North Cascades School and Custom Climbs with International Mountain Guides
The North Cascades of Washington are a climber's playground and offer a complete variety of challenges in a great mountain wilderness. Some of the great climbers of North America cut their teeth here, learning the skills necessary to make them competent climbers. These legends from our climbing history spent endless amounts of time exploring this vast empire of mountainous terrain making many peaks famous through literature like the "50 Classic Climbs". If you are looking for adventure on a grand scale, but need to manage your time, then you will find it here. Custom climbs can be arranged to your schedule and interests. Maximum large group size is 9 climbers and 3 guides. Minimum duration for a North Cascades climb is 3 days.
Our unparalleled guide ratios allow us to offer a higher level of instruction, move more quickly, increase our flexibility and our rate of success. This is what sets us apart from the rest. Techniques that will be used and introduced may include movement over rock, ice axe arrest, use of crampons, rope travel, anchor systems, belaying, running belays and fixed line work making this an excellent primer for a Mt. McKinley expedition, climbing elsewhere in Alaska, the Alps, and other big alpine climbs. If you are not in need of beginning instruction then give us a call and we will recommend a guided climb based on your previous experience.
For all climbs we will be carrying our full load of gear in to base camp. All participants must be in very good physical condition. The need to train for this climb cannot be overstressed! For several months prior to the start of the climb, training should include lots of long, slow distance runs over hilly terrain, an hour or more in duration. Add additional weekend outings carrying a heavy pack (35-50 lbs.) up steep hills or stairs. These sessions should gain 2-3,000 feet over 3 or more miles. It would also be helpful to get out in the snow during the winter and practice with a pack on steeper slopes.
Possible Course Objectives
Increasing technical knowledge/skills in all aspects of snow and alpine climbing including:
- Basic snow and ice climbing.
- Glacier travel and crevasse rescue
- Alpine rock climbing techniques
- Alpine rock climbing ascents
- Rope/belay techniques
- Crevasse rescue
- Route finding
- Developing educated, self-reliant climbers with the ability to evaluate subjective/objective hazards including: travel over glacier and alpine terrain, mountain weather, wilderness navigation