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Washington Winter Mountaineering -- Need Suggestions for Easy Intro

I am just looking for a nice winter trek preferably not too far from Tacoma/Seattle area. I was thinking about looking into Baker or Adams, but wasn't sure if road conditions would permit access for when I am going to be there (late December). If anyone familiar with the area could give me some suggestions of areas/mountains to research I would be much obliged. Basically just looking to test out my gear and get a little experience with crampons, ice axe etc. I will probably be going solo, so preferably nothing with crevasse hazards.

You would be better off with Adams than Baker, since this is an "intro". But I would caution you to make what appears to be a first experience a very short distance from your car, and make that a paved road access. Also sounds like you are going solo, so avoid glaciers like the plague - self-rescue from a crevasse is, shall we say, a bit difficult (like, virtually impossible unless you are very very lucky). I would strongly advise against solo for your first few experiences.

Better still, take the winter courses from the Seattle Mountaineers or REI, or from one of the many excellent guide services in that area that offer training. This is something potentially very risky you are dealing with. You don't want to learn the hard way about avalanche dangers (and the PNW has way too many people die every winter in avalanches). You also do not want to learn about winter weather the hard way. The Mountaineers and REI courses are fairly inexpensive. But considering it is your life you are risking in a situation that is far more risky with far more dangers than you can imagine, the few hundred dollars that the guide service and climbing schools charge is cheap insurance.

Sounds like a good place to start. Thanks for the advice. I will check out some of those courses, look up some more info on Adams and definitely avoid the glaciers. Do you know what winter road access is like for Mt. Adams?

In Dec, you might have a very long ski or snowshoe. Don't forget you have to get permission from the local Native American tribe whose land you have to cross.

Not sure exactly what you mean by winter trek, but if it involves any climbing, take Bill's advice and take a course of some type.

I am not an expert mountaineer; I'm not a mountaineer at all really, but I have taken a basic mountaineering class and I highly recommend doing it for a newbie. My class happened to be in NZ but the basics don't change all that much. The Southern Alps are highly glaciated, so crevasse rescue was on our menu. Take my word for it, trying to self rescue is almost impossible. Even with someone setting up a Z pulley for you, climbing out of a crevasse is pretty darn difficult. I solo winter camp, but no way would I go anywhere near a glacier by myself. I fell in a slot just up to my waist and it still took two people to pull me out and I don't weigh more than about 135 not including my pack. We were roped together, so I wasn't really going anywhere, but had I been alone, not sure if I would have been able to get myself free without an incredible amount of effort.

As a precautionary word, when I was down in NZ on one of my trips, the rangers came by our hut at Mt. Cook looking for a lost hiker. Some of his gear was in the hut, but they never found him. Their speculation was that he fell in a crevasse, otherwise someone would have likely found him at some point in time.

There are lots of things you can learn on your own. I don't think climbing is one of them.

I would be all about taking a crevasse rescue course or intro to mountaineering course, but I can't seem to find any in my time frame for being out there. Dec 23-30 2009. So I may just try and find somewhere to go snowshoeing.

November 28, 2020
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