Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills Course - Foothills - 2017

Snowshoeing Course

Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills

BCSS Course - Foothills

The Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills course is designed for adventurers who want to gain the skills and experience to handle more challenging snowshoe routes and terrain. Whether it's a winter backcountry vista, alpine frozen lake, or climb to the summit of a mountain, this course will take snowshoeing to the next level.

Registration requirements: Basic Snowshoeing (or equivalent) is a prerequisite for this course; also open to graduates of Alpine Scrambling or Basic Climbing.

Graduation requirements:

  • 1 evening classroom session,
  • 1 student snowshoe field trip,
  • 2 regularly scheduled Mountaineers snowshoe trips (Moderate or Strenuous difficulty),
  • Completion of a Stewardship activity,
  • Completion of separate Avalanche, Navigation and Wilderness First Aid modules.

Registration for this course includes both the classroom session on Wednesday December 7, 2016 and the all-day field trip on Saturday January 7, 2016. Please note that attendance at the classroom session is mandatory in order to attend the field trip.

The course and separate modules will cover material needed to travel safely and survive in the winter backcountry. Topics include winter equipment, clothing, proper use of an ice axe, self-belay and self-arrest skills, avalanche awareness including terrain and snow pack evaluation, use of beacons and companion rescue, navigation, winter route finding, winter first aid, incident response and emergency snow shelters.

An ice axe is required for this course. Guidelines on how to choose a general ice axe (not for technical ice climbing) will be provided to you at the lecture, or students can go to a local outdoor retailer and request sizing assistance.

Current students, after successful completion of the field trip, and graduates of the Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills course are eligible to participate on Moderate and Strenuous rated snowshoe trips. Students may take two years to complete all requirements of the course, if they choose. This is definitely a more aggressively approached course, and winter conditions and destinations warrant this rigor, but as in the Basic Snowshoeing course, safety is ALWAYS paramount.

Fitness requirements: participants should be in good cardiovascular shape. The more challenging, steeper routes and terrain of Moderate and Strenuous snowshoe trips require a greater level of fitness than Basic snowshoe trips.

Classroom session: Wednesday December 7, 2016 6:30PM - 9:30PM at Issaquah City Hall, Eagle Room, 130 E Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA.

Field trip: Saturday January 7, 2016tentatively Source Lake, Snoqualmie Pass. Meeting time and place to be determined.

For additional questions, please email

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Backcountry Snowshoe Field Trip
Skyline Ridge & Tye Peak
Sat, Mar 17, 2018
Registration closed Mar 15
7 participants
2 instructors
Required Equipment

In addition to everything needed to successfully complete the Basic Snowshoeing course, students will need to have an ice axe, and possibly a larger pack. The avalanche, navigation and first aid courses will also have their own equipment requirements.

Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.