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.
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
Brett Ben Scott Brad Dave
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.
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.
- Backpack - Approximately 5-6000 Cu In. We'll be carrying quite a bit of gear to our camps on Adams and Rainier, you want a way to carry all of this.
- Small Additional Duffle Bag - To store items you leave behind, such as Rainier food while on Adams.
- Small Daypack - For car/airport time.
- Sleeping Bag - Rated to 20 degrees. Down or Synthetic. I will be using a synthetic one.
- Compression Bag - To shrink sleeping bag and save pack space
- Sleeping Pad - Foam or inflatable. Bring repair kit if inflatable.
- 3/4 or 4 Season Tent. Don't compromise here. Bivy Sack/Tarp combos could also work. Discuss if you have questions.
- Climbing Helmet
- Lightweight Climbing Harness
- Ice Axe (mountaineering/glacier travel)
- Trekking Poles (not optional, please bring to save your knees, we'll have big loads)
- 3 Locking Carabiners
- 20' 5-6mm Cord
Head Gear: (no, not braces)
- Warm Fleece Hat - ideally thin enough to also work under helmet.
- Balaclava or Neck Gaiter -
- Baseball Hat -
- Sunglasses - Full wrap or glacier glasses. Don't skimp here. We can help you pick.
- Goggles - Amber lenses help in mixed and stormy weather
- Headlamp - with spare batteries. The cold can really eat them up.
- Gloves (insulating) - 1-2 pairs of fleece. I bring two different weights of fleece that fit inside each other. The heavier pair should be wind/water resistant or proof.
- Gloves (shell) - Waterproof/Windproof.
- Mountaineering Boots - Plastic or leather but must be completely rigid (full shank), and insulated.
- Hiking Boots/Hiking Shoes - For Adams, Town, and airport
- Camp Shoes - Crocs work well as do Down Booties.
- Sandals - for town time and post climb foot relaxation.
- Gaiters - Knee length, gore-tex or equivalent and fit over your big boots.
- Socks - Wool or syntethic. Find ones that work for you. Need multiple pairs for trip. Liner socks are optional, some people like them, some don't. I personally don't.
- This gear should work for you over several days of climbing. Don't bring too much but have yourself covered.
- Base layers - Synthetic, long sleeve, lightweight. Ventable if possible
- Insulating Layers - have several options
- Long-sleeve lightweight shirt with collar - synthetic. To protect yourself from the sun on warm glacier practice days.
- Shell Jacket - With hood, Gore-Tex or equivalent.
- Insulated Parka ideally with hood - for stormy and cold weather.
- Street Clothes - for travel times
- Base Layers - same as above but long leg vs. long sleeved
- Insulating layer - fleece pants or equivalent
- Shell Pants - Gore-Tex, full side zip if possible.
- Lightweight synthetic pants for non-summit days but on snow still
- Hiking Shorts
- Street Clothes
Other gear to have:
- Sunscreen and lip protection. Bring spares.
- Utensils, cup, bowl
- 2-3 quart sized water bottle, wide mouth. Hydration bladders are fine but can freeze so still have 2 bottles with you.
- Several Large Garbage bags and zip-locks for keeping things dry
- Toiletries - toothbrush, deoderant, etc.
- Bio-degradable toilet paper. We'll also be using the blue bags on Rainier.
- Ear Plugs
- Camera - if you're into that sort of thing, spare batteries/memory cards.
- Personal Medical supplies - first aid kit (especially for blisters) and any prescription/non-prescription items
- Water Purification Source
- Stove - per cook group
- Fuel Bottle (we'll get fuel in Tacoma)
- Cooking Pots
- Cooking Utensils
- Reading Materials
- Stuff sacks for organizing gear
- Knife/Leatherman (put in checked luggage, not carry on).
Click here to see my trip Log...
Click here to see my photo gallery from the climb...