Glacier Skills and Crevasse Rescue

Overview

This program is presented on the massive glaciers of Washington's Mt. Baker, considered the best glacier training ground in the United States. We cover front pointing and French cramponing techniques, the eight principal ice axe positions, self-arrest, anchor placement, procedures for glacier travel, crevasse rescue technique, and route finding. The Baker region is one of the most beautiful alpine areas in North America, so in addition to having perfect glacial terrain for developing your skills, you will also enjoy the beauty of one of America's most heavily glaciated and aesthetic peaks. This program meets in Bellingham, Washington at the AAI office.

Cascades - Crevasse Rescue

Practicing crevasse rescue.
Dylan Taylor

We recommend this program for climbers who would like to brush up on glacier travel skills in preparation for either their own climbs of glaciated peaks or for one of our intermediate - level courses, such as our Part 2 Alpine Mountaineering and Technical Leadership program or our Alpinism 2 program.

We also recommend considering our 6-day Alpinism 1 - Intro course, as it offers a complete introduction to mountaineering, which includes all of the curriculum covered in this Glacier Skills course, then also adds one day of rock climbing, and an ascent of Mt. Baker.

Though this course takes place on the upper flanks of Mt. Baker, we do not make a summit attempt. Instead, we maximize our instructional time and dedicate our three days to learning and practicing essential glacier travel skills. If you would like to add a Baker summit climb, we can arrange on a private basis a skills training session and an ascent on a four or five-day trip. Please call us to discuss scheduling.

Glacier Skills and Crevasse Rescue

Curriculum

Day 1 – Rendezvous at the AAI Equipment Shop and Head to Mt. Baker (6400ft/1951m)

Plan to meet your fellow climbers and instructor(s) at the AAI Equipment Shop promptly at 7:00am. You will have the time to go over equipment, finalize rentals and purchases, review the itinerary, and your instructors will ensure everyone is adequately prepared.

Once everyone is ready, you will travel to Mt. Baker, set up base camp, and start learning snow skills. 

Curriculum: Gear selection and car, concepts of glacier travel, glaciation, mountain weather, and geology. You may also cover knots and hitches if time allows.

 

Day 2 – Crevasse Rescue (7000ft/2133m)

You will get an early start today and make your way up farther onto the glacier for a day of snow skills.  

Curriculum: Glacier travel, rope work, and snow anchors. We will introduce crevasse rescue systems as well such as hauling systems and ascending the rope as a self-rescue.

 

Day 3 – Team Rescue, Additional Skills, Hike Out (7000ft/2133m)

On this last day, the group will again hike out on the glacier, and this time you’ll look at options for assisted or team rescue. Once the instruction is complete, you will hike back down to camp, pack up and hike out. The instructors aim to have everyone back at the AAI equipment shop between 3-7pm.

Curriculum:  Continued crevasse rescue systems learning.  You will also discuss any of the remaining glaciology, geology, or navigation lessons that didn’t get covered on the first day.

 

Glacier Skills and Crevasse Rescue

Dates

2024

  • June 21 - 23, 2024 - FULL - Waitlist Available
  • July 05 - 07, 2024
  • July 19 - 21, 2024
  • Aug 02 - 04, 2024
  • Aug 16 - 18, 2024 (Late Season Discount - $750)
  • Aug 30 - Sept 01, 2024 (Late Season Discount - $750)
  • Sept 13 - 15, 2024 (Late Season Discount - $750)

 

2025

  • May 09 - 11, 2025
  • May 23 -25, 2025
  • June 05 - 07, 2025
  • June 20 - 22, 2025
  • July 04 -06, 2025
  • July 18 - 20, 2025
  • Aug 01 - 03, 2025
  • Aug 15 - 17, 2025
  • Aug 29 - 31, 2025
  • Sept 12 - 14, 2025

 

Variations throughout the season...

While all of these courses run during what we consider the "summer season," there is a large amount of variability in the weather and conditions that a climber could experience throughout this time. We recognize that most of our participants sign up for our programs weeks or months in advance, and although we can never be fully certain of what we'll encounter in the mountains that far out, you can click here for a description of what can typically be expected throughout the summer as well as a guide on picking the timeframe that is best for you

 

The Roosevelt and Coleman Glaciers converge below Mount Baker's North side as seen from the Hogsback camp near 6000 feet. This will be our training ground.

The Roosevelt and Coleman Glaciers converge below Mount Baker's North side as seen from the Hogsback camp near 6000 feet. This will be our training ground. AAI Collection

Glacier Skills and Crevasse Rescue

Details

Max Ratio - 5:1 or 10:2 (Climber:Guide)

Capacity - 10

 

Prerequisites

  • Overnight backpacking experience. If you lack overnight backpacking experience, you can add a 2-day Backpacking and Wilderness Skills course at a discounted price
  • Ability to cook for yourself on a backpacking stove
  • Good physical fitness

 

Inclusions

Tuition for the program includes the guide's fee, transportation during the course, group climbing and rescue equipment (ropes and hardware), and a live Zoom gear consult.

Exclusions

Personal equipment is not included in the program cost, but it can be rented from our equipment shop. A complete list of recommended and required equipment will be sent to you upon registration. 

Navigation Programs

Though this program does cover backcountry navigation, there is limited time. Some mountaineers choose to enhance their glacier navigation skills before or after a program by combining this class with either the three-hour Backcountry Navigation Essentials class, or the one-day Backcountry Navigation Comprehensive program.

Glacier Skills and Crevasse Rescue

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