious meals for your trip. For most climbs in the alpine environment, we eat approximately every hour during brief rest breaks. This constant intake is the most efficient way to fuel our bodies and meter our energy output as we climb. We do not stop for long “lunch breaks.” Your lunches should not require the use of a stove while on the mountain.
A climbing outing requires higher energy expenditure on a daily basis than what you may be used to. Eating well and frequently not only sustains energy levels but also boosts morale and attitude. In addition, mountains often challenge climbers with inclement weather. It is important that caloric intake be high and regular to help avoid hypothermia and other cold weather or altitude-related problems.
- Your food should consist of a well-balanced selection of food groups. It is best to plan most meals with high levels of complex carbohydrates to provide the most efficient long-term energy production.
- Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, found in candy and other items, provide quick, short-term energy.
- Proteins are necessary for good health, but not in the quantities that most eat. On a short trip, lower protein intake levels do not cause problems.
- Fats require much more oxygen and time to metabolize (especially at high altitudes) which can be an important consideration.
Consider foods that are light and compact. Balance this consideration with nutritional needs and packing foods that taste good to you. Packaging should be minimal, but without sacrificing good organization and weather-protection.
Alpine Ascents provides a dinner and breakfast on this climb. You will be responsible for providing your own lunches for the 2 days. Listed below are sample lunch menus and a packing list for your climb. It is important to bring the listed calorie amounts, though the exact items you bring may vary according to your preferences.
2 Day Climb Daily Menu Sample
Here is a sample of the types of things people bring with them for their daily lunches.
Day 1: Climb from trailhead at Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead (3,000’) to camp near Coleman Glacier (5,000 ft.)
Plan to bring approximately 1000 calories of lunch food for this day. This could include:
• Cold pizza or fresh sandwich
• Bagel with meat & cheese
• Your favorite candy bar
• Piece of fresh fruit
• Cold drink mix for your water
Day 2: Full day ice climbing training, descent from camp to trailhead
Plan to bring 1000 calories of lunch food for this day.
• Bagel with meat & cheese
• 2 energy bars
• Canister of Pringles
• Your favorite candy bar
Other Lunch/Snack Suggestions
Jerky (Beef, Turkey, or Soy) 8–10 oz Bag
Trail Mix 1 cup
Salty Snack Mix 3/4 qt
Energy Bars 2 Bars
Large Cookies 2 Packs
Candy Bars 2 Bars
Granola Bars 2 Bars
Crackers (Peanut butter or Cheese) 2 Packages
String Cheese 2 sticks
Mixed Dried Fruit 1/4 qt Bag
Cold Drink Mix (w/ electrolytes) 2 Packets
Energy Gel 1 Packet
Caloric info: www.whatscookingamerica.net/NutritionalChart.htm
For this course, we will be hiking from the Heliotrope Ridge Trailhead to our camp on the Lower Coleman Glacier. The ascent is over 2,000 feet elevation gain in approximately 3.5 miles. You will carry a pack of 50+ pounds during this ascent. Proper strength training and sport specific endurance work carrying a weighted pack will pay off here.
If you are are doing this course as preparation for a summit climb, we recommend following the appropriate training program for your objective.
If this kind of training is new for you, we strongly recommend working with a trainer/coach that has a background in mountaineering. Steve House and staff at Uphill Athlete are experienced industry professionals we highly recommend.
Knots to Know
We recommend learning the following knots and hitches before your course. Knowing these knots beforehand will help you focus more of your course time on learning their applications.
This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.
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.
Guides are permitted to accept and greatly appreciate tips. An average tip for the guide team is $50-75.
Please be aware that we are unable to process tips by card. You are welcome to tip your guides with cash or via mobile payment such as Venmo or PayPal.
This trip pushed me technically, provided an awesome travel and cultural experience, and perhaps the most special gift is that I got to learn about the work of the Alpine Ascents Foundation. I’m especially happy to support the latter, and look forward to it being another avenue for me to deepen my relationship with Alpine […]