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Seattle Glacier School - Learn Glacier Travel, Rescue & Ice Climbing Skills
Seattle Glacier School
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  • Experience and learn mountaineering with men and women of all ages and abilities on the large glaciated mountains near Seattle, free of cost. Send in your application early to be put on the waiting list.
  • Climb with the expedition leaders of Summitclimb, get your mountaineering questions answered, and share your knowledge with the group.
  • Get advice from experienced climbers on what equipment and clothing to buy and rent/hire at many reasonably priced Seattle climbing stores.
  • Test your equipment in the mountain environment while we live and travel on snow.
  • Learn, practice or master glacier travel and ice climbing skills.
  • Take part in a summit attempt on one of the most glaciated mountains in North America, a 4000 metre/13,00 foot high snowy volcano near Seattle.
  • Walk away from the school with more mountaineering confidence
  • Meet new people that are into the sport and make friends
  • Become inspired to take on a more ambitious mountain
  • Dates and Cost
    • Winter Glacier School: 1 - 7 January, 2015. snow camping and skills, glacier travel, ice climbing, with Daniel Mazur
    • Summer Glacier School: Saturday 20 June to Saturday 27 June 2015. Ice and snow camping, climbing, summit attempt, with Dan Mazur
    • Special one and two day Glacier Ice refresher courses. With Dan Mazur and Staff.
    • All courses, Winter and Summer. Free of cost, no charge
Recent News: We just returned from the mountain where our school participants learned about self rescue, roped glacier travel, and ice-axe technique while camping in the snow for an entire week. We finished with a successful ascent of a 14,000 foot, 4400 metre high glaciated volcano on a clear windy day with panoramic views extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Please click HERE to see the full news report.

Our www.WinterGlacierSchool.org was a grand success. Please Click Here to see how the course went and to join our Winter School in January. Welcome to Everyone!

Please click one of the links below to view the introductory information or just scroll down (photo right: Ulyana and Ania wave flags on a breezy summit day - Charlie Roberts).

Glacier School Programme Description:

  • Introduction: Learn the art of mountaineering on the high glaciers around Seattle, and gain confidence to walk comfortably amongst them. The Glacier School is open to men and women of all experience levels who apply, free of cost. This is a weeklong school with expedition leader, Dan Mazur, and experienced climbers who donate their knowledge to get people inspired about mountains. Summitclimb has led 9 successful schools where participants meet new climbers, practice skills, and learn different techniques. We hope that by providing a school at no cost, we can get people passionate about the sport we are excited about sharing.
    • Our schedule balances learning mountaineering skills with experience in the high glacier environment;
    • From renting/hiring and buying equipment in Seattle to the high summit attempt, we help climbers understand all aspects of the sport. This school covers crevasse self-rescue, roped travel, building snow anchors, and self arresting;
    • The Mountains around Seattle provide the perfect environment for high altitude climbing near a big city where we can rent and buy supplies from stores like Second Ascent and REI;
    • This School uses the knowledge of leaders with 25 Himalayan expeditions as well as teaching mountaineering on all seven continents;
    • This school could qualify you for our other expeditions on Baruntse, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, as well as other glacier schools like the Everest Glacier School and the Everest training climb.

Alpenglow covers participants as they ascend above the clouds during a terrific sunrise (Allen Smith). The massive glaciers stretch out below the summit as the members of the Seattle Glacier School descend the ridge back to high camp (Scott Patch). Leaders Bill and Scott go through the hip-belay technique on a slope outside camp as Tracy looks on (Rick Eng).

  • Leaders and Staff: With expedition leadership that stretches to the summit of Everest and back and teaching experience on all seven continents, leaders of the Seattle Glacier School have extensive knowledge they are happy to share. Dan Mazur, who has completed over 25 Himalayan expeditions, will lead the glacier school and be there to answer any questions that arise. Helping expedition leaders from the Summitclimb team, along with experienced climbers, will also be able to explain different parts of the sport. During the school, the leaders will share their knowledge through organized classes and open discussions with group participation.
  • The Mountains Around Seattle: Rising above the temperate rainforests lay the massive glaciers of the Cascade Range.  The snowy volcanoes climb 4,000 metres / 14,000 feet from the Pacific Ocean, through the blanket of maritime clouds that cling to the surrounding dense forest.  Large amounts of winter precipitation create massive snowdrifts compressed over thousands of years making the glaciers that flow down the slopes.  On a summer day from the beach in Seattle one can look out to see the snow covered volcano on the horizon while drinking a fresh cup of coffee. Having such a technical environment with quick access makes the mountains around Seattle an excellent location to stage our school.
  • Accommodation and Arrival: Nestled on the South end of the large bay near Seattle lies the diverse town of Olympia, where we start and finish our school. Situated only an hour from Seattle Tacoma International Airport (SEA) it is easily accessible from out of state. The town offers an extensive amount of local cafes serving the coffee that Seattle is famous for, as well as local produce from the farmers market. The gear stores of Seattle are also within close driving distance, so after going through gear, participants can easily acquire anything they need. Participants may choose to camp on the ocean shores in the backyard garden of the expedition leaders at the beginning and finish of the school. We can also recommend hotel accommodation provided at your own expense

 

Ulyana and Anna test their knowledge by putting their weight on the snow anchor that they built (Anna Moll). Randy works on his hip-belay technique as he helps a fellow participant climb up the slope (Anna Moll).  Stewart leads his rope team along the moraine out of camp one as the trees begin to fade away (Anna Moll).

  • Snow  School: For the first two days, we camp lower on the mountain among the moss-hewn trees along the glacial moraine.  The lower snow slopes of the mountain serve as an excellent classroom to learn the basics of mountain climbing. Driving to the upper parking lot brings us near tree line, and then an enjoyable hike into the snow finds us in a great place to build a camp before the technical glacier. We use slopes around camp to learn how to walk on a rope team, build anchors, and self arrest with an ice axe. Members will stay in tents provided by Summitclimb, with another member of the school, to save weight. Personal meals will be cooked by individual participants on Summitclimb’s stoves, but we will be close enough to advise about high altitude cooking techniques and socialize while we dine. The glimmering summit above camp will stand as a friendly reminder of the exciting events yet to come. back to top
  • High Camp: Building off skills we learned at snow school we make our way as a group climbing through the clouds to our high camp.  The ascent to camp has a variety of snow slopes, but it will only be necessary to use an ice axe and crampons, and much of the path we will only use ski poles.  As we ascend to the glacier, the forests below drop away and the view extends above the surrounding mountains. Our high camp will be close enough to the technical terrain of the icefall that we can practice more advanced mountain systems like ascending ropes and lowering into small crevasses. We will sleep around 3,000 metres / 10,000 feet, where participants stay comfortable in the colder weather gear we acquired on Day 2. Hopefully we will be able to enjoy the sunset alpenglow on the glacier over dinner and a cup of cocoa before bed.

The glacier school lines up on the moraine ascending to high camp. From the left, Rick, Heather, Jen, Bill, Maryana, Stephanie, Heather, Scott, Dale, Jeff, Allen, Abhi, Randy, Ulyana, Ania Kyler, Wes, Sonya, Tracy, Charlie, Stewart, Vance (Dan Mazur).

  • Summit Day: Our group will wake up very early to take advantage of optimal snow conditions, walking through the night, as we ascend towards the summit. The early start also gives us plenty of time during the day to get back down.  As we ascend, we can practice skills learned over the course of the week on glacial terrain while we follow the path to the summit in our rope teams. Participants will also be ready for a wide range of weather with the personal equipment we acquired in Seattle. Climbing over crevassed terrain up snow and volcanic rock slopes, we will enjoy the colors of the sunrise as it lights up the ice around us. The sustained snow slope allows participants to master their crampon technique and use of ice axes, as it leads up to the icy crater rim. The layers of forested mountains stretch out through the mist to the Pacific Ocean far below as we congratulate one another atop the summit pinnacle.  We will arrive at the summit around lunch and after a rest in the crater we descend back to camp for a leisurely walk down the mountain and drive back to Olympia.
  • Who is this trip for?: We encourage anyone curious about mountaineering, eager to try new things, and meet new people, to download an application from the website and get on our waiting list.  We like to have a diverse group of men and women of all ages and experience on the mountain with us. Although most people join as individuals, we also encourage people to invite their friends to come along for the climb. The goal is to create a good team of climbers, working together to learn and experience the mountains.
    • No previous technical mountaineering experience is required for the school, but previous camping experience is necessary. Members should be comfortable living outside for the week.
    • Since we are not allowed Sherpas, participants will carry their personal items and pitch in with group equipment as well. Stronger participants will carry more of the group gear than smaller members, but you should expect to carry around forty to fifty pounds in your rucksack. If you enjoy walking outside with a rucksack for three to six hours with twenty minute breaks thrown in, then you should have no problem on this trip. back to top

Heather Jennings uses her ascender to pull herself back to the surface during self rescue practice (Heather Jennings). Abhi looks out at just how far he has come on the slope leading to the summit (Heather Jennings). Participants traverse along the long snow slopes to the lower mountain after spending time on one of the most glaciated peaks in the United States (Scott Patch).

Please "click" one of the links on the column on the upper right of your screen under "Seattle Glacier School" to learn more about our expedition.