Backcountry 3.0

1 Day in California, Lake Tahoe / (Skill level: Intermediate)

Price per person

$225
  • Next Available: Feb 06, 2021 -
  • Upcoming: Feb 20, 2021
  • Mar 06, 2021
  • Mar 20, 2021
  • Apr 03, 2021
  • Apr 17, 2021
  • May 01, 2021

About this trip

The third part in our three-part Intro to Backcountry course series, this course is designed to be your formal introduction to ski mountaineering principles and practices. This course can taken as a stand-alone option, but is designed to be taken in conjunction with our Backcountry 1.0 and 2.0 courses. In this course, you’ll learn advanced backcountry skills on how to safely approach steep lines while adding non-standard tools like ice axe, crampons and harnesses to your touring tool kit. Both skiers and splitboarders are welcome in this course. This is an advanced level course, please see the preparation section before reserving.

Overview

  • skill level

    Intermediate

  • Duration

    1 Day

Backcountry 3.0 is a day-long, in-depth introduction to ski mountaineering principles, techniques and skills. This course is designed for backcountry skiers and splitboarders who are interested in exploring steeper, higher and more exposed lines.

Ski mountaineering is the next step for backcountry enthusiasts who are looking to get farther out from the trailhead, while having the tool kit to tackle steeper slopes.

This course is the third act in our three-part Intro to Backcountry series. Please see Backcountry 1.0 and Backcountry 2.0 for descriptions of the previous courses.

Location

This course will take place on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe, within the Tahoe National Forest. We have many trailhead options at our disposal and your guide will pick the location with the best conditions for the day. Alpenglow operates in partnership with the Tahoe National Forest and Squaw Valley | Alpine Meadows.

What to Expect

Skiers and splitboarders in this intro to ski mountaineering course should expect to get approach, assess, and descend technical terrain with various hazards present. Your guide will be hands on, teaching and coaching you through lessons on rope technique, ski cramponing, and self arrest scenarios.

Each morning starts off with a safety meeting with your guide and a gear check to make sure everyone has what they need for the day. Depending on the zone, we’ll either tour right out of our offices, or take a short drive to a trailhead.

Your guide will come prepared with a defined itinerary for the day, but you’ll have the opportunity to shape the day depending on your coursemate’s goals.

Who Can Participate

Advanced skiers or riders who have taken both our Backcountry 1.0 course, Backcountry 2.0 course and also have 5-10 days of backcountry experience are welcome to join. Skiers and riders who have not taken our courses but have more than 25 days of backcountry experience are also welcome. Course participants must be competent in a variety of terrain and snow conditions and must be able to link turns on ungroomed runs while maintaining control. This is comparable to skiing or riding ungroomed black diamond terrain confidently.

Skiers or riders 12-16 years old can join us with a parent. 16 years and over are able to join without accompaniment.

Skills Covered:

-Steep skiing techniques

-Basic snow climbing, using ice axe and crampons

-Basic rope techniques for steep ground and glacial travel

-Use of ski crampons

 

Alpenglow Expeditions operates under a special use permit from the Tahoe, Inyo and Eldorado National Forests. This institution is an equal opportunity provider. 

Preparation

  • Pre-Requisites

    Advanced skiers or riders who have taken both our Backcountry 1.0 course, Backcountry 2.0 course and also have 5-10 days of backcountry experience are welcome to join. Skiers and riders who have not taken our courses but have more than 25 days of backcountry experience are also welcome.

  • Fitness

    Excellent physical fitness is required. Skiers and splitboarders must be able to hike for many hours at a time while carrying a pack.

  • Technical Experience

    Skiers and splitboarders must be competent in backcountry travel, able to link turns in a variety of terrain and snow conditions.

    • 8:00am — Meet & Greet

      Meet your guide, and get an overview of the day.

    • 8:30am-12:00pm — Morning Skills Session

      Starting with the basics, we gradually add new skills and techniques to the table.

    • 12:00pm-12:30pm — Lunch

      In between the morning and afternoon sessions we'll take a break for some much needed calories.

    • 12:30pm-4:00pm — Afternoon Skills Session

      Building on the skills of the morning, we will enter demanding terrain and get some hands on practice.

