Are you ready? We are... Meet the Ready Pack: It's everything you need!

Advanced Alpine Skills

Activity Description

Going above and beyond our other courses, this more advanced offering covers it all, allowing the practitioner full access or, as the sub-title of that book of the same name states: Freedom of the Hills. At the end of a forested hike, many mountain ranges carry on offering the traveler incredibly rugged, sustained steep rock, ice, and snow, all combined to create beauty, hazards, and challenges. This offering stands at the entrance, the mixed climb ahead. This advanced skills course sends its students home with tools needed to carry on, cope, and even lead in the alpine realm.

Getting to the summit is optional, getting down is mandatory. —Ed Viesturs (?)

Activity Offerings

This is a five-day or ten-day program which can run on concurrent days or over the course of a season. This is an advanced program. Thus, participation is contingent upon meeting certain criteria. Specifically students must have had at least the following courses or equivalents (from us or elsewhere): Winter Skills (1/2 Day min.), Mountaineering Skills (1/2 Day min.), and an Intro to Ice Climbing OR an Intro to Rock Climbing. Like all of our programs, we will modify this course to suit your needs. Share your objective. Tell us what you’re after in the comments box of our Booking Form.

Advanced Alpine Skills
Click here to reveal a list of this course's approximate timeline and educational content.

The order of these offerings may be affected by weather, instructor assessment, or other factors. Likewise, the named locations, difficulty ratings, and content are also subject to change, as needed.

Day 1: Rock and Ice Skills
  • Location: Cathedral North End, et al.
  • Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
  • Content:
    1. Prep and gear review at our Basecamp.
    2. Climber’s skill assessment.
    3. Climber, belayer, and scene safety.
    4. Leader belaying and seconding.
    5. Rappelling, friction hitches, back-up.
Day 2: Alpine Skills
  • Location: Willey Slide, et al.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Content:
    1. Alpine skills assessment.
    2. Crampons, ice axe choreography.
    3. Self arrest skills.
    4. Using ice screws, v-threads, etc.
Day 3: Snow Skills
  • Location: Whitehorse, et. al.
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
  • Content:
    1. Snow skills assessment.
    2. Body positioning.
    3. Rest steps and breathing.
    4. Snow anchors: pickets, deadmen, bollards.
    5. Avalanche awareness.
    6. Roped travel.
Days 4+5: Bivy Skills (Overnight)
  • Location: Shoestring Gully, et. al.
  • Difficulty: Difficult + Moderate.
  • Content:
    1. Bivy skills overview.
    2. Equipment usage and insights.
    3. Rest steps and breathing.
    4. Camp management/cooking/food/water.
    5. Finding comfort while packing light.
    6. Alpine LNT.

The order of these offerings may be affected by weather, instructor assessment, or other factors. Likewise, the named locations, difficulty ratings, and content are also subject to change, as needed.

Day 6: Climb Day (Alpine)
  • Location: Hillman’s Highway, et. al.
  • Difficulty: Difficult.
  • Content:
    1. Climber’s general assessment.
    2. Practice prior skills.
    3. Basic alpine navigation.
    4. Short-roping, -pitching.
Day 7: Lead Climbing (Ice)
  • Location: Lost in the Forest, et. al.
  • Difficulty: Moderate.
  • Content:
    1. Anchoring on lead.
    2. Rests/belays.
    3. Belaying a second/third.
    4. Leading/mock leading.
Day 8: Climb Day (Ice)
  • Location: Cathedral North End, et. al.
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate.
  • Content:
    1. Leading a climb.
    2. Continued practice.
    3. Rescue systems/methodology.
Day 9: Mixed Climbing
  • Location: Willard, et. al.
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult.
  • Content:
    1. Climber assessment.
    2. Mix climbing movement.
    3. Equipment, gear, and pro.
    4. Practice on top rope.
Day 10: End Game
  • Location: Pinnacle Buttress, et. al.
  • Difficulty: Difficult.
  • Content:
    1. Follow mixed climb.
    2. Lead/mock lead mixed climb.
    3. Program re-cap.
    4. Final assessment, recommendations.
    5. Certification from RLG.


