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5-day glacier training course with northside summit on Mt. Shasta, CA

5-day glacier training course with northside summit on Mt. Shasta, CA | undefined

Upgrade your mountaineering skills on a thrilling 5-day glacier training course on Mount Shasta, California, with fully-qualified SWS Mountain Guides.


Cascade Range

5 Days

Jul - Sep




* Learn the building blocks of basic glacier mountaineering.

* Capture breathtaking scenery of wild California.

* Benefit from having a fully-qualified guide with you all the way.


Standing at the southern end of the Cascade Range in California is the volcano of Mount Shasta, the second-highest in the mountain range.

Measuring 4,322 meters above sea level, the volcano provides spectacular natural views and thrilling climbs.

Ascending the north summit will reward you with vistas of distant northern California as well as southern Oregon. During clear days we’ll be able to glimpse Mount Hood in the Southern Cascades.

This comprehensive mountaineering course you give you the fundamentals to feel confident and capable of glacial climbing.

Learn essential crampon techniques, and the proper usage of an ice axe. Become confident ice climbing while using snow and ice anchors, and become familiar with rope team travel.

This course is hands on and you’ll get to test out what you’ve learned on the glaciated northside of Mount Shasta, one of the largest and most extensive glaciers in California.

If your goal is to ascend the snow-covered summits of South America, or Mount Mckinley, or even the Himalayas one day, then this mountaineering course will teach you the first building blocks to achieve your climbing dreams.

This is open to anyone who has a great level of fitness and desire. No experience of ice climbing is necessary, yet previous hiking experienced is required.

Get in touch now to reserve your place on a 5-day glacier training course on California’s Mount Shasta.

Price includes

- Guiding fee

- Breakfast

- Dinner

- Tents

- Rope

- Harness

- Helmet

- Ice axe

Price details

Price includes: Professional instruction/guide, breakfast(s), freeze dried dinner(s), ice axes, helmets, harness, group equipment including ropes and safety equipment, group camping equipment including tents and stoves, permits, and license fees including Mt. Shasta summit fees. Mountaineering Boots, Snowshoes (early season), and Crampons are NOT included but are available for rent. Please check with us for the full rental equipment list. Food: Group breakfast(s), dinner(s), and hot beverages included. Please bring your own favorite, high-calorie, high-carbohydrate lunches and snacks. Examples: bagels, cheese, dried fruit, trail mix, Clif bars, chocolate, etc.


What experience and how fit do I need to be to climb this mountain? Is this program suitable for children or older people?

This program is suitable for Beginner to Advanced Intermediate climbers. Participants should be in very good to excellent physical condition.

Our backpacks will weigh anywhere from 40 to 50 pounds and we will need to carry them to basecamp. Recent hiking or backpacking experience is required. Recent snow climbing, rock climbing, or mountaineering experience is recommended but not required. Please let us know if you have any questions about this.

Elevation gain to basecamp is 3,000 ft., elevation gain to the Summit (14,179 feet) is approximately 4,000ft. from our base camp. Our base camp will be between 9,700 – 10,200 feet. If you anticipate a problem with altitude sickness, let us know. We have several techniques that can help you to avoid, or at the very least, minimize adverse reactions to altitude.

Physical Conditioning:

Climbing Mt Shasta at 14,179 ft. is not easy, it requires physical and mental toughness. Listed below are the minimum physical requirements we would expect for all of our clients before they show up to climb Mt Shasta via the Avalanche Gulch route:

  1. Be able to maintain 600 ft -700 ft feet per hr / 185 to 215 meters per hr climbing pace AND be able to maintain this pace for 1-hour increments.
  1. Carry a 40 lbs - 50 lbs pack / 18 kg-23 kg pack
  1. Be able to move efficiently off of maintained trails on hard snow, soft snow, rocks and talus. Using large step ups and step-downs, and some movements requiring the whole body while carrying a pack.
  1. A client who can do 750 feet per hr with a loaded pack (235 meters per hr) with 25-30 lb / 11-14 kg pack on a stair climber, stepper or stair running should have the fitness to climb Mt Shasta
  1. Plus, Weekend training hikes 8-10 miles /12-16 kilometers with a loaded pack 25-30 lbs /11-14 kilos over the hilly terrain a client has access too is also recommend prior to your climb.