      • Ski/ Splitboard Equipment

      • Skis w/ Touring Bindings

        A lightweight touring ski with touring bindings. Our guides suggest something between 95mm and 110mm underfoot. Keep in mind that extremely lightweight boards are great on the uphill, but can prove challenging in variable conditions. Recommended Skis: Blizzard Zero G 105 Skis Recommended Bindings: Dynafit Speed Radical

      • Ski Touring Boots

        These need to be a touring specific boot with walk mode, and a rubber sole. Typically sized a bit larger than your regular alpine boot, and light weight is a huge plus. Be sure to try many pairs on to find the right fit; it can make or break a day in the mountains! Recommended: Tecnica Zero G Tour Pro or Zero G Tour Scout

      • Skins

        Many options are available, and are often comparable. Most important is to ensure your skins are trimmed properly for the ski you will be touring with. Skins with a secure tail clip are preferred. Recommended for Skis: Black Diamond Ascension Nylon STS Recommended for Splitboards: Black Diamond Ascension Splitboard STS

      • Ski/Splitboard Poles

        Adjustable ski poles with powder baskets. Recommended: Black Diamond Expedition 2 or Expedition 3 Poles

      • Splitboard

        A splitboard that you are comfortable riding in a variety of conditions. Recommended: Jones Solution Splitboard

      • Splitboard Bindings

        Splitboard bindings are required for uphill travel. Be sure to adjust the straps to your boots before using. Recommended: Spark R&D Arc Bindings

      • Snowboard Boots

        The same boots you wear at the resort are great for your splitboard. Be sure they're comfortable, backcountry touring means long days in your boots! Recommended: Burton Tourist Snowboard Boots

      • Backcountry Touring Pack

        Internal frame pack that is between 30 and 40 liters and is designed to carry skis or a splitboard. Either purchase a matching pack cover, or use garbage bags as liners. Recommended: Black Diamond Cirque 35 or 45 Pack

      • Shovel

        A lightweight metal avalanche rescue shovel. Extendable handle is recommended. Recommended: Black Diamond Transfer 3 Shovel

      • Avalanche Transceiver

        A digital transceiver that is simple to use or that you are extremely comfortable using. Recommended: Black Diamond Recon BT Avalanche Beacon

      • Probe

        A strong, lightweight avalanche probe, 260-300cm. Recommended: Black Diamond QuickDraw Tour Probe 280

      • Ski Mountaineering Gear (Available for Rent)

      • Locking Carabiner (2)

        Lightweight small carabiners are best. Recommended: Petzl Attache

      • Ski/Splitboard Crampons

        While these are optional, they are strongly recommended by our guides. These will be used on early spring days when the snow is often icy on the way up before the conditions transition. Many bindings accept a compatible crampon made by the manufacturer. Recommended: Dynafit Ski Crampons

      • Mountaineering Crampons

        Steel crampons with anti-balling plates are required (so that snow does not build-up in the base of your foot). Make sure that crampons have a heel bail. Crampons are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Black Diamond Sabretooth Crampons

      • Ice Axe - Ski Mountaineering

        A small, light weight ice axe designed for ski mountaineering. Typically between 45cm and 55cm. Recommended: Petzl Ride

      • Harness

        Must have belay loop, gear loops and adjustable leg loops so that you can layer up underneath it. Easy to pack, lightweight + comfortable. Recommended: Petzl Altitude *Harnesses are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow expeditions on a first come, first serve basis.

      • Apparel

      • Hard Shell Jacket

        A lightweight, waterproof and breathable jacket WITH A HOOD that can withstand extreme weather conditions. Make sure you have pit-zips and if you are using an old jacket, re-waterproof it. Recommended: Eddie Bauer BC Freshline Jacket

      • Hard Shell Pants

        Your waterproof bottom layer for extreme weather days. Make sure you have water-resistant zippers, crampon patches + good pockets. Recommended: Black Diamond Sharp End Pants

      • Lightweight Top

        Ultra-light base layer that effectively wicks moisture away from your body and is breathable. Quick-dry is important as well. One light colored shirt is recommended for extremely sunny days. The new wool blends are also an option. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution Short-Sleeve T-Shirt

      • Synthetic Top

        A simple, lightweight synthetic jacket. This item is good for layering systems and the Primaloft keeps you warm when wet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer IgniteLite Stretch Reversible

      • Warm Layer

        A polarguard or fleece jacket. This is your mid layer that will be worn over your baselayer most of the trip. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Cloud Layer Pro 1/4 Zip or Patagonia R1 Jacket

      • Long Sleeve Base Layer

        A poly-pro mid-layer that you will never take off. Fitted, light- weight and quick drying. Make sure it is long enough to tuck-in and we recommend zipper collars for more ventilation. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Resolution IR 1/4 Zip

