Mount Rainier: Jan 2009

Mount Rainier, the most heavily glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, offers an exciting challenge to the mountaineer. Each year thousands of people successfully climb this 14,410 foot active volcano. Use this website to gather information on weather, Northwest Avalanche Center avalanche forecast, route conditions, avalanche information, Climbing Permits & Fees, Regulations, guide services, and other things you need to know before you climb. If you would like more information, contact Mount Rainier climbing rangers at (360) 569-6009.

Reaching the summit requires a vertical elevation gain of more than 9,000 feet over a distance of eight or more miles. Climbers must be in good physical condition and well prepared. Proper physical conditioning can offset the effects of fatigue that lead to mistakes and injuries.

Weather, snow, and route conditions can change rapidly, making the difference between a pleasant and rewarding experience or tragedy. Before beginning a climb, obtain a current weather forecast. During your climb, turn back if weather conditions deteriorate. Severe winter-like storms on the mountain are not uncommon during the summer.



The Plan

I climbed Rainier as part of a bigger 3 peak trip. Mt St Helens was the first stop and Mt Adams was the second, before attempting Rainier Peak.

Itinerary updated 6/24/09

This itinerary might vary some from actual.  We have allowed time for weather, group acclimatization and varying plans and routes.

July 18 (Day 1) Airport and Prep
Pick up everyone at SeaTac Airport 1pm.
Stop at Tacoma REI for any gear rental (such as boots) or last minute gear purchase.
Stop for dinner en-route (could also cook in camp)
Drive to climbers bivouac camp on Mount St. Helens

Meal - Dinner out or in camp

July 19 (Day 2) Mt St Helens
Climb to the rim of Mount St. Helens (8365’) via Monitor Ridge Route (Appx. 8-12 hrs)
Camp at bivouac camp again

Meal - Breakfast at camp, Lunch on trail, dinner at camp

July 20 (Day 3) Mount Adams
Travel to Cold Springs trailhead (Mount Adams)
Climb to Lunch Counter on Mt. Adams with all gear
Crampon/ice axe/rope skills practice

Meal - Breakfast at camp, Lunch on trail, dinner at Lunch Counter.

July 21 (Day 4) Mount Adams

Attempt to summit (12,276’)
Return to lunch counter

Meal - Breakfast at Lunch Counter, Lunch on trail, Dinner at Lunch Counter.

July 22 (Day 5) Mount Rainier

Drive to and camp at Paradise.  Snow skills training continued on lower flanks.

Meal - Breakfast en-route, lunch en-route or at Paradise.  Dinner at camp

July 23 (Day 6) Mount Rainier

Climb to Camp Muir

Meal - Breakfast at camp, lunch on trail, dinner at Camp Muir.

July 24 (Day 7) Mount Rainier

Attempt summit (14,410’)
Return to Camp Muir - Assess group energy for other objectives.

Meal - Breakfast at camp, lunch on trail, dinner at Camp Muir.

July 25 (Day 8) Mount Rainier
Climb down to Paradise
Return to Tacoma
Find hotel to share near airport.

Meal - Breakfast at Camp Muir, lunch on trail.  Big dinner in town to celebrate.  We've earned it.

July 26 (Day 9) Airport and home
Departure from SeaTac Airport


The Crew




Weather patterns at Mount Rainier are strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, elevation, and latitude. The climate is generally cool and rainy, with summer highs in the 60s and 70s. While July and August are the sunniest months of the year, rain is possible any day, and very likely in spring, fall, and winter.

Visitors should be aware that mountain weather is very changeable. Wet, cold weather can occur anytime of the year. Although late-July and August are generally the driest and warmest time of the year, summer can also be wet and cool. Snow will remain at the 5,000 to 8,000 feet elevation well into mid-July.

Hikers and mountain climbers should be prepared for changing weather. Pay attention to weather forecasts, both one day and long range, avalanche warnings, and special weather alerts. Have extra clothing, rain gear, and a tent for protection against storms anytime of the year. Know the weather forecast and plan your trip accordingly.

Gear List

Click here to see each of the items in more detail...

We will have 2 smaller rental cars for this trip to haul us around.  Our goal is to fit all of this in so don't overpack. Also, whenever possible bring soft sided items such as duffles.  No external frame backpacks or suitcases.

Sleeping Gear:

Technical Gear:

Head Gear: (no, not braces)

Extremities Gear:

Core Gear:

Leg Gear:

Other gear to have:

Trip Log

Click here to see my trip Log...



Click here to see my photo gallery from the climb...


"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

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