What to Wear

This is going to depend on several factors so we’re not going to get specific here, but in any case, please take your preparation seriously and ask if you have any questions whatsoever. It can get very bad in the alpine environment in the winter. More than you can, perhaps, imagine. To ensure everyone’s safety and comfort, we offer this important generalized clothing info:

  • Think layers. While a ski jacket, for example, may be warm and waterproof, if the insulation can’t be separated from the rain/snow protection layer, it really isn’t suitable. You will overheat if you need rain/snow protection while mountaineering. Bring independent layers. Having our “Alpine or Backpacking Ready Packs” will solve the matter offering everything you need to stay warm with exception of boots and your hiking baselayers and pants. Call if you have questions.
  • Never wear cotton, even at the underwear level, and those base layers are really necessary. Synthetic materials, wool, and especially performance/wicking materials should be your clothing of choice. For mountaineering, since cotton won’t dry and doesn’t insulate while wet, it can pose a hazard. You will want to wear the right type of sports or mountaineering clothing and you will want to bring extra.
  • Bring more than you think you need. Mountain weather can be very tricky and unpredictable. While it may be nice in town, the mountains can be very different. Being prepared can save your life. With our “Alpine/Backpacking Ready Packs,” however, we really have you covered.
  • For footwear, wear proper winter mountaineering boots with proper crampons. You will want a single or double boot, depending on temperatures. You will probably need a double boot for any overnight segments.
  • Seriously, in winter, above treeline, you will want to prep for Denali. On some days. We are not in any way joking or exaggerating. Having gear such as the following as a minimum is expected: Heavy-duty hooded parka, heavy base layers, overmitts with liners, hardshell pants and jacket, mountaineering boots with step-in crampons, balaclava, face protection, and at least one set of goggles (two is better).

Necessary Gear

For your alpine skills gear needs, in addition to your own non-cotton base layers, hiking/climbing pants with shirt, and rentable footwear, as described above, we offer three options. Click to expand.

Gear Option 1 - Open
Rent our Alpine or Backpacking Ready Packs. The Alpine pack is $75/person/day and the Backpacking version is $120/person/night, respectively. This option will satisfy all your gear needs to include quality safety layers as well as rain and wind protection (hardshells), shelter, and your food and water needs for the duration of the activity, including specialty gear (but excluding mountaineering boots). This only leaves a need for personal items such as…

  • Personal first aid kit/meds.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Camera/phone (weather-protected).
  • Lip balm, sun block: SPF 30 min.
  • Sunglasses (glacier glasses).
  • Proper footwear (see information above).
  • Proper clothing layering (see information above).
  • Seasonal specialty clothing (see information above).

SPECIAL NOTE: You may get an “Alpine/Backpacking Ready Pack, Lean” without food and water for $60/$75/person/day, respectively.
SPECIAL NOTE: You can also order just food and water for $15/person/day. (Available with any option.)

Gear Option 2 - Open
Bring your own pack containing, in addition to the items above, the gear shown in the list below, as needed per the season and objective, but rent any necessary specialty gear items in the sub-list below that…

  • A lined pack with hip belt and room for the items below (~50-70 liters), larger if backpacking.
  • Hardshell jacket and pants, or rain poncho (mountain weather can be quite wet).
  • Mountain-rated insulated layer (mountains are much colder than in town).
  • Multiple winter-rated mid-layers, maybe a soft shell (much colder).
  • Food for the day, plus extra.
  • Water for the day, at least 2 liters, plus extra.
  • Seasonally-rated hat, gloves/mittens.
  • Balaclava, face protection, and goggles.
  • Headlamp with spare batteries (or backup device).
  • Whistle or sound-making device (sternum strap whistles are okay).
  • Tarp, bivvy, or personal shelter.
  • A lightweight emergency sleeping pad.

Plus any of these specialty items also available from the master rental list, below…

  • Ice/Snow Axe.
  • Technical Ice Tools.
  • Mountaineering Boots.
  • Mountaineering/Ice Climbing Crampons.
  • Mountaineering Harness.
  • Climbing harness.
  • Climbing Helmet.
  • Avalanche beacon (if needed).
  • Avalanche shovel (if needed).
  • Avalanche probe (if needed).
  • Rated sleeping bag (if needed).
  • Mountaineering tent (if needed).
  • Inflatable sleeping pad (if needed).
  • Pillow (may be puffy) (if needed).
  • Sleep layers (if needed).
  • Double boots (if needed).
  • Camp footwear (if needed).
  • Camp sit pad (if needed).
  • General Rental Gear Pricing
    • Empty Backpack: $15/person/day.
    • Headlamp w/ Batteries: $5/person/day.
    • Trekking Pole Set: $5/person/day.
    • Bushwhack Kit (Compass/Glasses): $5/person/day.
    • Food and Water (Lunch Kit): $15/person/day.

