Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills Course   - Seattle - 2015

Snowshoeing Course

Intermediate Snowshoeing Course

Backcountry Snowshoe Skills Course - Seattle

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.

Basic Snowshoe is a prerequisite for this course.   It's OK to sign up for the Basic and Backcountry courses at the same time, but students must successfully complete Basic Snowshoe before attending the Backcountry Snowshoeing Skills lecture.

The Backcountry Snowshoe 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 information and skills 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 (or formerly Snowshoe Lite) and also to graduates from Alpine Scrambling or Basic Climbing. 

Registration for this activity includes both the lecture on 1/27 and the all-day field trip on 2/7 to Skyline Ridge near the Stevens Pass Ski Area (logistical details provided at the lecture). Please note that attendance at the Lecture is MANDATORY in order for you to take the Field Trip. 

To graduate the course and attain the Backcountry Snowshoe Skills certification, students must attend the lecture, successfully complete the field trip, hold a current Mountaineers Navigation card, and successfully complete a minimum of three (3) snowshoe trips offered by the Seattle Branch, two of which must be rated Moderate or Strenuous.

Current students and graduates of Backcountry Snowshoe Skills will be eligible to participate in Moderate and Strenuous snowshoe trips. Students must have already completed the field trip to be eligible to sign up for Moderate or Strenuous trips.

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.

Carpooling for the field trip is strongly recommended, due to parking limitations. Read and understand how carpooling at the Mountaineers works. Please specify your carpool preferences for the field trip when signing up (or edit them later). Then click the link in your Profile to view other students' carpool preferences so that you can organize your own carpooling arrangements.

Students have until 4/30 to complete their requirements for graduation, which includes successful completion of the Navigation Course offered this spring in February and March.

This course is open to Mountaineers members only.

For additional questions, please email Larry.

Badges you will earn:

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Intermediate Snowshoeing Lecture 1 - Introduction
Seattle Program Center
Wed, Jan 19, 2022
Registration closes Jan 10
7 participants
4 instructors
Intermediate Snowshoeing Lecture 2 - Trip Planning
Online Classroom
Wed, Jan 26, 2022
Registration closes Jan 17
7 participants
5 instructors
Intermediate Snowshoeing Field Trip #1
Skyline Lake
Sat, Jan 29, 2022 -
Sun, Jan 30, 2022
Registration closes Jan 27
7 participants
6 instructors
Intermediate Snowshoeing Field Trip #2
Tye Peak
Sat, Feb 12, 2022 -
Sun, Feb 13, 2022
Registration closes Jan 28
7 participants
6 instructors
Intermediate Snowshoeing Field Trip (Backup Weekend)
Skyline Ridge to Tye Peak
Sat, Feb 26, 2022 -
Sun, Feb 27, 2022
Registration closes Feb 3
7 participants
6 instructors

Additional badges needed to graduate


Required Equipment


  • Pack (large enough for all winter gear)
  • Snowshoes
  • Ski Poles/Trekking poles with snow baskets
  • 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).  Some loaner helmets will be available on the trip.  More details will be provided at the lecture.
  • 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

  • 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.