Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills Course - Seattle - 2018

Snowshoeing Course

Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills Course

Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills Course - Seattle

Registration for this activity includes both the lecture on 1/24 and the all-day field trip on 2/3 (location and logistical details provided at the lecture). Please note that attendance at the Lecture is mandatory in order for you to take the Field Trip.

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 than those offered in Easy or Easy+ trips. Moderate and Strenuous trips are, in many cases, non-technical mountain-climbing routes with mountain peaks for destinations. The course will cover material needed to survive in backcountry terrain, including introductory avalanche awareness and response, incident response, emergency shelters, self-belay and self-arrest skills. This course is open to graduates of Basic Snowshoe and also to graduates from Alpine Scrambling or Basic Climbing.

Current students and graduates of Backcountry Snowshoe Skills will be eligible to participate in Moderate and Strenuous snowshoe trips after successful completion of the Field Trip.

You must be fit for the more physically demanding courses like Snowshoeing, Alpine Scrambling or Basic Climbing. Try hiking up Mt. Si (8 miles round-trip; 3,550 ft. elevation gain) and see how you do. If you can get to the top of Mt. Si (to the view points in the haystack basin) in 2½ hours or less (barring icy conditions), you are probably in adequate condition for this course.

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.

Students have until 4/30 the following year to complete their requirements for graduation, which include:

  • successful completion of the Navigation Course, offered in the spring and fall,
  • completion of a Stewardship credit
  • successful participation in three snowshoe trips with the Seattle branch, two of which must be rated Intermediate (Medium) or Strenuous.

    Mountaineers members only.

Link to Mountaineers Financial Assistance Program

For additional questions, please email .

Course Requirements

This course has no scheduled activities.

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment


  • Pack (large enough for all winter gear)
  • Snowshoes
  • Sturdy, lug-soled, waterproofed boots
  • Ice axe (for general mountaineering; properly sized)
  • Helmet (for field trip only – to practice ice axe arrest; not typically used on regular trips)
  • Clothing Layers (no cotton)

 Inner Layer:

  • Wicking Liner socks, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)
  • Synthetic Warm Underwear, top & bottom, 2 sets (one set worn, other set carried)
  • Liner gloves, (+ extra set in pack)

Insulating Layer:

  • Outer socks, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)
  • Pants, synthetic fleece or wool. Soft-shell or sturdy hiking pants suffice for many.
  • Shirt or sweater, synthetic fleece or wool
  • Mittens or gloves, 2 pairs (one pair worn, other pair carried)

Protective Layer:

  • Rain parka with hood – waterproof & breathable preferred to avoid trapped moisture.
  • Rain pants – waterproof & breathable preferred to avoid trapped moisture.
  • Long gaiters. Be sure they fit your boots correctly so that snow doesn’t crawl underneath. GoreTex or insulated gaiters are not necessary.
  • Hats (one for warmth; one for sun protection)
  • Wind jacket (which may be your rain parka). A fleece or wind stopper vest is also handy if it is warm.
  • Scarf or neck gaiter if you tend to get cold easily.

 Additional Recommended Equipment/Supplies for the Field Trip:

  • Ski Poles/Trekking poles with baskets (highly recommended)
  • Foam sit pad
  • Hand and toe warmers
  • Toilet paper, sealable plastic bags, and hand sanitizer
  • Pack cover
  • Dry clothes and shoes in your car for the trip home
  • Garbage bags in your car for wet gear
  • Camera and extra batteries, if desired
Course Materials

You must register for this course to see course materials.