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vsigler

Ideas for a highschool mountain climb

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I am planning on taking a group of high-school students on a mountain climb next summer and am looking for ideas for a mountain/route. The students have not climbed before, but will be physically fit, versed in the basics of mountain travel, including glacier travel and safety, and will be equipped for such conditions. I am looking for a route that will provide around 4000-5000 ft of elevation gain. We will camp for two nights on the mountain, and am open to a lower and upper camp, if needed. A glacier would be nice, if for no other reason but to give the trip a true alpine feel. Rock scrambling is OK, but the group will not be able to do much more than that. I need a fresh pair of eyes to give me ideas, because what I consider reasonable might be a little too challenging. Thank you.

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You could do a loop of peaks in the Goat Rocks. Not full on glacier climbing, but you get a feel of it. It involves route finding and some scrambling but not rock climbing.

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Mount Daniel

 

Eldorado

 

Ruth Mountain

 

Mount Hinman

 

are some other alpine feeling ideas

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Above ideas are good. If you go to eldorado, make sure they have solid self belay and arrest skills. The ridge is exposed and solid snow climb skills are needed.

 

While Vesper standard route has no glacier, it is a scenic lake side camp. I saw a outward bound or a NOLS trip base camp out from that lake for lots of scrambling. You may be able to get two summits from a trip there

 

Assuming you go midweek, a trip to Boston basin would be stellar. Camp in the basin (BTW, there is a box toilet there, maybe something to think about), then then up shale via Quine sabe glacier. There is a short 4th class scramble at the top though. Maybe 20 fett of fourth class but solid granite scramble. Go mid season to avoid cornice and snow on the scramble bit. That would involve a short rap though.

 

If weather is iffy on the west side, make a trip to wash pass. You could hike up and over burgundy col to camp on the silver star glacier. Summit silver star. Very scenic.

 

Think about making it a summit on day two and then hike out on day three instead of the summit and death march on day three. Do you want them to be finished beat and exhausted or energized and desiring more?

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I would suggest you consider looking into the legal and liability side of things before you get too far into the venture as that's a significant assumption of risk on your part.

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The above points are good. But consider that anything with steep snow, glaciers, or scrambling requires very good judgment for the safety of any without climbing experience and gear.

 

I would take a cautious approach for goals. Find a summit with an alpine feel without getting over anybody's head. With a group you need to plan for the lesser fit and adventurous persons and not the rest.

 

Good luck, have fun.

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Good ideas so far. In the past I've heard of people working with/partnering with the boy scouts to get insurance. Not sure they are still doing this.

 

The above comment is spot on about not being their "teacher". Unless you have a formal club, and are insured. Risk management would be all over you.

 

Finally, it's really important to be ready to pull the plug at any moment with the whole group, or have two vehicles, and at least two leaders (with one of them designated to take any sick or lame home early, if needed). And now days, you probably need 3 in the car if they are minors.....

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Some areas, including Boston Basin and the Enchantments, have limits on group size. It may be best to avoid super popular areas and go mid-week to mitigate the impact of your group on other users and vice versa.

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Thanks for the input. Yes, lots of contingencies will be in place...no worries there. I have climbed a few of the mountains suggested, and most recently climbed Eldorado, and think that aside from the upper ridge, it's a great mountain for the group, but that last 100 feet might be a little too sketchy for these beginners. Ruth Mountain looks interesting, if for no other reason than the views of Mt. Baker and Shuksan. What about Middle- and South Sister in Oregon? Can a camp be established on the Hayden Glacier, with the possibility of getting up both mountains? I will be investigating the other suggestions, as well. Thanks for the great ideas.

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Some areas, including Boston Basin and the Enchantments, have limits on group size. It may be best to avoid super popular areas and go mid-week to mitigate the impact of your group on other users and vice versa.

 

I don't know of anywhere where group size limits are less than 12 persons/stock (am I wrong here?). Getting a weekend permit for BB or the Enchantments on the other hand.....

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Some areas, including Boston Basin and the Enchantments, have limits on group size. It may be best to avoid super popular areas and go mid-week to mitigate the impact of your group on other users and vice versa.

 

I don't know of anywhere where group size limits are less than 12 persons/stock (am I wrong here?). Getting a weekend permit for BB or the Enchantments on the other hand.....

 

Yep, 12 is what sticks in my head too. I was assuming the group would be larger, but perhaps I'm wrong.

