• Mount Rainier peeks through clouds, viewed across subalpine wildflowers and glacial moraine.

    Mount Rainier

    National Park Washington

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Climbing

A string of climbers crosses the Emmons Glacier.
Climbers on the Emmons Glacier.
NPS Photo
 

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.

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 a 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.

Plan Your Climb

If you would like more information, contact Mount Rainier Climbing Rangers at (360) 569-6641.

 
A climber braces against a rope as he ascends a steep cliff.

Historic photo of a Mount Rainier climber.

NPS Photo

Winter Climbing

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 12. A party size of at least 4 is recommended.

Guide Services
Climbing instruction, multi-day summit climbs, multi-day climbing seminars, and private climbs are available through:

 

Climbing Regulations

  • Climbers must follow low impact camping regulations.
  • Camping is allowed only on permanent snow or ice, or on bare ground areas previously used as campsites. Clearing new tent sites on rocky or snowfree areas is prohibited.
  • Travel on established trails to avoid damaging fragile alpine vegetation.
  • Climbers must register and pay the climbing fee prior to climbing and must check out upon return. Anyone climbing on glaciers, or above 10,000 feet, must register and pay the climbing fee.
  • Solo travel above high camps or anywhere on glaciers is not permitted except with prior written permission from the Superintendent. You may download a Solo Climb Request Form or you may request this form by writing: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304. Before submitting a solo climb request, please read the Climbing Ranger Standards for Solo Climb Approval.
  • Anyone younger than 18 years of age must have the permission of a parent or legal guardian before climbing above normal high camps.
  • Engaging in any business in park areas except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement is prohibited. Leading or participating in an unauthorized guided climb of Mount Rainier is illegal (Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations).

Did You Know?

Artist rendering of the new Paradise Visitor Center.

The park recently completed building a new visitor center at Paradise & rehabilitating the historic Paradise Inn. The new visitor center is more sustainable and less expensive to operate than the existing visitor center. The Paradise Inn, after 90 years of use, was in need of rehabilitation.