      • Base Layer Bottoms

        Fitted and quick drying. This piece will be a base-layer that will get you through a wide range of temperatures. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Midweight FreeDry Merino Hybrid Baselayer Pants

      • Heavyweight Gloves

        These gloves should be full GORE-TEX®, with a removable fleece liner (so you can take the liner out and dry it at night). These gloves are used at higher altitude and are need to keep your hands dry, and warm. Over the cuff style is desired. Recommended: Black Diamond Guide Glove

      • Lightweight Gloves

        All-around gloves for mountaineering, backcountry skiing, and hiking. These gloves (and similar options) are warm, wind-resistant, durable and have a sure grip. You will rarely take these gloves off. They should be snug-fitting, and have some sort of reinforced palm. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Mountain Glove

      • Ski Socks

        Your everyday ski sock, good for ski tours and day hikes. NO COTTON. Recommended: Eddie Bauer Guide Pro Merino Wool Ski Socks

      • Accessories

      • Helmet

        Easily adjustable lightweight helmet that fits with hat and Balaclava. Make sure this is a climbing-specific helmet. *Climbing helmets are also available to rent at no charge from Alpenglow Expeditions on a first come, first serve basis. Recommended: Petzl Meteor Helmet

      • Beanie

        A comfortable, warm well-fitting hat that covers your ears. Make sure that one of your hats fits under a helmet. Recommended: Eddie Bauer First Ascent Beanie

      • Hat

        Bring your favorite baseball hat for shelter from the sun. No white under the brim - the reflection off of it from the sun is blinding. Recommended: Alpenglow 5-Panel

        $25.00
      • Sunglasses

        Must have dark lenses. Minimal light should come in below, above, or around the sides of the lenses.“Wrap” style is best. Ventilation is important and a retainer strap is very useful (Chums or Croakies). Recommended: Revoi Guide II

      • Goggles

        These will be worn on stormy or windy days. Make sure you are getting a snug fit with lenses for bright sun. Ventilation and anti-fog features are desired. Recommended: Smith I/O

      • 1L Nalgene (2)

        Two 1 Liter Wide Mouth Nalgene bottles. Recommended: Nalgene 1 L wide mouth

    • What is your cancellation policy?

    • What sort of experience is needed for Backcountry 3.0?

      Advanced skiers or riders who have taken both our Backcountry 1.0 course, Backcountry 2.0 course and also have 5-10 days of backcountry experience are welcome to join. Skiers and riders who have not taken our courses but have more than 25 days of backcountry experience are also welcome.

    • Can I customize a day for my group?

      Yes!

      A large portion of our business is designed around custom adventures. Booking a private day gives you the freedom to tailor the day around your goals, pace, and group size. Whether you want to go for max vert gain avalanche awareness, work on backcountry travel techniques, or just explore new terrain, it’s up to you!

    • What gear do I need to bring?

      In general, your gear for the day will be very similar to a day of skiing in the resort, but here are a few key pieces that are unique to the backcountry and crucial for the day –

      A hat and pair of sunglasses (These come in handy on the hike up)

      Sunscreen

      Water and snacks (Our guides recommend between 1-2L of water depending on your intake)

      Lighter, more breathable layer options than a typical resort layering system. An additional light pair of gloves is preferred for uphill travel

      Ski poles with powder baskets, or a pair of collapsable poles for splitboarding. (We have these available at no extra charge if you need them)

      A backpack, and any avalanche rescue gear you may own. (Our guides recommend packs around 20-30L)

      **Please give us a call if you have any questions about what to bring, or if your gear will be appropriate for the day.

    • Is it safe?

      While no outdoor adventure can be completely free of risk without losing the essence of the activity, hiring a professional guide is a fantastic way to manage and mitigate this risk. Activities like skiing and climbing have what we call “inherent risk”, which can be defined as a risk that cannot be completely mitigated by a professional. That is part of playing in the mountains, we encourage you to reach out to the office if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

Ben Mitchell

Ben has been in love with the mountains from a young age. He began hiking and skiing with his family and quickly decided he never wanted to stop. After finishing university in Portland, OR Ben moved back to Washington State and began guiding on Mt. Rainier and around the Cascades. For the next many years he followed the seasons, skiing, climbing and pursuing the art of human flight through out the world. He has made expeditions into both polar circles, skied first descents in Afghanistan and climbed throughout the Americas and Europe. When not looking forward to the next adventure he thoroughly enjoys roasting coffee, reading and taking his dog out for walks.