Note: Time to basecamp on Mt Shasta is 4-6 hours and time to the summit from basecamp is 5-8 hours.

How far in advance should I start training and what kind of training do you suggest?

We recommend 3-4 months before the climb if you have not been climbing or hiking extensively prior to your climb date.

Will I need to bring any technical equipment of my own? Is it possible to rent equipment, and if so, what would be the approximate cost of that?

You will need to bring your own sleeping bag, internal frame backpack, and mountaineering boots, and crampons All are available for rent: Sleeping bags & Pad ($42.00 for 2-3 days), Backpacks ($42.00 for 2-3 days) and Boots ($45.00 for 2-3 days) Crampons ($25.00 for 2-3 days) We also have Gaitors, Down Jackets, Hard Shell Jackets, & trekking poles for rent

Will there be porters to help to carry group and personal equipment?

Porters are available by reservation on all Mt. Shasta climbs cost $200 each way. Porter’s loads are limited to a maximum of 45 lbs.

How will accommodation and meals be handled on the mountain?

We will provide hot water for hot drinks, instant cereal, freeze-dried dinners, and for filling water bottles for drinking. SWS provides Tents while on Mount Shasta.

What happens in the event of bad weather?

We reserve the right to reschedule seminars and courses due to severe weather conditions or other uncontrollable circumstances which make the course or climb unsafe to continue. Weather Credit or Weather Partial Credit will be given for courses or climbs during or within 24 hrs of the course start dates if severe weather conditions or other uncontrollable circumstances make the course or climb unsafe. The decision will be made at the discretion of the climb leader and the Director(s) of SWS.

Are there any other special requirements such as permits/insurance/vaccines that we need to consider before the tour?

We recommend trip/course cancellation insurance.

What is the guide-to-client ratio to climb this mountain?

1:3 Guide to Client Ratio.

What is the best time of the year to climb this mountain?

June through September.

Can I join a group?

Yes, see scheduled dates listed.

About the guide

Guide profile image




Mountain Guide

Since 1981, we have been California's leader in guided mountaineering. From the Eastern Sierra to Mt. Shasta, we guide all of California 14ners and internationally.





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What people are saying about SWS



Overall, the fair evaluation for the SWS Mountain Guides and the guide assigned to me is 3 stars. Reasons: 1. The guide did not seem to remember or respect the fact that I was new to mountaineering and that the name of program is called “introduction to mountaineering...”. For example, the guide set his own time for walking and resting without any concern to my physical ability for that timing. The guide walked ahead many times and didn’t even notice when I fell a few times. I understand the guide is not the insurer of safety or a hand holder, but a complete abrasive approach to the service is not right, especially when it’s a paid service. Perhaps, the guide is not a right choice for introduction tours. 2. There was a miscommunication with timing of the summit day. I thought we would start summiting around 5am the next day; however, I was told less than 15 hours before that we would start hiking at 1am the next day from base camp. We arrived at base camp early afternoon, and I’m wired up, hot, and not prepared to fall asleep between 5pm-12am, thus, I didn’t sleep at all. I attempted the summit hike but around 12k feet the sleep deprivation was killing me and I was catching myself falling asleep and my body trying to lay down while waking. The guide didn’t seem to concerned about this. Lack of empathy. Eventually, I had to insist we turn around because I didn’t want to go beyond 30 hours of no sleep and still have to descend from the summit. 3. The guide did help set up the tent and food. The guide did explain layers of clothes on and off and why. The guide did help instruct how to pack and why. 4. Overall, I feel this guide is best suited for advanced climbers not introduction courses as he seems to be more of a “ill walk ahead of you” not “ill walk with you” type of guide.



This was an amazing trip and overall super positive experience with SWS Mountain Guides. I had a great guide with lots of mountain experience and many cool stories to share!


Had an amazing experience climbing Mt. Whitney with Richard & Tim. They were excellent guides and safely got us to the summit and back.


Neil from SWS was amazing. We climbed the Mountaineering Route up to Mt. Whitney. It was an amazing experience. The guide was knowledgeable and friendly. I leaned a lot. I would absolutely use these guys again.


Too bad this review does not allow six stars. SWS is professional, client focused, flexible, and has the clients best interests in mind. I can say the personnel and leadership skills of the SWS guides are among the best. You can't go wrong with SWS.

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