Magnetic North - equipping alpine seekers
equipping alpine seekers


Holistic Alpinism: Komo Kulshan

Holistic Alpinism: Komo Kulshan

from 1,600.00

Fully-catered, four-day glacier skills course and summit on Mount Baker’s Easton Glacier. New client price includes coaching calls in the run-up to our trip to help you get dialed in.

Maximum 2:1 climber:coach ratio.

This course is specially designed to be a culmination point for you in the arc of our coaching work or as an immersive introduction to coached mountain work. Upon completing this course, you will be confident organizing self-led trips on glaciated and snowy peaks––such as the other Washington volcanoes. This course is a reasonable precursor to trips on the Great Ranges as well.

This concept, holistic alpinism, is new and I believe revolutionary. Not only will you accumulate the technical skills necessary for safe travel in the alpine environment, you will learn the self-care and mental habits in order to make your experience a joyful and sustainable one over time. On this course, expect fully-catered, fresh meals prepared as a group; luxurious mindfulness practices; and the skill-development you’ll need to confidently participate in an independent climb. Technical and heart-centered skills are tailored to each participant’s interests and experience; there is ample opportunity for more skilled team members to take on a leadership role within the group and for new climbers to spend time with new skill development.

Think of our time together on the mountain as one part endurance coaching intensive, mindfulness retreat, leadership workshop, and, oh yeah, summit climb on a glaciated peak.

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Setting: Komo Kulshan, commonly called Mount Baker, is a heavily-glaciated 10,781’ stratovolcano. It is prominently visible from the San Juan Islands, from Seattle, and from Vancouver. Famous for abundant snowfall, Kulshan is an ideal place to encounter living glacial ice and to practice alpine climbing fundamentals. The trailhead is about three hours from Seattle; the approach to treeline campsites––and the glacier––is surprisingly short.

Participants will:

  • Practice fundamental skills of snow travel required of a rope team member on glaciated terrain.

  • Develop their understanding of the glaciated mountain environment and its hazards.

  • Grow their comfort in backcountry camping and travel.

  • Apply concepts of endurance training and performance to alpine climbing.

  • Have the opportunity, team- and conditions-dependent, to summit this spectacular volcano.

Topics covered:

  • Habits of mind: encountering fear and pain, self-compassion, mindfulness for endurance, the Autonomic Nervous System

  • Life on the glacier: self-care and -management practices, developing routines, nutrition, historic inhabitants and history, strategies for altitude

  • Movement on snow and ice: proper use of Zones, walking and climbing techniques, knots and hitches, rope team travel

  • Progression of climbs: how to program your training and your climbs in a logical progression of skill-level and complexity

  • Ice axe use: walking, arresting falls, use in emergency systems

  • Route finding on glaciers: hazard evaluation, efficient travel, navigation

  • Emergency response: arresting a fall as a team, how to cooperate as part of a rescue team

  • Gear selection: efficiency, safety, budgeting, emergency systems

  • Camp choices: placement, objective hazards, comfort, shelter selection, maintenance, sanitation

Presented in partnership with Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest.