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Mt. Baker Summit and Ski Descent

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Mt. Baker Summit and Ski Descent

Mt. Baker Summit and Ski Descent

With over 5,000' of vertical off of the summit, skiing conditions typically lasting through early summer, and enough varied terrain to keep every skier happy, Mt. Baker is one of the most enjoyable ski mountaineering peaks in the Pacific Northwest.

Along with our scheduled dates, this program is also available on a custom basis. Please call our office to create an itinerary that suits you.

CLIMB HIGHLIGHTS

  • A ski descent of over 7000' off of the top of one of the Northwest's premier peaks.
  • A full day on the alpine terrain surrounding camp, fine tuning ski mountaineering techniques and preparing for our summit bid.
  • RMI ski and alpine guides trained to the highest standards. Take part in an RMI adventure and see why we continue to set the standard in guiding excellence.

The heavy winter storms of the Pacific Northwest leave Mt. Baker's Coleman, Deming, and Easton glaciers smooth and blanketed with large fields of white each spring. The perfect playground for skiers who like a LOT of vertical descent. With a day of ski mountaineering training, a majestic northwest summit, and over a vertical mile of turns on the descent, a guided summit ski descent of Mt. Baker is one of the best three day adventures imaginable. The skiing at its steepest reaches 35+ degrees on the Roman Wall. This program is for very fit, advanced skiers with a great sense of adventure. This is a great preparatory program for Ski Mountaineering - Chile and Mt. Elbrus Ski Expedition.

We lead the Mt. Baker Summit Ski Descent at a 3 to 1 climber to guide ratio ensuring that you receive a high degree of hands-on instruction and attention throughout the program.

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition, with "advanced" downhill skiing or riding ability, and previous ski touring experience. Participants should feel comfortable on black diamond terrain in ski areas, and be able to ski a variety of off-piste (ungroomed) snow conditions. Participants should be able to ascend and descend 5,000 vertical feet in a day of backcountry touring, carrying a 15-20 lb backpack, or 3,000 vertical feet carrying a 35-40lb backpack.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

The Mountain Guides at RMI have a reputation as top guides in the United States. RMI Guides participated in some of America's first ventures into the far reaches of the Himalaya. Years of expedition guiding and alpine climbing around the world have built a core of consummate professional guides.

Our guides are celebrated teachers and trainers, known for their leadership as well as their character. They possess the compassion, enthusiasm and ability to empower others and inspire them forward. Such qualities may only be found in people at the top of their profession. Despite their vast experience, RMI Guides still remember their own first steps into the mountains, and enjoy helping other climbers reach new heights.

Our exceptional focus to detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures make our programs truly memorable.

SAFETY

RMI strives to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focuses on leading fun and successful climbs without compromising safety. Each climb includes careful pre-trip planning, daily weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts, and diligent attention to detail. All RMI Guides are highly trained in remote medicine and rescue skills and carry comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio communication equipment throughout the program. Regardless of the objective or the destination, safety remains RMI's top priority.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

  • Upcoming Climbs

      • May 5, 2017
      • Full
  • Price
    $735*
    Deposit
    $350
    Duration
    3 days
    Difficulty
    Level 2
    Type
    Skiing

    *THIS PROGRAM IS ALSO AVAILABLE ON A CUSTOM BASIS. PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE FOR DETAILS.

Table of Contents

Day 1

ORIENTATION & APPROACH  •  5,800' | 1,768m

7:30 a.m. Meet at the Ranger Station in Glacier, WA

The group will meet at the Glacier Public Services Center (Ranger Station) in Glacier, Washington. Please see our Travel Details for driving directions and carpool opportunities. Your RMI guides will meet you at the ranger station for introductions, a Leave No Trace primer, group gear distribution and personal gear check. From Glacier we follow the Glacier Creek Rd to the Heliotrope trailhead. During our hike into the Hogsback camp we gain approximately 2,200'. The ski touring winds through old growth forest and up into beautiful alpine meadows. As we move up towards camp we review some of the foundational skills that make us more efficient and capable climbers and backcountry skiers.

