The 9 Day Rainier Baker Mountaineering Course
6 days extensive training on Mt. Baker with summit and then an attempt of Mt. Rainier via the Muir Route.
One word describes this course: Invaluable! I could write an dissertation on the skills I learned. Our instructors were absolutely amazing. So respectful and always willing to teach us. The amount of respect I have for AAI and the way the program is run is huge.>>See More
Due to the fantastic success of this program since its start in 2017, we are thrilled to have expanded our offerings to the whole summer season. Our 9 day program gives beginner and advanced beginner climbers the chance to learn mountaineering skills and have the chance to summit both Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier with a flexible Rainier schedule offering 2 possible summit days. For those seeking to quickly gain skills and climbing experience, we offer an extraordinary challenge for the budding mountaineer: our 6 Day Mount Baker Course, followed with a climb of Mount Rainier via the challenging and scenic Muir route. This is a superb opportunity for those who want to put their new skills to an immediate test. We offer a guide ratio of 4:1 for days one through six, then 2:1 for the climax of the Muir Route.
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 first part of the course is held on Mt. Baker, offering climbers the chance to learn on actual glaciers 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.
The 3 day climb via the Muir Corridor/Disappointment Cleaver on Mt. Rainier, is the most popular climb on the mountain. It provides an extraordinary expedition experience while allowing you to attempt the summit with the greatest of ease and enjoyment as compared to a 2 day climb. Our first night is spent in a private hut at Camp Muir (10,000 feet) that’s already stocked with supplies, allowing for lighter packs on the approach. Our second night in a remote tent camp situated on the Ingraham Glacier at 11,000 feet gives us better acclimatization, a shorter summit day, and a wilderness experience as we climb ahead of the larger groups leaving Camp Muir. Please note we reserve the right to change locations from the Muir to a North Cascades area if the route conditions on the Muir are not favorable. This decision will be made just prior to the climb.
I left this trip a stronger, more clear, more calm version of myself and I’m very grateful for it. Also, incredible beauty, great new friends, and skills for the wilderness. I learned much more than I expected to regarding mountain safety, proper gear and management of that gear during blizzard conditions, and all the components of crevasse rescue including knots and communication.
The 3 days on Rainier may be adjusted – see itinerary for details.
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
- Safe climbing
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 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 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.
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.