Alpine Climbing: Tetons vs Baker

It’s all alpine climbing, so what’s the difference?

This Summer Chicks will be offering two alpine climbing clinics. The term alpine climbing is very vague. This can mean anything from walking on snow to vertical rock climbing and everything in between. Let’s explore the difference between the Grand Teton and Mt Baker alpine climbing programs so you can decide which one is best for you.

All of the Chicks Climbing programs are here to help you reach your greater climbing goals. If you want to climb volcanos in far off lands, or big glaciated peaks in the Himalaya, our alpine courses will give you the skills you need to get to the summit. Be sure to join us this summer to become an independent alpine climber. The Mountains are calling you!

alpine climbing tetonsThe Teton Alpine Program is based in Grand Teton National Park just outside of Jackson, Wyoming. The curriculum will focus on the skills one must have to climb the Grand Teton or any other alpine rock objective.

The goal is to learn the skills needed to assess terrain, travel on steep snow an  low angle to steep alpine rock.



mt baker alpine climbingThe Mount Baker Program is based in the North Cascades in Washington State. The curriculum will focus on skills needed to climb glaciated peaks. Mt Baker is the third highest peak in Washington and it’s an active stratovolcano with a summit elevation of 10,781ft.

The goal is to learn how to travel safely on low angle ice, snow and glaciated terrain. Including skills like glacier camping, crampon use, navigation, steep snow climbing and crevasse rescue.




lower saddle grand teton


The Teton Alpine Basecamp will spend a couple of nights in the Exum Hut at the saddle below the Grand Teton. The hut is located at approximately 11,000 ft. The day starts in the valley floor and rises into Garnett Canyon. The hike to this hut is about 7.5 miles long with an altitude gain of 5000 ft. Your pack will be between 30-40 lbs.

The Teton program utilizes the Exum hut, that is stocked with sleeping bags, sleeping pads and all the needed cooking gear.



mt baker basecampThe Mount Baker Basecamp may be on the glacier, depending on the snow levels. The camp is located between 6,500- 7,000 ft. The hike to camp is about 4-5 hours, and your pack will be between 50-60 lbs. You must carry everything you need for the week on your back.

The Mount Baker program is quite different. You carry everything you need in your packs. Everyone must dig camp into the snow, including your kitchen shelter.





If we compare the climbing on the two mountains, we can see that they are very different. Technically, both the Tetons and the North Cascades have glaciers. However, the crevasses (giant cracks on and underneath the surface of the snow) in the Cascades present a different set of skills to navigate safely through the terrain as a member of a roped team.

teton headwallThe Grand Teton requires steep snow climbing skills and the ability to rock climb in mountain boots. The Teton Alpine Climbing Program will have more emphasis on climbing alpine rock which is accessed via shorter stretches of glaciated terrain.







mt baker glacierMount Baker requires steep snow climbing and glacier travel skills to reach the summit. The Baker clinic will focus on glacier travel skills, including navigation, terrain selection and crevasse rescue.