Last updated: November 3, 2023
Fay Fuller was the first known woman to summit Mount Rainier. Fuller was a 20-year-old school teacher from Yelm, Washington, and had been inspired to climb the mountain when P.B. Van Trump, one of the first people documented to summit Mount Rainier, visited her class.
On August 10th, 1890, Fuller made the climb wearing wool and a heavy flannel bloomer suit and blackened her face with charcoal to reduce the sun’s glare. She later stated that "bloomers were unknown and it was considered quite immodest." She climbed in adverse conditions and, due to summiting later in the day than expected, spent an unplanned night in the summit ice caves.
Setting out from Camp Muir, Fuller reached the summit at 4:30 pm. She described the experience as “a heavenly moment, nothing was said- words cannot describe scenery and beauty, how could they speak for the soul?”
Fuller would go on to become the first female newspaper reporter in Tacoma and played an important role in the establishment of Mount Rainier National Park. Her experience at Mount Rainier also led her to help found various climbing clubs in the Pacific Northwest and to become an advocate of female mountaineers. She was a key founder of the Washington Alpine Club and Mazamas, two organizations still in existence today. She was memorialized for her significant achievements to the park and larger community by the naming of Fay Peak near Mowich Lake in her honor.