TripsView All

Ski & Ride

Custom Ski & Ride Trip

Baker Backcountry Skiing and Riding

Mount Baker Ski Descent

Fortune Peak Huts Backcountry Skiing

North Cascades Ski Mountaineering

North Cascades Ski Traverse

Patagonia Volcano Ski Descents

Rock

Custom Rock Trip

Mt. Erie

Vesper

Alpine

Custom Alpine Trip

Mount Baker Easton Glacier

Mount Baker Coleman Deming

Mount Baker North Ridge

Shuksan Sulphide

Shuksan Fisher Chimneys

West Ridge of Forbidden

Ice Cap Slam

Olympus

Glacier Peak

Vesper

Pickets Traverse

Eldorado East Ridge

Ruth & Icy

Dorado Needle

CoursesView All

Ski & Ride

Custom Ski & Ride Course

Intro to Backcountry Skiing and Riding

Steep Ski Mountaineering

Glaciated Ski Mountaineering

Rock

Custom Rock Course

Gym to Crag

Learn to Lead

Intro to Big Wall

Anchor Building

SPI Course

SPI Assessment

Alpine

Custom Alpine Course

Glacier Mountaineering

Crevasse Rescue

Anchor Building

Avalanche

Custom Avalanche Course

AIARE Level 1

AIARE Level 2

Fortune Peak Huts AIARE 2

AIARE Rescue Course

Avalanche Alumni Mentorship Days

About Us

Our Mission

Our Team

Our Offerings

Our Partners

Our

Mission

Cascade Mountain Ascents is a trade name of Bellingham Mountain Guides, LLC, a worker-owned mountain guiding collective. Our mission is to provide high-quality, customizable trips and industry-leading education in the North Cascades and beyond.

We seek to cultivate a caring community of guides, guests, students, and partners who share a love of mountains and are dedicated to being stewards of these landscapes.

Meet the team

The Collective Difference

Cascade Mountain Ascents is a values-driven, worker-owned mountain guiding collective based in Bellingham, WA. At our core, we’re friends who love the mountains and want to make a sustainable career of sharing them with others.

As a collective, we are a democratic workplace where decisions, responsibilities, and profits are shared equitably among members. Worker ownership makes for resilient and competitive companies that center worker, community, and customer benefit.

Our strength is in our members. Many of the lessons we’ve learned in the mountains—collaboration, being adaptable, and managing uncertainty—are foundational to how we operate. We know that businesses and communities thrive when each member’s voice, skills, and talents are respected and supported, so we implement a business structure that does just that. This means that we prioritize high-quality training, building institutional knowledge through worker retention, and professional development opportunities for our members, so that we can provide stellar mountain experiences for you.

Come see what the Collective Difference is all about!

Mike Elges

Mike grew up in a small Colorado town at 9500ft surrounded by mountains. At 18, a passion for snowboarding and desire to stay away from a “real job” landed him at Colorado Mountain College pursuing a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership. During this time, he discovered climbing and joined a community of people pursuing mountain craft as a profession and way of life. 

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Mike Elges

Mike grew up in a small Colorado town at 9500ft surrounded by mountains. At 18, a passion for snowboarding and desire to stay away from a “real job” landed him at Colorado Mountain College pursuing a degree in Outdoor Recreation Leadership. During this time, he discovered climbing and joined a community of people pursuing mountain craft as a profession and way of life. His early career was spent guiding rock climbing and teaching environmental education in Colorado and New Hampshire. Over the years, climbing and skiing has taken Mike all over the lower 48, Alaska, Canada and Peru.

In 2016, Mike moved to Washington to start a new chapter in his guiding and climbing career among the glaciated summits of the PNW. Bellingham Washington is home and he and his wife have no intention of going anywhere. In addition to working as a fully certified IFMGA/American Mountain Guide in the winter, spring and summer seasons, Mike owns and operates a seasonal business in the fall, Northern Lights Holiday & Event Lighting. This “side hustle” has been a key ingredient in his success as a mountain guide, allowing him work year-round close to home and helping to fund professional development courses with the AMGA & AIARE.

Certifications:
IFMGA Mountain Guide
AMGA Certified Ski Guide
AMGA Certified Rock Guide
AMGA Certified Alpine Guide
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
AIARE Course Instructor
AIARE PRO 2
Leave No Trace Trainer

Zack McGill

Zack grew up in Durango, CO and began venturing into the mountains of the North and South San Juans at an early age. He studied Elementary Education and Communication at the University of Colorado in Boulder and worked for the Colorado Outward Bound School for 7 years – leading long expeditions (15-52 days) throughout the Southwest and Alaska.
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Zack McGill

Zack grew up in Durango, CO and began venturing into the mountains of the North and South San Juans at an early age. He studied Elementary Education and Communication at the University of Colorado in Boulder and worked for the Colorado Outward Bound School for 7 years – leading long expeditions (15-52 days) throughout the Southwest and Alaska. Colorado was where he began his guiding career working for several small guiding operations as well as the Colorado Mountain School before moving to Bellingham, WA in the spring of 2017 to work for Baker Mountain Guides. The North Cascades are home now and he’s not going anywhere. 7 months out of the year, you can find him on skis teaching avalanche courses, ski guiding, or dreaming of shredding pow in between rain events. The remaining months, he works as a guide and instructor for everything from alpine rock to glacier mountaineering in the Cascades.

