Winter Glacier Camping School - Learn Glacier Travel, Rescue & Ice Climbing Skills

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Winter Glacier Camping School - Learn Glacier Travel, Rescue & Ice Climbing Skills

  • Summer Glacier School: Ice and snow camping, climbing, summit attempt, with Dan Mazur

  • Experience and learn mountaineering with men and women of all ages and abilities on the large glaciated mountains near Seattle, free of cost. Send in your application early to be put on the waiting list.
  • Climb with the expedition leaders of Summitclimb, get your mountaineering questions answered, and share your knowledge with the group.
  • Get advice from experienced climbers on what equipment and clothing to buy and rent/hire at many reasonably priced Seattle climbing stores.
  • Walk away from the school with more mountaineering confidence
  • Meet new people that are into the sport and make friends
  • Become inspired to take on a more ambitious mountain
Recent News: Our last was a grand success. The school participants learned about self-rescue, roped glacier travel, and ice-axe technique while camping in the snow for an entire week. We finished with a successful ascent of a 14,000 foot, 4400 metre high glaciated volcano on a clear windy day with panoramic views extending all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Please click HERE to see the full news report.

Winter Glacier School - Learn Glacier Travel, Rescue & Ice Climbing Skills
  1. Snow shoe (racquette) and ski travel.
  2. Snow cave/igloo construction;
  3. Snow camping and cooking;
  4. Self arrest technique;
  5. GPS, map and compass;
  6. Avalanche detection and practice;
  7. Route finding;
  8. Roped glacier travel;
  9. Snow belay techniques;
  10. Ice and snow climbing; 

Please join us for next year's Winter Glacier School:

  • Tuesday, 1 January : Arrive at my house in Olympia; sleep on floor, or go to a motel. The choice is yours.
  • Wednesday, 2 January : Gear check and equipment hire/rental and purchase;
  • Thursday, 3 January :Travel to mountain, ski/snowshoe in and set up camp;
  • Friday, 4 January : Winter glacier school activities day;
  • Saturday, 5 January : Winter glacier school activities day;
  • Sunday, 6 January : Departure from mountain, return to Olympia; take showers, sleep on floor, or go to a motel. The choice is yours.
  • Monday, 7 January : Return flight home.

Thank you and please enjoy this news of our Winter Glacier School.


Practicing safe vertical ice climbing. Martha skinning up her skis to head up the mountain.


Practicing abseiling and ascending on fixed ropes and ice.


Team on 1st day of school. left to right - Ridlon Kiphart, Ari Karchin, Jaimie, Stewart Wolfe, Sylvi Montag Kawina, Tak Ogasawara, Martha Johnson, Dan Mazur. Sylvi Montag Kawina enjoying her snow cave.

Hello, I hope you are getting excited for our free of cost Winter Climbing School, Thursday 1 January –Wednesday 7 January .



Eric ascending fixed rope safely. A famous John Muir quote we found inspiring while getting last minute missing bits for the climbing school. Beautiful sunset across the mountain as we were heading back to camp (Stewart Wolfe).  Dan and Stewart showing snow level. Photo by Victor Mesny

Location of the School:

The winter climbing school is in Washington state, exact location to be determined according to conditions.


Dan and Stewart on our recent reconaissance mission to find out where the ice is in. Our teams roped up and learning safe glacier travel.


Stewart wolfe and Dan Mazur. Every mountaineer's challenge - Jaime Herriot and Ari Karchin practice 'flaking' the rope.


Victor Masny shows us the route on the map. After a flipping glissade,Setting up the tents at twilight.


Jaime Herriot practices self arrest technique - flipping into a roll - while falling upside down and backward. Jaime Herriot stops herself with her ice axe during a glissade. 


Jaime Herriot comes to a rest with her ice axe in the correct self arrest position. Sylvi Montag Kawina, Ari Karchin, and Ridlon Kiphart snowshoe to camp.


 Using a thermometre to check the temperature of the snow pack, helps to determine if it might avalanche. Victor Masny conducting a shear test on the snow pack, in order to see at which layer an avalanche might occur.


Tak Ogasawara and Victor Masny studying the snow layers and temperature in an avalanche test pit they dug. checking the angle of the slope with an inclinometre. this one measures 32 degrees.


 Ascending a snowy ridge toward the practice area. Team enjoying a much needed rest before setting off on the next phase of our winter school.


Ari Karchin demonstrates proper placement of a t-stake snow anchor.  Golden sun sets like an orange ball behind snowy pine trees.