The approach will take us three to four hours and we generally get into our 5,800' camp in the early afternoon. After setting up a solid mountain camp, we spend the remaining afternoon hours reviewing our avalanche transceiver search skills and becoming familiar with the safety gear which will be used in the next day's training.

There are no opportunities to purchase or rent gear in Glacier. Participants should be confident with the fit and choice of their gear prior to arriving for the program. Please refer to the program Equipment List and then call the RMI office to speak with a guide about any gear questions you may have.

 

Day 2

THE SKI MOUNTAINEERING DAY SCHOOL  •  6,800' | 2,072m

After breakfast we head out onto the glacier to begin our training. Our Ski Mountaineering Day School offers participants an overview of various techniques which meet the challenges set forth by a summit and ski descent of Mt. Baker. We practice basic mountaineering skills including; various safety practices including use of helmets, harnesses, and avalanche transceivers, cramponing, proper use of our ice axe, self and team arrest, and moderate cramponing, and roped skiing and glacier travel techniques.

Our first priority is the safety of all team members. During the School you will be asked to demonstrate that your fitness will allow you to climb safely, and that you are able to perform the new climbing skills proficiently. We will continue to assess each team member throughout the course of the training and the climb.

After the day of skills training we return to camp where we make our final summit preparations, enjoy dinner, and go to bed early for the next day's climb.

 

Day 3

SUMMIT CLIMB AND SKI DESCENT  •  10,781' | 3,286m

The summit ascent - Our day begins with a pre-dawn alpine start to give us ample time for this full day. The Coleman Glacier is a fun, moderate ski ascent. Cramponing, route finding and navigational skills will all come into play as we ascend slowly, making our way past crevasses to the 9000' point on the mountain. A moderate ridge takes us to the crux of the route, the Roman Headwall. At approximately 35 degrees this is the steepest section of the climb often requiring us to carry skis on our packs and ascend using crampons.

After enjoying the views and summit congratulations we click into our skis for the 5000' of glacier skiing back to camp. An early lunch is in order after the climb and then we pack up and descend back to the trailhead.

We generally arrive back at the town of Glacier by early afternoon where we gather as a team to celebrate our adventure.

*We do not recommend scheduling an airline flight before midnight on the last day of your program.

 

 

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Travel Consultant

RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide comprehensive travel support. We have been working with Erin for many years. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe and is extremely knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or send email to etravel@cox.net.

Travel Insurance

We strongly encourage everyone to purchase travel insurance which can cover trip cancellation, interruption, delay, baggage loss or delay, medical expenses, medical evacuation, and more. Travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or while traveling. You can purchase travel insurance at any time prior to the trip departure. Should you need to cancel from a program, Trip Insurance will refund you for any non-refundable cancellations fees when cancelling for a covered reason.

There are several things to note when purchasing trip insurance.

  • Cancellation Insurance is included in the standard Trip Insurance policy if you are injured, or have a medical or family emergency prior to or while traveling. Should you need to cancel your program, Trip Insurance will refund you for any non-refundable cancellations fees when cancelling for a covered reason. Most travel insurance companies provide an option to include coverage that allows you to “Cancel for Any Reason”, but the initial policy must be purchased within 15 days of placing your deposit for the program.
  • In order to cover your trip with RMI Expeditions you may need to include options such as an “Adventure or Sports” upgrade. Not all travel insurance will cover mountaineering, climbing, skiing or trekking adventures. Some will not cover due to gear used (crampons, ice axe), others will not cover above a certain elevation and/or region of the world. Check your policy carefully to make sure your activity is covered.
  • Purchasing Travel insurance is also dependent on your state of residence. If one company doesn’t offer coverage for you because you live in Washington, another company might.