Certifications:
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
AIARE Course Leader
AIARE PRO 2
AMGA Certified Ski Guide
AMGA Certified SPI
AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide
AMGA Apprentice Alpine Guide
Leave No Trace Trainer

Alyssa Young

Alyssa grew up in Northern California and now calls the North Cascades her home. She is a dedicated backcountry skier and has worked throughout the West as an avalanche educator, outdoor educator, and naturalist. As the Operations Manager at CMA, she works closely with guides and guests to support stellar experiences in the mountains.

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Alyssa Young

Alyssa grew up in Northern California and now calls the North Cascades her home. She is a dedicated backcountry skier and has worked throughout the West as an avalanche educator, outdoor educator, and naturalist. As the Operations Manager at CMA, she works closely with guides and guests to support stellar experiences in the mountains. She’s jazzed on employee ownership and democratic workplaces, and how these structures can underlie excellent outdoors programming. 

Alyssa was introduced to the snow and avalanche world at Prescott College, where she dove headlong into the fields of Environmental Studies, Adventure Education, and Cultural and Regional Studies. She loves the multifaceted nature of avalanche education and guiding and is constantly learning about how people relate to community and place and through mountain travel.

Certifications:
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
AIARE Course Instructor
AIARE PRO 1
AMGA Alpine Skills Course
Leave No Trace Trainer

Phil Straub

Hailing from New England, Phil spent the last 16 years pursuing life, research, and work in the mountains. He’s lived in Montana, Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, California, Argentina and now Washington learning about these mountain ranges through backcountry travel, mountain guiding, and scientific research.
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Phil Straub

Hailing from New England, Phil spent the last 16 years pursuing life, research, and work in the mountains. He’s lived in Montana, Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, California, Argentina and now Washington learning about these mountain ranges through backcountry travel, mountain guiding, and scientific research. He worked for 7 years with Prescott College instructing avalanche and alpine climbing courses and taught for numerous avalanche centers and schools around the West. His travels also include extensive research in the mountains, focusing on snow science, meteorology and snow hydrology. These days you’ll find Phil seeking out fresh ski lines, splitter cracks, or pouring over weather models trying his best to negotiate with the atmosphere

Certifications:
Wilderness First Responder/CPR
AIARE Course Leader
AIARE PRO 2
AMGA Assistant Ski Guide
AMGA Assistant Alpine Guide
AMGA Apprentice Rock Guide
Leave No Trace Master Educator
Check out our offerings
Trips
Courses

We are lucky to work
with some great partners

Backcountry Essentials

Since 2006, Backcountry Essentials has been Bellingham’s premier ski and outdoor specialty shop. We’re proud to be partnered with the most professional, friendly, and downright good-looking crew in the outdoor retail biz. Gear Up. Go Play.

Check out Backcountry Essentials >

Green Mountain Physical Therapy

Injuries happen. When they do, we trust Green Mountain Physical Therapy to provide customized physical therapy assessments and treatments targeted at getting us back doing what we love… being in the mountains with y’all!

Check out Green Mountain Physical Therapy >

Traverse Equipment

As guides, we see a lot of equipment malfunctions and broken gear. We’re psyched to partner with Traverse Equipment to provide inclusive ski specific repair kits that can handle whatever unfortunate accidents life throws our way.

Check out Traverse Equipment >

Global Rescue

Medical and security emergencies happen. When they do, we rely on Global Rescue to provide integrated medical, security, travel risk, and crisis response services to our travelers worldwide.

Check out Global Rescue >

Folkrm

Folkrm makes backcountry specific, long grip, poles that are the perfect tool for the human powered chairlift. As mountain professionals, we're psyched to partner with the best in the biz to make uphill simplified.

Check out Folkrm

Gearhouse

CMA is excited to patner with Gearhouse to offer in-person, evening classroom sessions for AIARE Level 1 Courses in Seattle. Gearhouse members can sign up at a discounted rate and have access to member perks including lodging, equipment rentals, and a carpool.

Check out Gearhouse

Fortune Peak Huts

We're SO excited to partner with Fortune Peak Huts to provide four day hut trips and courses out of two weatherports and a barrel sauna located in the Upper Teanaway. What's your fortune? Let's find out!

Check out Fortune Peak Huts

Evergreen Strength

We're all about functional fitness and cross training in order to avoid injury and have the endurance, agility, and strength to do the activities we love.  Evergreen's in person and online programs keep us operating at a high level.

Check out Evergreen Stregth

Cascade Cooperatives

Cascade Cooperatives promotes local and emerging cooperatives in Whatcom and Skagit counties and educates the community about the cooperative business model.

Check out Cascade Cooperatives

US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

The United States Federation of Worker Cooperatives (USFWC) is the national grassroots membership organization for worker cooperatives and democratic workplaces. Our mission is to build a thriving ecosystem for worker-owned and controlled businesses – and their cooperative leaders– to power movements for racial justice and economic democracy.

Check out US Federation of Worker Cooperatives

Contact us

Operations@cascademountainascents.com
(360) 207-1650

Join the team!

We currently have no full time positions available. For more information on part-time positions as well as guest guiding opportunities for qualified guides, click the button below!