    Summer Clothing/Layers Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Summer” we mean warmer, summer-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Fleece (Midlayer): $5/person/day.
    • Puffy Jacket (Midweight): $20/person/day.
    • Hardshell Set: $35/person/day.
    • Light Gloves: $5/person/day.
    • Climbing Gloves: $10/person/day.

    Winter Clothing/Layers Pricing – Add to List Above
    (NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Puffy/Parka (Heavyweight/Winter): $25/person/day.
    • Hardshell Set: $35/person/day (Gaiters Req. w/ Crampon Use).
    • Mitts/Overmitts: $10/person/day.
    • Watchman’s Hat: $5/person/day.
    • Balaclava: $5/person/day.
    • Face Protection (Faceglove/Mask): $5/person/day.
    • Ski Goggles: $5/person/day.
    • Gaiters (Winter): $10/person/day.

    Winter Rental Gear Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Light Traction: $10/person/day.
    • Mountaineering Snowshoes: $15/person/day.
    • Mountaineering Crampons: $15/person/day.
    • Climbing Helmet: $5/person/day.
    • Ice/Snow Axe: $10/person/day.
    • Whippet: $10/person/day.
    • Alpine Harness: $10/person/day.

    Winter Technical Gear Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Winter” we mean colder, winter-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Ice Climbing Crampons: $15/person/day.
    • Technical Ice Tools: $15/person/day.
    • Climbing Harness: $10/person/day.
    • Mountaineering Boots: $25/person/day.
    • Avalanche Beacon: $25/person/day.
    • Avalanche Probe: $10/person/day.
    • Avalanche Shovel: $10/person/day.
    • Avalanche Kit: $40/person/day.

    Summer Technical Gear Pricing
    (NOTE: By “Summer” we mean warmer, summer-like conditions, not the season.)
    • Climbing Helmet: $5/person/day.
    • Alpine Harness: $10/person/day.
    • Rock Climbing Shoes: $15/person/day.
    • Climbing Harness: $10/person/day.
    • Chalk Bag w/ Chalk): $5/person/day.
    • Personal Flotation Device: $10/person/day.

    Backpacking Gear Pricing
    • Sleeping Bag (Rated): $20/person/night.
    • Sleeping Pad (Foam): $5/person/night.
    • Sleeping Pad (Inflatabe): $15/person/night.
    • Tent (1-2 People): $20/person/night.
    • Tent (3-4 People): $30/person/night.
    • Stove w/ Fuel: $15/person/night.

    Other Gear-Related Pricing
    • Gear Insurance (Regular/Hiking): $10/person/day.
    • Gear Insurance (Alpine/Winter): $20/person/day.
    • Gear Insurance (Backpacking): $30/person/day.
    • Outsourced Gear (Pick Up Fee): $40/person/day.

Gear Option 3 - Open
Bring everything and rent nothing. In which case, you will need everything from the above lists appropriate to your activity, objective, and expected conditions. Contact us if you have questions, mention it on the booking form, or simply note it when we call to finalize your booking.

Okay… Let’s Do This!

What follows below is the pricing and other information you’ll probably want or need to know.

5-Day Advanced Alpine Skills DT Pricing
For one person $1475
For two people $975 each
10-Day Advanced Alpine Skills DT Pricing
For one person $2825
For two people $1875 each
Advanced Alpine Skills DT Premiums
Make it private INCLUDED
Other Information
  • The difficulty of this activity is variable though is inherently tough.
  • This activity has a 1:2 guide/guest ratio (approx.).
  • The maximum group size is 2 with 1 guide.
  • For parties larger than 2, please contact us.
  • Gratuities not included; 15-25% is customary for a good job.

Not ready for this sort of thing? Go get our Winter Skills, Mountaineering Skills, Ice Intro, and/or Rock Intro courses. If you’ve been there and have done that? Well, you may as well go ahead and BOOK IT NOW!

Don't Wait Too Long!

Book today to begin your outdoor experience. Use the button to the right to go to our booking form page...

%d bloggers like this: