Intermediate Snowshoeing Course - Seattle - 2024

Snowshoeing Course

Intermediate Snowshoeing Course

Intermediate Snowshoeing Course - Seattle

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 trips are, in many cases, non-roped routes to destinations such as viewpoints, peaks, valleys, and frozen lakes. The course will cover the material needed to travel safely 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.


After successful completion of this course, you can go on trips

  • where you may travel in avalanche terrain requiring beacons, shovel, and probe; and is intended to help students to be able to make their own decisions whether to participate in such trips. It is also intended to help students assess when the use of avalanche gear may be needed for particular routes they may consider taking. [Note: (1) Students do not need to purchase this equipment. (2) The course only provides an introduction to use beacon, shovel and probe - recommend AIARE Level-1 or Avalanche Rescue Courses to gain competency and better understanding], or
  • even steep snow terrain with conditions requiring ice-axe and helmet for better walking in balance and self-arrest if needed.



This course includes an in-person "gear plus trip planning session" and two field trips. Please note that you must attend both lectures before you can participate in the field trips. 

Students should keep themselves available and sign up for all the weekends we have arranged for the field trip dates to ensure a better success rate.

If you are a current Basic Snowshoeing Student and would like to register for this course, please note that you would need to successfully complete the Basic Snowshoeing Course before taking this course.

If for any reason, you are not able to complete your Basic Snowshoeing Field Trip before the "gear session" scheduled for this Intermediate Snowshoeing Course, your spot will be given to others on the waiting list and you will be notified of the same, when and if it happens.


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 viewpoints 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 snowshoe trips after successful completion of the field trips.

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. You can rent these or borrow from us (committee) for the field trip before you decide whether you like to go on such trips which are very steep with snow conditions that need ice-axe. For the course, we would like to teach all the skills needed to complete all intermediate trips.


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.


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

  • If not taken already, attend the Avalanche Awareness Seminar (this is required, as a minimum). Additional Avalanche courses such as AIARE Avalanche rescue, or AIARE Level 1 are recommended. 
  • Attendance at gear plus trip planning session and satisfactory performance at both field trips
  • Complete a Wilderness Navigation Course
  • Successful completion of 1 intermediate snowshoe trip.


The Mountaineers strive 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.

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

Badges you will earn:

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.