Team looks on while Sylvi and Tag build snow anchors. Sylvi Montag Kawina practices safe descent on steep snow.


After setting up a belay, Eric McPherson decides to ski down. Eric skiis down while team navigates the glacier below..


 Stewart Wolfe demonstrating safe snow ascension technique, with ice axe, crampons, jumar, etc. Eric McPherson sets up a belay.

Potenial glacial area for practicing on what we saw on our recent reconaissance of local spots in Washington.


Ridlon Kiphart reaches the top anchor. Ridlon Kiphart shows proper downclimbing technique on steep snow slopes


Peaks and volcanos at sunset. Martha Johnson in her comfortable tent.


Tak Ogasawara, age 69, enjoying a ski run while the rest of us walk down. Tak ogasawara age 69 cutting a turn on the steep slopes while the rest of us look on in amazement. 


Stewart Wolfe and Jaime Herriot crossing the glacier roped together. Stewart Wolfe and Ari Karchin belaying Ridlon Kiphart and Jaime Herriot on the ice wall.


Ari Karchin puts in an ice screw. Victor Masny belays Ari Karchin on the ice wall.


Group huddle during a sudden snow storm, left to right - ridlon kiphart, victor masny, tak ogasawara, ari karchin, jaime herriot, and eric mcpherson. Members trying for to use fix rope and climbing equipments. Photo by Victor Mesny


 Jaime Herriot shows correct ice axe self arrest position Dan making coffee in the warm tent.



Tak Ogasawara and Dan ready for action. Member are posing for photo. Winter SchoolPhoto by Victor Mesny


Please bring the equipment from the website, here is the link to click

The above link is a bit long so, in case the link is "broken" please be sure you have cut and pasted the entire long link into your browser. Thanks

Optional gear to bring: if you have things that are not on the personal equipment list like stoves, tents, avalanche beacons, shovels, ice climbing protection (pickets, screws, etcetera), please feel free to bring them and test them out. Otherwise we will have all the necessary group gear for the team.

Please note: In addition to the equipment mentioned above, please also bring mountain touring skiis or snowshoes, thanks.

Don't have the necessary equipment? Please just come to Seattle and rent or buy it locally!

What else can you think of?

Can’t join the Winter Climbing School? Please check out our other educational trips: , , , and : Free of Cost, No Charge!

I look forward to chatting, meeting, and to climbing together with you during the winter climbing school. Thank you very much. Welcome to Our Team and Best Mountain Regards!

-Dan Mazur - Course Leader -

Do you have a website? Lets exchange links: ;

Skype: dan.mazur8848 ; ;


Cascade Glacier School Cost

There is no cost for this school.  We provide a school free of charge in order to encourage people to join the climbing community and be inspired by the mountains. We also want to get people who might already be familiar with the sport of mountaineering to come out and share their knowledge with the group.  This school serves as a steppingstone for perspective climbers to see how they feel at altitude and test out their equipment. Feel free to come out, ask lots of questions, meet and climb with the expedition leaders of Summitclimb.

To take advantage of this great opportunity, download the application for the glacier school.  Fill out the application as soon as possible and send it back to us to be put on the waiting list.  We will let you know 60 days before the school begins if there is room.


  • Six days climbing with expedition leaders, including senior leader, Dan Mazur;
  • Learn self rescue, rope travel, snow anchors, and crampon technique;
  • Use of group climbing equipment, like ropes, anchors, and tents;
  • The use of Summitclimb’s stoves and cooking pots;
  • An attempt on a 4000 metre/13,000 foot glaciated peak;
  • The ability to ask as questions to experienced professionals and share your knowledge.


  • Transportation to and from Olympia Washington;
  • Permits, National Forest entry fee, or camping fees (less than fifty dollars);
  • Food and meals while on the mountain and in town;
  • Travel insurance, mountain rescue, accident coverage;
  • Personal equipment and glacier travel equipment (please see the EQUIPMENT LIST for details). We plan on going through the equipment list on our Seattle shopping day.
Please ask any questions regarding cost at
Winter Glacier School Itinerary

Proposed Itinerary:

  • Monday, 1 January : Arrive at my house in Olympia; sleep on floor, or go to a motel. The choice is yours.
  • Tuesday, 2 January : Gear check and equipment hire/rental and purchase;
  • Wednesday, 3 January :Travel to mountain, ski/snowshoe in and set up camp;
  • Thursday, 4 January : Winter glacier school activities day;
  • Friday, 5 January : Winter glacier school activities day;
  • Saturday, 6 January : Departure from mountain, return to Olympia; take showers, sleep on floor, or go to a motel. The choice is yours.
  • Sunday, 7 January : Return flight home.

Itinerary notes:
  • All members must participate in the full 8-day itinerary. It is not possible to arrive later, nor is it possible to depart earlier.
  • We are not able to accommodate people who wish to arrive in Seattle earlier, nor are we able to help those who wish to stay later. If you choose to make a longer trip, you will be "on your own". We ask that you arrive at Daniel Mazur's house in Seattle during reasonable hours, that is, before Midnight on Saturday.
Winter Glacier School Leadership & Staff

Leadership: The expedition leaders of the Winter Glacier School have teaching experience on all seven continents, have organized multiple Himalayan expeditions, and are happy to share knowledge with people of all abilities. During the glacier school, leaders will be close at hand to help you with alpine cooking, building a comfortable home in the snow, explaining the technical mountaineering skills, and answering any questions that you are curious about. Throughout the school, you will be climbing with the leaders of Summitclimb, but you will also be close to some experienced climbers that have come out to join us as well. With so much knowledge around even the most experienced of climbers are bound to get new useful tricks out of the school.

Dan Mazur, senior expedition leader, will be leading the glacier school. Dan is a relaxed, friendly and organized person, and a highly-skilled professional with years of experience in getting people to the summit and back down with the highest attention to safety. He has been leading and organizing successful and safe overland, trekking, and mountaineering expeditions for 20 years, to Tibet, Nepal, Tadjikistan, Pakistan, India, China, Africa, and North America.

Winter Glacier School Personal & Team Equipment


  • Climbing harness. A lightweight alpine harness, no need for extra padding;
  • One 3 metre/ 10 foot sling and three 2 metre/ 6 foot slings. This is made from 6-7 milimetre accessory cord or 11/16 inch tubular nylon webbing;
  • Figure 8/ Abseil belay device;
  • One large ascender. Ascender should have a handle large enough to grab while wearing heavy mittens;
  • 2 locking carabiners. 1 large and 1 small;
  • 4 regular carabiners;
  • Ice axe with leash. Mountaineering axe, no need for technical ice climbing axes. Axes can be rented / hired for ten dollars for the first day and four dollars each additional day at Second Ascent, during our Seattle shopping day;
  • Crampons. Any normal mountaineering crampon will work, but please make sure that your crampons fit on the boots you will be wearing before the school begins. Crampons can be rented / hired for 12 dollars for the first day and 5 dollars each additional day at Second Ascent, during our Seattle shopping day;
  • Helmet. A sturdy helmet for climbing, not a bike helmet. Helmets can be rented / hired for 6 dollars for the first day and 3 dollars for each additional day at Second Ascent during our Seattle shopping day;
  • Trekking poles (Optional). Adjustable poles make it easier to carry a pack through the snow. These can be rented / hired for 6 dollars the first day and 3 dollars each additional day at Second Ascent on our Seattle shopping day;
  • Cooking stove (optional). We will have stoves available if you do not have one. Please provide your own fuel for cooking;
  • Tent (optional). You may choose to use our expedition tents if you do not have one. If you are using your own tent please make sure that it is a four season tent suitable for the high altitude environment. back to top

Upper Body-

  • Two cotton t-shirts. For when we are shopping in Seattle and checking equipment in Olympia;
  • 1 polypropylene t-shirt. For warm days on the mountain;
  • 1 long sleeve polypropylene shirt. Lightweight shirt used as a base layer as we ascend;
  • 1 polar fleece or warm pullover. Medium weight layer to wear as things get colder;
  • 1 polar fleece jacket/ soft shell/ micro-puff jacket. A heavier insulating layer worn over the first two layers, but not a full parka;
  • Waterproof/ breathable jacket with hood. Seattle is in a wet climate, so please make sure your jacket is strong enough to handle heavy rain and sturdy enough to not rip when sliding on ice;
  • Down insulated puff jacket / parka with a hood. A heavy jacket worn on chilly days in camp, or during rests on summit day. We recommend a hooded jacket that can pack easily. back to top


  • One pair of lightweight poly-liner gloves. These gloves will be worn when tying knots, cooking, or dealing with equipment;
  • One pair leather/ waterproof sturdy working gloves. These will be worn when we are digging in the snow, sliding down the snow, or setting up wet tents;
  • One pair summit mittens. These will be for cold climbing conditions. They will be one waterproof over mitten covering a warm fleece inner mitten liner. They should be able to handle freezing temperatures for multiple hours.


