Climbing

A string of climbers cross a 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 - Minimum Requirements

Two things are required to climb Mount Rainier:

  1. Each individual must pay the Climbing Cost Recovery Fee (good for the calendar year). You must pay this BEFORE coming to the park.
  2. You must obtain a Climbing Permit for your climb (one per party, one per climb).
 
Climbing Cost Recovery Fee - Updated February 8, 2017

A new climbing fee payment system is now in effect.. Physical climbing passes will NO longer be issued. Climbing passes were the little business card-sized vouchers that had been in use since 1995.

Pay the Climbing Fee

You must pay for the fee at home before you arrive at the park. Payments are processed on Pay.gov.

Please do not send any more fax purchase forms in! The old purchase forms are no longer accepted.

Please keep your receipt and either save it to your PDF viewer on your phone, bookmark your email verification, or print it so you can show us later. Before your climb you must still register in person. At that time we will check to see if you have paid your fee. While we can check your payment through Pay.gov, it will save time if you can show us your receipt. Anyone climbing on glaciers, or above 10,000 feet, must register and pay the climbing fee. All climbers must also check out upon their return.

The fee is still the same:

  • $47 for adults (26yo and older)
  • $34 for youth (25yo and younger)

We are developing a method of paying the fee when you register. It is not active yet.

Climbing Cost Recovery Fee Frequently-Asked-Questions

 

Climbing Permit

After you pay the fee, you will need to obtain a climbing permit. Climbing permits are free. You can obtain a climbing permit at:

  • Longmire Wilderness Information Center
  • Paradise Climbing Information Center
  • White River Wilderness Information Center
  • Carbon River Ranger Station
  • Jackson Visitor Center in Paradise

It helps to speed things up by printing your climbing permit out and filling it out before you come to the park to register:
Climbing Permit Registration Card

 
A climber braces against a rope as he ascends a steep cliff.
Historic photo of a Mount Rainier climber.

NPS Photo

Reservations, Guide Services, Solo Permits, and Minimum Age

Reservations

All wilderness camping zones, including the alpine zones that contain Camp Muir and Camp Schurman, have a limit on the total number of people who can stay there each night. 60% of camping spots can be reserved, 40% are always available as first-come, first-served permits. If you need the security of knowing you have a spot, may arrive late, or are climbing between June 15 and August 15, a reservation is a good idea. Reservations cost $20 and are accepted after March 15. Reservations are made on a google form. Reservation form will be available on March 15.

Guided Climbs

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

There are also 15 single trip guide services authorized to perform only one guided trip per year. Check the list of Commercial Use Authorizations for approved guide service companies. 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).

Solo Permit

Solo travel above high camps or anywhere on glaciers is not permitted except with prior written permission from the Superintendent. You may submit 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.

Commercial Non-Profit Climb

Some guided climbs qualify as charities. This type of climb is allowed, but requires a Special Use Permit. Paying the climbing fee is still required.

Age Limit

A climber must be at least 18 years old to climb Mount Rainier. Anyone younger than 18 years of age must have the permission of a parent or legal guardian before climbing above normal high camps. Permission must be provided upon registration the day of your climb. Please have the necessary note signed and ready for us to include in our records.

 
Climbing Resources

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

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

Phone:

(360) 569-2211
Callers to this general park line can choose from a menu that includes recorded information as well as opportunities to talk to a ranger at one of the park's administration or visitor centers. Rangers are only available to answer calls during business hours.

Contact Us