Ben is an IFMGA/AMGA mountain guide, Certified Level III Avalanche Professional, and Wilderness First Responder.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Tim Dobbins

With notable first descents in the Alps, Tim Dobbins represents Alpenglow’s cutting edge guiding philosophy providing only the best guides for every trip and expedition.

Growing up in Oregon, Tim started out skiing at the young age of 4 years old. Tim grew up ski racing for 9 years before he moved on to backcountry skiing in Aspen, Colorado. He spent 4 years working as ski patrol at Snowmass Ski Resort.

Tim moved to Chamonix in the mid-’90s where he spent 6 seasons skiing and climbing while studying French. Tim says that Chamonix is where he really started learning how to ski tour, rock climb, ice climb and eventually began skiing the steepest lines he could find.

Examples of those steep lines were the North-East face of Les Courtes, Couloir Barbey from Aiguille D’Argentiere, Couloir Couturier from L’Aiguille Verte, Couloir du Diable on Mont Blanc du Tacul, East face of the Matterhorn and many, many others.

Tim has spent the last 10 years guiding and instructing in rock, ice, alpine, and skiing. He is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, and lives on Donner Lake in Truckee with his wife Gisele, sweet daughter Manue and son Matisse.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Logan Talbott

co-owner / chief guide

Logan has been guiding professionally for over a decade in the disciplines of Rock, Alpine and Ski Mountaineering. When not out guiding, Logan spends time in the office helping the team with the day-to-day operations of the business. From one day ascents of El Capitan to big Alpine climbs in the Himalaya, from ski descents on Denali to backyard ski tours in Lake Tahoe, he can’t help but smile when out running around the hills. Logan is an AMGA/IFMGA mountain guide, an Avalanche course leader with AIARE, as well as a wilderness EMT. In addition to guiding, Logan has extensive experience in mountain rescue, having worked for rescue teams in both Yosemite and Denali National Parks, and volunteering locally for Tahoe Nordic SAR. When not out in the hills, he lives in Truckee, CA with his lovely wife Lynette and daughter Maggie.

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

Adrian Ballinger

Adrian Ballinger is one of the USA’s premier high-altitude mountain guides, and the only American guide to have both AMGA/IFMGA guide’s certification (one of roughly 150 in the USA) and more than a fifteen summits of 8,000 meter peaks (17 total, including 8 summits of Mt. Everest, 1 without supplemental oxygen, as well as an ascent of K2 without supplemental oxygen). As founder of Alpenglow Expeditions, Adrian has been guiding full-time for over twenty years and has led over 130 international climbing expeditions on 6 continents.

In 2011 he, along with 2 Sherpa partners, became the first people to summit three 8,000 meter peaks in only 3 weeks (Everest twice and Lhotse once). He is also the first person to ski Manaslu (the 8th tallest mountain in the world) from its summit, and the first American to successfully ski two 8,000-meter peaks. These personal successes are combined with Adrian’s passion for guiding and teaching others. Adrian has successfully led more than 100 clients to the summits of Everest, Lhotse (the 4th tallest mountain in world), Cho Oyu (6th tallest) and Manaslu (8th tallest).

Whether on skis, in rock shoes, or mountain boots, Adrian thrives on sharing the big mountains with friends and clients, and helping them to build their skills and experience to be successful on the world’s most beautiful mountains. In the coming seasons, Adrian plans on continuing to enjoy big-mountain skiing, climbing, and guiding in the Himalaya, South America, Europe, and of course closer to home in Squaw Valley, CA. Adrian is a sponsored athlete for Eddie Bauer, La Sportiva, Blizzard, Tecnica, Hiball Energy, and Favre Leuba.

Learn more about Adrian at adrianballinger.com

Guide Certifications
  • AMGA - American Mountain Guide
  • IVBV IFMGA UIAGM - Mountain Guide

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    Backcountry 3.0

Backcountry 3.0

The third part in our three-part Intro to Backcountry course series, this course is designed to be your formal introduction to ski mountaineering principles and practices. This course can taken as a stand-alone option, but is designed to be taken in conjunction with our Backcountry 1.0 and 2.0 courses. In this course, you’ll learn advanced backcountry skills on how to safely approach steep lines while adding non-standard tools like ice axe, crampons and harnesses to your touring tool kit. Both skiers and splitboarders are welcome in this course. This is an advanced level course, please see the preparation section before reserving.