  • A warm hat/ beanie. Either wool or synthetic. Make sure that it covers your ears;
  • Sun hat. A normal ballcap will work. Something worn on a sunny day to keep the sun out of your eyes;
  • Glacier sunglasses. Make sure that they have side shields that protect your entire eye while on bright snow;
  • Headlamp. Needs to be bright enough to safely follow a path throughout the night and attach comfortably to your head over a hat. Please bring extra batteries;
  • Face shield/ balaclava. Something to cover your face and keep it warm during windy conditions on the summit ascent;
  • Bandana, buff, or headscarf (optional). Useful for dusty or sunny conditions;
  • Ski goggles (optional). Worn during cold windy conditions high on the mountain. back to top

Lower Body-

  • Cotton or synthetic underwear briefs. Bring enough to be comfortable for seven days;
  • 1 pair lightweight polypropylene or wool thermal bottoms. Worn as a base layer on cold days;
  • 1 pair medium weight or expedition weight thermal bottoms;
  • 1 pair fleece or micro-puff trousers;
  • 1 pair waterproof/ breathable trousers or bibs. Should be strong enough to stay waterproof throughout a day of rain, and strong enough to withstand sliding down hard snow. Trousers should also have full side zippers;
  • Gaiters (optional) for snowy conditions and crampon protection;
  • 1 pair walking shorts (optional). For warm days on the mountain, or approaching the mountain.

Your clothing should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks, bin-liners, or large plastic bags. back to top


  • One pair double plastic boots. Some newer models of double leather/ synthetic boots may work, but most soak through in a few days in snow. Since boots are one of the most important pieces of equipment that we use, we strongly encourage plastic boots. These can be rented for fourteen dollars for the first day and eight dollars each additional day at Second Ascent on our shopping day.
  • 1 pair trainers, running shoes, or sandals. For walking around Seattle, or taking a break in camp.
  • 2 pair medium-heavy polypropylene or wool socks. Used for the upper mountain and summit day.
  • 2 pair lightweight trekking socks. Polypropylene or wool. Used on the lower mountain.
  • 2 pair liner socks (optional). Good for avoiding blisters and keeping feet dry.
  • 1 pair down booties (optional). Good for wearing around camp.
  • 1 sleeping bag (good to -10 degrees C or 10 degrees F);
  • At least 1 closed cell foam kari-mats. If you want to bring an inflatable make sure that you also bring a puncture proof foam pad as well.
Your sleeping bags should be kept dry using waterproof stuff sacks, bin-liners, or large plastic bags. back to top

Rucksack and Travel Bags-

  • 1 internal frame rucksack (70 litres + / 4500 cubic inches +); back to top

Personal Hygiene-

  • 2 tubes of lip sun cream, or spf chap stick;
  • 1 tube sun cream. Minimum of factor 15;
  • 1 toothpaste and toothbrush;
  • 1 small bottle of hand sanitizer gel;
  • 1 bar of soap and small towel. For showering in town;
  • Other female/ male hygiene supplies;
  • 1 set of earplugs (optional) for sleeping in camp in case of snoring;
  • Hand wipes (optional) good for a travel shower or washing in camp;
  • Anti-mosquito cream (optional) in case of bugs on the lower mountain. back to top
  • Face Mask
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Disposable gloves
  • Disinfectant wipes


  • Small personal first aid kit. Small and simple is fine. Aspirin, first aid tape, plasters (band-aids), personal medications, etc. The leaders will have extensive first-aid kits, so leave behind anything extra, but do let the leaders know about any medical issues ahead of time;
  • 1 blister repair kit. Moleskin, tape, and plasters are fine;
  • 1 small bottle of water purification tablets, or filter;
  • Extra prescription glasses or contact lens supplies. Contact lens wearers, please bring glasses in case of emergency. back to top


  • A small roll of repair tape and sewing kit.  In case of small rips in personal clothing;
  • 1 compass or GPS;
  • 1 cigarette lighter or small box of matches (waterproof) for lighting stoves;
  • 1 battery powered alarm clock or watch with alarm;
  • Nylon stuff sacks for food and hygiene items. Ziploc bags are also useful;
  • 4 water bottles (1 litre).  We recommend the wide mouth Nalgene. One of these bottles is a pee bottle;
  • 1 plastic cup, mug for hot drinks, and spoon;
  • 1 small folding knife. A leatherman or swiss army knife is fine;
  • 4 large waterproof rubbish sacks;
  • Travel clothes for in town;
  • Binoculars (optional);
  • In camp entertainment (optional). Previous members have enjoyed paperback books, ipods, mp3 players, playing cards, or musical instruments for rainy days and camp relaxation time;
This is not an exhaustive list. Please submit other equipment concerns and suggestions. Thank you.