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decades ago I had highschool aged groups on both South and Middle Sisters - glacier walks. had equivalent groups on Mt. Jefferson - add some rock scrambling to the glacier walk. if you have the time, what about Glacier Peak? Bonanza? - Silver Star? (groups have liked this one...) what are your group's priorities? remote/wilderness? - rock? - ice? - snow/glacier? I've found it useful when working with groups like this to have them - not me - decide/agree on the objective.

best of luck to you

-Haireball

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We certainly would be doing a weekday trip, so hopefully any permit issues would be somewhat alleviated by our timing. These students will not be skilled in rock climbing, but will be able to handle scrambling for sure. From feedback during presentations/discussion I've had with them about my climbing experiences, they definitely want the snow/ice alpine experience, which is why I suggested some glaciated routes. Jeremy.O mentioned Colchuck Peak above, and after looking up some TRs, it looks like it could be a really nice choice. It has a decent approach, some camps near the lake, and if we would like to go a little higher, a camp in the snow on the moraine (we would try for June so hopefully some snow will be hanging on), a glacier with what appears to be low crevasse hazard, and a little scrambling up top. It seems to have a little of everything that makes mountaineering exciting for a beginner. I don't need to make decisions for a while but Colchuck is on the short list, probably along with Ruth and Silver Star. Thank you for the input, and keep it coming for sure.

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Jeremy.O mentioned Colchuck Peak above, and after looking up some TRs, it looks like it could be a really nice choice. It has a decent approach, some camps near the lake, and if we would like to go a little higher, a camp in the snow on the moraine ...

 

Colchuck is certainly a good outing for what you are looking for. However, keep in mind the camping situation there... to camp at Colchuck Lake or anywhere else that would facilitate this trip requires permits. These permits are available through a lottery usually run early in the year (February?), and the probability of winning the lottery seems to be quite low ( < 10% seemingly based on my experience and that of everyone else I know - but maybe better for weekday). Even if you do get a permit, there is also the party size limit to consider (it is 8 for the enchantments, which is lower than most other areas where party size limits are usually 12).

 

 

Edited by ilias

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Snowking could be a great option for your criteria. It falls outside the National Park and wilderness areas so there are no permit or group size limitations. Beautiful camping up at Cyclone Lake. And a mellow glacier if you are so inclined, or you can avoid it completely and stay on a scramble up Kindy Ridge. Better yet, do a loop from Cyclone lake are go up the right side of the lake and across the glacier then come back via the ridge on the left side.

 

Great views across to Eldorado and Forbidden and everywhere else. It's doable in a long day, more enjoyable over two days, and would be super chill over three days.

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Snowking might be good if road conditions are approachable, look at Ruth MTN up north. A bit of steep heather mid point but a low angle glacier near the summit.

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Snowking could be a great option for your criteria. It falls outside the National Park and wilderness areas so there are no permit or group size limitations.

 

There are always party size restrictions in wilderness areas (Snowking, Cyclone, Found, etc. are all in the Glacier Peak Wilderness):

 

GENERAL WILDERNESS REGULATIONS

 

Maximum party-size is 12 in a group.

 

A group is any combination of people and pack and saddle animals. Dogs are not counted as part of the group size limit.

 

 

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These are all great ideas. I now have a list of at least four mountains that each could fit our objectives very well. Concerning Colchuck Peak, I am familiar with the overnight permitting process and the limit of eight people per party. Does this limit include only those camping near the lake (below tree line), or does it also include those on the glacier itself? It looks like some flat areas are present on the glacier that are suitable for camping. I still don't know how many people might go, and won't for some time, but would like to at least begin thinking about any limitations or restrictions based on the number of participants. Thanks.

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My first thought is "Don't do it". You would be opening yourself up to HUGE personal liability issues, not just with safety and injury, and especially if they are students at your school. Example: "Mr. So and So watched me pee in the snow and tried to touch my nads while he was checking my knot." Boom. You're fucked. You could easily lose your job and your livelihood. Ask any lawyer and they would say "No", unless they are a lawyer for a potential accuser and need to buy a new hot tub. I'm sure you are well intentioned and enthusiastic, most likely young and eager, but it's just not worth the risk, IMHO. Leave it to the professionals. And their multi-million dollar liability insurance policies.

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I should probably clarify a little...I am not affiliated with the school in any way, other than as a parent of kids that attend. I use the term "high school" merely to indicate the age of the participants. I have addressed the liability issues with local lawyers and they will be involved in a few contractual items, as much as they need to be, and I will absolutely have another adult with me. I have climbed with both of my sons and a few of their friends in Colorado on numerous occasions, so I am familiar with the logistics...and yes they are a bit hairy, but the trips are a blast. I certainly appreciate the concern of this forum community, as well as the helpful advice.

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Kind of a shame that we need to have a conversation about getting sued for taking a group of teenagers into the mountains. This kind of introduction from an experienced parent is how young people are supposed to get their start scrambling and exploring. If we need to leave taking high school kids scrambling to professionals we break up the community fabric of climbing. Yeah, maybe there is some unavoidable legal risk, be aware of it, but get the kids in the mountains.

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