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General Info

Mt. Rainier represents the ultimate in American alpine climbing destinations. Proximity to Sea-Tac International Airport makes Rainier among the most accessible ‘big mountain’ climbs in the world, attracting climbers from across the globe. As the most glaciated peak in the lower 48 states, Rainier has long been the premiere training ground for both professional and amateur mountaineers and is among the ‘must do’ climbs for athletes preparing for the even greater challenges of the world’s highest climbs in areas such as Alaska and the Himalayas. Climbing routes for all skill levels are found among Rainier’s 26 named glaciers and along the dramatic rock cleavers that score Rainier’s skyline.

Beginning climbers are strongly advised to obtain the local knowledge and training available from the world-class guide services offering climbing programs on Rainier. While some routes are suitable for novices under the supervision of more experienced climbers, the weather conditions and terrain on the upper slopes of Rainier can be harsh and unforgiving for those unprepared for the challenges and hardships found en route to the 14,411 foot summit.

Serious physical preparation and suitable specialized equipment are also mandatory for any attempt at scaling Rainier. Climbers must also register with Mount Rainier National Park and obtain a climbing permit for their party.

More great climbing opportunities can be found on the many lesser-known peaks in the region or nearby, including Mt. Adams, the second-highest mountain in Washington at 12,300 ft. The rocky outcroppings of the Tatoosh Range just to the south of Mt. Rainier, including classic scrambles on Pinnacle Peak, are also noteworthy and readily accessible to area visitors. These climbing options can typically be less crowded than the most popular routes during the mid-summer high season on Mt. Rainier itself and each can create a memorable experience for climbers of every skill level.

The Rainier region’s alpine climbing zones can be accessed from each of the region’s four main areas.

Guide Services

For a guided climbing experience, the following guide services are located in the Rainier region:

2015 Climbs of Mt. Rainier for a Cause

Winter storms on Mount Rainier are frequent and severe, with high winds, deep snow, and extremely poor visibility. Winter conditions generally exist from mid-September to mid-May. All parties attempting a winter ascent should be experienced in winter mountaineering, avalanche forecasting and rescue, and be familiar with the intended routes of ascent and descent. The maximum party size for winter climbing is twelve. A party size of at least four is recommended. Parking is limited to 18/20 overnight spots, some of which are reserved for groups. You are encouraged to carpool and come early to obtain your parking pass especially on the weekends.