Group Equipment:

Summitclimb will provide group gear to use throughout the school. You may borrow one of our expedition tents to carry up the mountain. Participants may borrow stoves from Summitclimb, however fuel may need to be purchased. Leaders will organize climbing equipment like pickets, flukes, and ice screws to experiment with during classes.

Please submit any equipment questions or concerns to:
Winter Glacier School - Your Experience and Training

Your Experience and Training: No previous technical mountaineering experience is required for the school, but previous camping experience is necessary. Members should be comfortable living outside for the week, staying in a tent, and cooking their own food.

Since we are not allowed Sherpas, participants will carry their personal gear and pitch in with group gear as well. Stronger participants will carry more of the group gear than smaller members, but you should expect to carry around forty to fifty pounds in your rucksack. Basically, if you enjoy walking outside with a rucksack for three to six hours with twenty minute breaks thrown in, then you should have no problem on this trip.

It is important to exercise regularly 60 days before the trip begins, at least 4 days per week, in order to get in the best physical condition possible and truly enjoy the trip. Please contact us if you are at all skeptical about your fitness for this trip as we are happy to advise and explain.

Winter Glacier School - International Members Application

What questions do you have? Please ask as many questions as possible. This helps us to have a proper conversation so we can better understand one-another's expectations, so you will have a very safe, enjoyable, and successful trek. Thank you. Before completing the application forms, please be sure to carefully study the Glacier School "Questions" website for information regarding flights, team members, application forms, insurance, etcetera: Glacier School Frequently Asked Questions .

Below you should find a pdf or MS document containing the application pro forma. Are you able to read it? When all of your questions have been answered to your satisfaction, please print out the application and return it to us to hold your place in our team. Would you please just post it to us at the mailing address you will find on the form? Thank you very much. Your registration must be completed two months prior to the expedition starting date. Thank you very much.

Click here to download PDF Form for International Applicant

Click here to download the MS Word Form for International Applicants

If you do not have an Adobe PDF reader, please obtain it here

Here is a checklist of what we need to have in your file at least two months before the trip begins. We encourage you to send an electronic scan of all of the below documents, please be sure they are signed. Thank you:

[ ] Trip Registration Form (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Participant Release and Acknowledgement of Risk (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Terms and Conditions of Booking (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Signed Medical Form (part of 4 page form),
[ ] Exact photocopy of passport identification pages,
[ ] Exact photocopy of complete flight itinerary,
[ ] Proof of mountain rescue and repatriation insurance,
[ ] Proof of travel, accident, and repatriation insurance (cancellation and trip interruption insurance is advised).

Please do let us know what further questions you may have about the registration process, or anything else for that matter. Thank you.
Welcome to our team.

Here is what Brent has to say: Everyone, It was great climbing with everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. If anyone wants to climb out here in the Great Northwest in the future, contact me and I will be happy to climb with you or just get you the latest route beta. That goes for rock, snow, ice and alpine routes.

As to , I plan on joining some of their trips to Nepal and China in the future. If anyone else has these aspirations, please let me know.  Stay clipped, Brent

Here is what Stephen says: Thank you SummitClimb for the incredible experience and friendship. I can't wait to do it again. –Stephen
Here is what Harry has to say: Dear SummitClimb, Thank you very much for leading our Glacier School. I appreciate all the experience you shared with us, and your leadership on the climb. Best Regards, Harry 
Here is what Sarah has to say:  Hello Dan! I just wanted to say thank you so much for teaching me for a WEEK long... for free. It was an incredible trip, and I am so happy that I got to learn about glacier travel from you. I will sign up for one of your other trips sometime in the future:) Here are some of the pictures that I took. Sarah
Here is what Scott says: What an adventure! Thank you for your tremendous hospitality and hope to see you soon. -Scott
Here is what Lenchik has to says: Great to see the pictures from our Glacier School! The skills I learned were pretty handy on my recent climb. Thank you to SummitClimb - you are an amazing leader, role model, mentor! Highly recommend. -Lee