Climb Details


6 day(s)
Level 2 difficulty 

Upcoming Climbs

Please call our offices at 1-888-892-5462 to inquire about availability.

RMI's Expedition Skills Seminar – Sahale is a six day instructional mountaineering course with a summit attempt of Sahale Mountain via the Quien Sabe Glacier. Program highlights include:

  • Spend six days climbing in the heart of the North Cascades.
  • Expedition-style climbing allows us to establish successive tented camps as we ascend the Quien Sabe Glacier in preparation for our summit bid.
  • The diverse terrain of Sahale and the North Cascades is ideal for learning mountaineering skills and techniques on a program suited for novice mountaineers.
  • Apply the skills learned throughout the trip with an ascent of Sahale, climbing the rolling terrain of the Quien Sabe Glacier to the final alpine rock pitches leading to the summit.
  • Learn from RMI's skilled and experienced guides while building a solid foundation of mountaineering skills.

Climbing Sahale Mountain

Our Expedition Skills Seminar on Sahale Mountain places emphasis on developing foundational mountaineering skills while ascending an iconic peak of the North Cascades. Establishing tented camps, we ascend the Quien Sabe Glacier using the mountain's terrain to learn mountaineering skills such as snow and ice anchors, crevasse rescue, ice climbing, fixed line travel, belaying and other technical skills. Our summit attempt entails scaling the rock and snow of Sahale.

RMI's Expedition Skills Seminar – Sahale is ideal for climbers interested in building their mountaineering skills while visiting one of the jewels of the National Park system - North Cascades National Park. The diverse terrain and relaxed itinerary provide excellent training opportunities.

Our Expedition Skills Seminars are comprehensive training courses designed to educate climbers to the mountaineering skills needed to tackle the world's greatest peaks. Successful completion of the Expedition Skill Seminar – Sahale will prepare you for many of our expeditions around the world, including McKinley, and provides you with a foundation for other major glaciated mountains.


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.

Quien Sabe Glacier on SahaleClimbing Sahale

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


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

Expedition Skills Seminar - Sahale Equipment List

Whittaker Mountaineering

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. This offer excludes sale items. For internet orders, please use the discount code RMI2015.

Pack & Bag Guides' Pick

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BACKPACK: A 65-70+ liter pack large enough to carry all of your personal gear, food and water is the recommended size for this climb.  A separate summit pack is not needed.

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SLEEPING BAG: A bag rated 20° F will keep you warm. You may use either goose down or synthetic.

Technical Gear Guides' Pick

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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.

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CLIMBING HARNESS: We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.

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1 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for clipping into the climbing rope.

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3 NON-LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for pack ditch loop, etc.

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HELMET: A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets are designed for a different type of impact and will not substitute as a climbing helmet.

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CRAMPONS: The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.

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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.

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TREKKING POLES: Lightweight and collapsible poles are preferred. Larger baskets work well with deep snow. Ski poles will also work.

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BELAY / RAPPEL DEVICE: A plate-style belay/rappel device.

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24 ' PERLON CORD: 6 mm cordelette in one continuous length.

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15 ' PERLON CORD: 7 mm cordelette in one continuous length.

Head Guides' Pick

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BUFF / NECK GAITER / BALACLAVA: One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.

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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.

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GOGGLES: Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.

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HEADLAMP: Be sure to begin the program with fresh batteries.


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

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LIGHT WEIGHT GLOVE: One pair of fleece, soft-shell or wind-stopper gloves.

Upper Body

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.

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LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.

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RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL): A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood.  We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket.

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HIKING SHIRT (OPTIONAL): For hot days in mid-summer, we recommend a lightweight, synthetic shirt, either long or short sleeves. Long sleeves are preferred for sun protection.

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SPORTS BRA: We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.

Lower Body

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.

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CLIMBING PANT: Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.

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RAIN PANT (HARD SHELL): A waterproof pant with 3/4 side zippers (sometimes called 7/8 or full side zips) are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.

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LIGHT WEIGHT TREKKING PANT OR SHORTS (OPTIONAL): A lightweight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.

Feet Guides' Pick

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MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: Mountaineering specific leather boots are the preferred choices for ascents in the North Cascades. They must provide good insulation as well as a rigid sole for kicking steps and holding crampons. Lightweight hiking boots are not acceptable as they don't work well with crampons, or in very cold or wet weather.



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GAITERS: We recommend a knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampon spikes on loose clothing.

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2 PAIR SOCKS: Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc), should work just fine for this climb.

Miscellaneous Items Guides' Pick

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LIP BALM: We recommend SPF 15 or higher.

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

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MEALS: See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

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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.

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AQUAMIRA: Chlorine Dioxide water purification drops.

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2 GARBAGE BAGS (LARGE): We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.

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ZIP-LOCK BAG (1 GALLON): Please use the Zip-Lock as your personal trash bag.

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Toilet Articles

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HAND SANITIZER(S): Personal size (2 oz.) bottle.

Utensils Guides' Pick

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BOWL: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.

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INSULATED MUG: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.

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SPOON or SPORK: Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.

Pre-Trip Checklist

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Purchase travel insurance.

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Arrange transportation and lodging.

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Purchase airplane tickets.

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Reserve rental equipment.

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Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!

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.

Travel Consultant

RMI has partnered with Erin Rountree to provide our clients with comprehensive travel support. As an independent agent of the Travel Society, she has booked countless miles for adventure travelers across the globe. We have been working with Erin for the last 8 years, and she is very knowledgeable about the travel needs of our programs. Please call (208) 788-2870 or email at

Getting There

Our meeting place is the Marblemount Ranger Station, 7280 Ranger Station Road, Marblemount WA 98267-9755.

We meet at 8:00a.m. 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. The town of Marblemount is approximately 125 miles from SeaTac. 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

You can find inexpensive camping at the Wilderness Village RV Park. This is where our guides stay. Click here for more info.

There are also motels in Marblemount:

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 when traveling. Note that many of the insurance options can be purchased under one policy but some coverage may only be available if purchased within 14 days of making your trip deposit or if purchased as an upgrade to an existing policy rather than as a stand-alone option.

Cancellation Insurance: Cancellation insurance offers protection of deposit and registration funds should you need to cancel from a program. This might be due to an injury during training, a personal illness, or it might be due to extenuating circumstances, such as family emergencies. Policies are determined based upon your home state, check with the insurance providers listed below for specific coverage details and options, including adventure/sports coverage*.

*Adventure/Sports Coverage: Most standard policies do not cover climbing or mountaineering. You can purchase Adventure/Sports Coverage as an upgrade to a standard policy. Please be sure to check with your provider and their description of coverage to make sure the policy you are purchasing provides you with adequate protection.

For more information please visit one of the websites below, or contact your local travel agent.

AIG Travel Guard Erin Rountree


For updated North Cascades weather forecasts, click here.


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.


North Cascades National Park has over 300 glaciers, more than any other park in the lower 48 states. More than half the glaciers in the 48 states are concentrated in this mountainous wilderness region called the North Cascades.

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


General Information on North Cascades National Park.

North Cascades National Park map.

Communities & Activities outside North Cascades National Park, click here.