Intermediate Snowshoeing Course - Seattle - 2021

Snowshoeing Course

Intermediate Snowshoeing Course

Intermediate Snowshoeing 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.

Please read "COVID-19 CONSIDERATIONS" below, including the information about carpooling restrictions this winter.  Before signing up for this course please be sure you have access to a winter-capable vehicle.

The Intermediate Snowshoeing Course is designed for adventurers who want to gain the skills and experience to handle more challenging snowshoe routes and terrain. Intermediate 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 Snowshoeing and also to graduates from Alpine Scrambling or Basic Climbing.

Financial Assistance

The Mountaineers strives to serve everyone, regardless of ability to pay. We are committed to providing access to outdoor recreation, education and conservation opportunities for all members and youth in the communities we serve. If you would like to take this course and are experiencing financial hardship or limitations, please apply for financial assistance. Here is more information about the Mountaineers Financial Assistance Program.

What to Expect in the Course

This course includes a lecture and two field trips.   Each field trip is offered for multiple dates and location as shown in the course activity list.  In the event that a field trip must be cancelled due to adverse conditions, backup dates for the first trips are the weekend of February 6-7, and backup dates for the second field are the weekend of February 20-21.  Please note that you must attend the lecture before you can participate in the field trips.  Both Field Trips are are required. 

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.
Current students and graduates of Intermediate Snowshoeing will be eligible to participate in Intermediate and Strenuous snowshoe trips after successful completion of the field trips.

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 three years to complete their requirements for graduation, which are:

  • Attendance at the lecture and satisfactory performance at both field trips.
  • Successful completion of 3 snowshoe trips, at least two of which must be Intermediate Snowshoe trips.
  • Have a current Wilderness Navigation badge.
  • Have a current Stewardship badge.
  • Have a current Avalanche Awareness or AIARE Level 1 badge.  (Note that the AIARE Avalanche Rescue course does not satisfy this requirement.)

For additional questions, please email the course Primary Leader.
Mountaineers members only.

COVID-19 Considerations

For the 2020-2021 season all Seattle Snowshoeing courses and trips follow The Mountaineers COVID-19 Guidance for WA Phase 2.  All participants must follow The Mountaineers COVID-19 Code of Conduct .   Some Phase 2 guidelines relevant to in-person Snowshoeing activities include:

  • Carpooling with people outside your household is not recommended.  See additional notes about carpooling below.
  • All participants must wear a mask that can be quickly raised and lowered while on the move.
  • All participants must bring hand sanitizer.
  • Whenever possible the group will practice social distancing (6' apart).  Masks must be raised when in situations where social distancing is not possible.
  • Participants may not attend if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have had any symptoms in the prior 14 days.

For the 2020-2021 Snowshoeing season carpooling with people outside your household is not recommended.  Snowshoeing trips, include the field trips for this course, are usually held at locations near mountain passes that require driving on side roads or icy parking lots. Before signing up for this course please be sure you have access to a winter-capable vehicle.  An AWD or 4WD vehicle is best, but a 2WD vehicle with reasonable ground clearance and snow chains can work in benign-to-moderate conditions.   Lack of access to adequate transportation will not be considered a sufficient reason to refund the course fee.

Course Requirements
Course Activity Date Availability Leader
Intermediate Snowshoeing Lecture 1 - Introduction
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Jan 19, 2023
Registration closes Jan 17
18 participants
5 instructors
Intermediate Snowshoeing Lecture 2 - Trip Planning
Seattle Program Center
Thu, Jan 26, 2023
Registration closes Jan 24
18 participants
5 instructors
Intermediate Snowshoeing Field Trip #1 - Snow Travel & Ice-Axe Skills
Skyline Lake
Sat, Jan 28, 2023
Registration closes Jan 26
18 participants
7 instructors
Intermediate Snowshoeing Field Trip #2 - Snow & Avalanche Safety
Skyline Ridge to Tye Peak
Sat, Feb 4, 2023
Registration closes Feb 2
18 participants
7 instructors
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.