Climbing Fees Changing at Mount Rainier
Contact: Stefan Lofgren, 360-569-6010
March 15, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stefan Lofgren, 360-569-6010
CLIMBING FEES CHANGING AT MOUNT RAINIER
Mount Rainier National Park Superintendent Dave Uberuaga announces that the proposed increase in climbing fees at Mount Rainier has been approved by Pacific West Regional Director Christine Lehnertz, and is effective immediately.
Climbers will now be charged $43 for an annual climbing pass which is good through December 31 of the year it is purchased. This is a $13 increase from the previous fee of $30 which has been in effect since May, 2003.
In addition, the park is implementing a new $30 “youth” climbing pass for climbers 24 years old and younger, in support of National Park Service and Department of Interior initiatives, and in response to comments made during public meetings the park held in November and December of 2010. It is estimated that 5-10% of the total climber volume is in this age group.
The public comment process involved three public meetings held in Seattle, Tacoma and Ashford in November and December as well as one additional meeting held in early February in Bellevue. Attendees included mountaineering groups, professional guides, rangers, independent climbers from broad backgrounds, non-climbing public and mountain rescue groups. An Executive Summary, a Frequently Asked Questions document, and a Climbing Program Cost Analysis were produced and posted on the Mount Rainier web page (www.nps.gov/mora) and widely distributed.
After a thorough analysis of all of the comments submitted, the park staff decided on the above fee structure for implementation.
Climbing fees, in addition to other park funding sources are used to support climber services and management of climbing activities on Mount Rainier. These services and programs include: registering approximately 11,000 climbers each year; providing up-to-date climbing route and safety information; updating weather, climbing, route, and climbing related information on web blog; staffing ranger stations at Paradise and White River; issuing climbing passes and providing updated information for climbers; staffing two high camps (Camp Muir & Camp Schurman); briefing hundreds of climbers during peak season; responding to numerous search and rescues and emergency medical situations on the upper mountain; operating and maintaining high camp facilities and communications systems; maintaining toilets at the high camps and managing the “blue bag” and “Leave No Trace programs; hauling several thousand pounds of human waste off the upper mountain to processing facilities. In addition, the revenue from these fees allows the park to provide the climbing ranger staff training in core skills, including mountaineering, search and rescue, emergency medical services, incident management and aviation-related training, to be able to perform their jobs in the extreme environment in which they work. Part of their job responsibilities also involves monitoring the alpine wilderness areas for impacts related to visitor use and climate change.
Superintendent Uberuaga said “I very much appreciate the ideas, recommendations and feedback from all of the people who provided comments, either at the public meetings or in writing. Their participation helped us make better decisions that will guide management of the climbing program for the next several years.”
Did You Know?
The 93 mile Wonderland Trail encircles the mountain offering hikers commanding views of Mount Rainier blanketed by 25 icy glaciers. The trail leads through extensive subalpine meadows of wildflowers and lowland old growth forest. The Tahoma Creek suspension bridge is part of the Wonderland Trail.