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.

Official Route Descriptions & Minimum Requirements
Guide Services, Solo Permits, & Minimum Age
Climbing Resources

 

Changes to the 2021 Climbing Season due to COVID-19

Last Updated: March 2, 2021. Check here for additional updates.

Remember, travel above high camps and/or glaciated travel still requires a climbing permit and payment of a climbing cost recovery fee. Temporary use restrictions are being revised for the 2021 season. Restrictions will be relaxed in line with Pierce County and Washington State guidelines for outdoor recreation. Some temporary restrictions will remain in place.

  • The Public Shelter at Camp Muir is CLOSED for visitor use and is for emergency-use only

Your Search and Rescue

Mount Rainier National Park maintains a team of rangers who are responsible for search and rescue operations on the upper mountain. The park also maintains aviation staff and an exclusive-use helicopter based at Mount Rainier in support of search and rescue. Our teams are trained and in place to conduct operations this summer.

COVID-19 has prompted our teams to alter the way we conduct incidents and take precautions against the spread of this disease within our own workgroups. These precautions may slow our response down in several ways. It is very important for each climbing party to consider a delayed rescue response and equip themselves on summit attempts with gear to last comfortably if they should experience an emergency.

The National Park Service’s policy on search and rescue states that a reasonable attempt will be made to conduct search and rescue operations. For each field rescuer, there are usually 2-3 people in a support role in the incident command center. COVID-19 precautions effects all levels of any search and rescue operation.


COVID-19, Personal Protective Equipment, and Your Climb

We very humbly ask you to stay at home if you feel you are sick or are exhibiting symptoms consistent with COVID-19. The rangers who staff the high camps are also the rangers who clean the toilets each day. These are also the same rangers who perform the searches and rescues on the upper mountain. If you know you’re sick and you attempt to climb anyway, you may not only get other climbers and park visitors sick, but you may also transmit this sickness to rangers.
During your climb, we ask you to:

  1. Descend if you feel you are getting sick and stay at home if you experience COVID-19 symptoms
  2. Bring your own bottle of hand sanitizer or disinfecting wipes and use them before entering toilets and after leaving
  3. Separate yourself as you are hiking/climbing and breathing forcefully
  4. Maintain your distance from other climbing parties

Thank You!

 

Official In-Depth Route Descriptions

Use the Route Briefs to familarize yourself with these two routes. Produced by park climbing rangers, they contain the latest information needed for planning your climb.

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. All climbers must obtain a Climbing Permit for their climb (one per party, one per climb). This includes climbers who are attempting single push climbs or ski mountaineering.
 
Climbing Cost Recovery Fee

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. Rangers will check to confirm that your fee has been received before activating and issuing your permit. 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:

  • $52 for adults (25 years old and older)
  • $36 for youth (24 years old and younger)

Climbing Cost Recovery Fee Frequently-Asked-Questions

 

Climbing Permit

After you pay the fee, you will need to obtain a wilderness permit. A wilderness permit is required even if you do not plan to overnight on the route. You can obtain a permit by following the instructions on the Wilderness Permit page.

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

NPS Photo

Guide Services, Solo Permits, and Minimum Age

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). Learn more about regulations for guiding on Mount Rainier.

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 Commercial Use Authorization. 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

Last updated: March 2, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

Phone:

(360) 569-2211

Contact Us