MH RossWe have partnered with MH Ross, a Trip Mate brand, to provide travel insurance for our climbers. MH Ross has created the Assure Adventure Plans to cover travelers participating in climbing, skiing, mountaineering and trekking programs.

MH Ross’s Adventure Plan and Adventure Plus Plan differ only in the coverage option which allows you to “Cancel for Any Reason”. In order to receive “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage you must purchase the Adventure Plan Plus within 15 days of paying your deposit or payment with RMI. We recommend that you carefully read the Plan Document that applies to your purchase.

Brochure: MH Ross Advantage Series - Assure Adventure Plans

Getting There

Our meeting place is the Public Service Center in Glacier, WA. Most climbers will fly into the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport the evening before the program and rent a car for the 2 1/2 hour drive. Please click here for driving directions.

Ride Share: If you are participating in a climb and are interested in sharing a ride, please post your information in the "Ride Share" forum of your North Cascades Discussion Board by logging into your RMI Account.

Area Accommodations

Spend the night before the trip in either the Seattle area or Bellingham.

Weather

For updated North Cascades weather forecasts, click here.

Tipping

Our guides work hard to ensure your well being and success on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Amounts are at your discretion and should be based on your level of enjoyment. Tips for excellent service normally average 10 - 15% of the cost of the program.

Facts

Mt. Baker holds the record for the most recorded snowfall in a single season at 1,140 inches.

Mt. Baker was volcanically active as recently as 1891.

For more facts click here, and for even more click here.

Resources

General Information on Mt. Baker.

Mt. Baker map.

Communities & Activities outside Mt. Baker, click here.

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What You’ll Need

The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.

Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2016 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items.

  • Use Code RMI2016
    To receive 10% off
    All New Equipment

Shop Your Equipment List

Equipment List


Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, stoves, group cooking equipment, fuel, climbing ropes and anchors, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a cell phone for emergency contact.

    • ICE AXE

      The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.

    • CLIMBING CRAMPONS

      12 point adjustable crampons which fit your ski boots and are designed for general mountaineering. If using a ski boot - a "fully automatic" clip-in crampon with metal toe bail works best. If using snowboard boots - a strap-on crampon with plastic toe and heal bails works best.

    • AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER

      A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.

    • SKIS WITH AT BINDINGS, TELEMARK SKIS, OR SPLITBOARD

      All skis and boards need to have brakes or retention straps.

    • SKI CRAMPONS

      A crampon specific to your ski binding which is used for ascending firm slopes with skis on.

    • SKI SKINS
    • GLACIER GLASSES

      You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.

    • HEADLAMP

      Be sure to begin the program with fresh batteries.

    • Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.

    • We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.

    • We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.

    • ALPINE TOURING, TELEMARK BOOTS, OR SNOWBOARD BOOTS

      Telemark boots flex at the toe for more efficient striding uphill and to allow the "telemark turn" on descent. Telemark boots should be of contemporary plastic design. No leather "Nordic" boots please. Alpine Touring boots are a cross between a downhill ski boot and a hiking boot. AT Boots have rigid, lug soles, and are crampon compatible for climbing steep snow slopes. If renting boots it is recommended that you demo the rentals at your local ski area before taking them on this program. Please call our office to speak with a guide about ski and snowboard boot recommendations.

    • SUNSCREEN

      We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • MEALS

      See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

    • 2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

      Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.

    • AQUAMIRA WATER TREATMENT DROPS

      Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops. We do not recommend the tablets.

    • GARBAGE BAGS (LARGE)

      We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.

    • ZIP-LOCK BAG (1 GALLON)

      Please use the Zip-Lock as your personal trash bag.

    • INSECT REPELLENT
    • CAMERA
    • TOOTHBRUSH
    • TOOTHPASTE
    • TOILET PAPER
    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Purchase airplane tickets.

    • Arrange transportation and lodging.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!

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