The 10 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course
6 days extensive training on Mt. Baker with summit and then an attempt of Mt. Rainier via the technical Kautz Glacier.
The entire course was super high quality. I went in with expectations to learn skills for future climbs and feel those expectations were met or succeeded. I’m excited about the experience and plan to do other courses/trips with AAI in the future.
I was wildly impressed with my first AAI experience. I’m very happy with the baseline climbing skill set that I was able to learn and effectively practice on this trip. I feel confident going out with friends to hone my new skills as I work my way up to bigger and more technical climbs. I want to sincerely thank AAI for this eye-opening experience in mountaineering. I’m truly excited to further my climbing journey!
For those seeking to quickly gain skills and climbing experience, we offer an extraordinary challenge for the budding mountaineer: the The 10 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course, which combines our 6 Day Mount Baker Course with a 4-day climb of Mount Rainier via the challenging and scenic Kautz route. This is a superb opportunity for those who want to put their new skills to an immediate test. To better prepare students for the demanding ice climbing on the Kautz Glacier, all six of the training days are spent on the north side of Mount Baker, with one day dedicated to technical climbing on the vertical ice on the Coleman Glacier. We offer a guide ratio of 4:1 for days one through six, then 2:1 for the climax of the Kautz Route. Please Note: Alpine Ascents reserves the right to change location from the Kautz to another area in the Cascades when climbing conditions are not favorable.
Distinguished among climbing schools, our 6 day program has been the foundation of our education programs for over 20 years. During this course, one receives hands-on climbing and climber’s safety training in Washington’s glorious Cascade Range (as seen in the slideshow above). The Cascades is a huge mountain range with scores of peaks topping 8,000 feet, upwards of 400 glaciers, and countless permanent snowfields. The first part of the course will be held on the north side of Mt. Baker, offering climbers the chance to learn on actual glaciers, practice ice climbing, and make a summit attempt.
After our first 6 days on Mount Baker, originally named Koma Kulshan, conditions permitting, we drive south to Mount Rainier, originally named “təqʷuʔməʔ” (Taquoma) and begin the final phase of the course.
“I loved this course. My goal was to become an asset on a rope team instead of a liability, and create a solid foundation of skills to build upon to continue my growth in mountaineering. I feel that I have achieved this. It was great we were able to summit both Baker and Rainier, but that was just icing on the cake. The training that I received is what I’m most grateful for.”
The Kautz glacier is a spectacular intermediate climb that requires excellent physical conditioning. The challenging four-day climb is highlighted by several hundred feet of steep snow and ice climbing that weaves through the serac walls on the Kautz glacier. Please note we reserve the right to change locations from the Kautz to a North Cascades area if the route conditions on the Kautz are not favorable. This decision will be made just prior to the climb.
This program is designed for the beginner or intermediate climber who wishes to develop strong fundamental skills in all aspects of snow and glacier climbing
Increasing technical knowledge/skills in all aspects of snow and alpine climbing including:
- Glacier travel
- Rope/belay techniques
- Crevasse rescue
- Route finding
- Ice Climbing
- Climbing risk management
Developing educated, self-reliant climbers with the ability to evaluate subjective/objective hazards including:
- Rock fall
- Glacier conditions
- Gear evaluations
- Critical decision-making
- Group experience
- White-out conditions
- Wilderness navigation
- Weather conditions
This course serves as a prerequisite for many of Alpine Ascents’ intermediate-level climbs and is a stepping stone for more technically difficult mountains. It has served as a springboard for many climbing careers, including those of numerous Everest summiteers, and has developed a skills foundation for hundreds of independent climbers. It has also been successfully used as a training ground for skilled adventurers, rangers, law enforcement, firefighters, military, stunt people and others who require climbing skills in their careers.
About The North Cascades
The 6 day portion of these courses is held on the north side of Mount Baker.
The North Cascades in Washington State form the largest and most rugged alpine wilderness mountain range in the contiguous United States. Contained within this range are scores of peaks topping 8,000 feet, upwards of 400 glaciers, and countless permanent snowfields. Most of the high peaks in the North Cascades are composed of metamorphic or intrusive igneous rocks. These weather-resistant rocks have been heavily sculpted by alpine glaciation, producing stunning peaks and ridges. These breathtaking views and the wide variety of alpine climbing have earned the area the nickname “The American Alps.” The North Cascades are considered the premier training ground for developing alpine climbers. See our Course Catalog for a complete listing of our North Cascades course offerings.
The weather in the North Cascades can be extremely variable, with snow sometimes below 3,000 feet. Precipitation levels are heavy, particularly during the winter months. “Variable conditions” also include glorious weather for lengthy periods, usually in late summer. For instructional purposes, the optimum time to climb in the Cascades is from early May through late August. This is when the combination of weather and snow conditions is usually at its best. The vegetation and wildlife of the North Cascades are interesting and diverse. Approximately 150 common species and another 100 or so less common species of wildflowers bloom during the summer. This range is aesthetically exceptional and we hope you find yourself returning many times to enjoy its grandeur.
Many who have been introduced to the world of alpine climbing in the Cascades have gone on to climb in the world’s greatest mountain ranges. We hope our program will be the first step towards a lifetime of mountaineering.
Cascades Summit Details
Mt. Baker (10,781 ft.), the highest point of the North Cascades, is a heavily glaciated dormant volcano. The twelve active glaciers of Mt. Baker cover an area exceeding 20 square miles. Mt. Baker is unique in its great mass of snow and ice and easy accessibility. This combination creates a perfect alpine training ground.
Mt. Rainier (14,410 ft.), is the highest volcano and largest glaciated mountain in the contiguous U.S. This alpine giant is famous for its superior climbing as well as its pristine wilderness. The vast glaciers and alpine ridges of Mount Rainier offer challenges for novice and veteran climbers alike.
I thought this course was Outstanding. I had a great time, was constantly challenged, and learned a number of skills that I will use in the future. I had a stellar experience. The program’s strengths are the guides. My experience was strongly positive and I plan on recommending and using Alpine Ascents again.