Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills Course - Foothills (Eastside) - 2018

Snowshoeing Course

Intermediate Snowshoeing

Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills - Foothills

COVID-19: Learn about our most up-to-date guidance for participants and leaders on our COVID-19 Response page. All participants and leaders must agree to the COVID-19 Code of Conduct before participating in this Mountaineers course.

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 a summit, this course will take snowshoeing to the next level.

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

Graduation requirements:

  • 1 evening classroom session (to be completed in the first year),
  • 1 student snowshoe field trip (to be completed in the first year),
  • 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.

Please note that attendance at the classroom session is mandatory in order to attend the field trip, and both must be completed in the first year.

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 and helmet are 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 their field trip) and graduates of the Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills course are eligible to participate on Moderate and Strenuous rated snowshoe trips. Students may take three 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: Thursday January 18, 2018 6:00PM - 9:00PM at Issaquah City Hall, Eagle Room, 130 E Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA.

Field trip, option 1: Saturday February 3, 2018tentatively Source Lake and Snow Lake Ridge, Snoqualmie Pass. Meeting place and time: Tibbetts Lot, 6:30 AM.

Field trip, option 2: Saturday February 17, 2018, tentatively Skyline Lake and Ridge, Stevens Pass. Meeting place and time: Brickyard park-and-ride, 6:00 AM.

For additional questions, please email

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Required Equipment

In addition to everything needed to successfully complete the Basic Snowshoeing course, students will need to have an ice axe, climbing helmet, snow shovel 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.