Mt. Rainier Summit Climbing Trip

Mt. Rainier Summit Climbing Trip


RMI Expeditions and Backwoods Adventures have partnered to bring you the best introduction to mountaineering anywhere in the lower 48 states! With a short time commitment, this climb is ideal for anyone in excellent physical condition looking to attempt one of America’s great mountaineering challenges.

ADVENTURE #: itemMatrix-5273

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$1,118.00 $1,495.00
Reserve your spot with a $300.00 deposit


START: Seattle, WA
FINISH: Seattle, WA
Outdoor Accommodations High Fitness Level Couples

If there is one standout program to get you to the top of Mt. Rainier, this is it. With a short time commitment, this climb is ideal for anyone in excellent physical condition looking to attempt one of America’s great mountaineering challenges.  Focusing on team building and training, the first two days prepare us for our climb with an afternoon orientation and a Mountaineering Day School. We then ascend Mt. Rainier’s lower slopes to Camp Muir (10,060′), where we stay for the evening and prepare for the climb ahead. On summit day, an alpine start brings us up the Ingraham Glacier or Disappointment Cleaver route to the mountain’s summit (14,410′).

RMI Expeditions is an authorized concessioner of Mount Rainier National Park.

What's Included
  • RMI 4-day Rainier Summit Climb ONLY– complete details here
  • RMI Climb w/ BWA package also includes the following:
  • Lodging – 1 night in Seattle, 3 nights in Ashford (Price based on double accommodations. Single accommodations may be available for an additional charge – please inquire at registration)
  • Meals – All Meals mentioned in itinerary (5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners, plenty of snacks)
  • Local transportation (pick up at Seattle hotel on Day 1, drop off at airport on Day 5)
What's Not Included
  • Airfare to/from your home to Seattle
  • Transportation from the airport to the hotel in Seattle on Day 0
  • Personal equipment and clothing (see packing list)
  • Travel Insurance
  • Gratuities
  • Meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages


Backpacking, Hiking, Camping, Glacier Exploration, Mountaineering , Technical Climbing


Day 0 - Arrival in Seattle and Group Dinner

Hotel check-in is at 3pm. Meet group in the lobby of hotel at 6pm, walk to downtown Seattle for a nice dinner and time to get acquainted.

Accommodations: 3-star hotel near downtown Seattle

Meals Provided: Dinner

Day 1 - Pre-Trip Orientation

You have the morning free to explore Seattle – we’ll provide some recommendations for things to do. Your shuttle will pick you up at the hotel at noon and transfer you to Rainier Mountaineering, Inc (RMI) headquarters for a pre-trip orientation at 3pm. We begin our Pre-Trip Orientation with a welcome and introduction of team members and guides. The afternoon is spent providing a focused introduction to a variety of topics and preparing climbers for the climb. This includes a detailed personal equipment discussion and gear check; an introduction to safety practices including use of helmets, harnesses, and avalanche transceivers; and instruction regarding Leave No Trace practices and environmental considerations.

Accommodations: Nisqually Lodge, Ashford, WA

Meals Provided: Dinner

Day 2 - Mountaineering Day School

Depart the hotel at 8:00am. Be dressed for hiking and packed with your Mountaineering Day School gear. The Mountaineering Day School is spent training on the lower slopes of Mt. Rainier above Paradise. Climbers are introduced to a number of skills, from the foundational techniques of efficient mountain travel (rest-stepping and pressure breathing) through cramponing, roped travel, and ice axe arrest practices. The training is a great introduction to mountaineering for novice climbers as well as a refresher for those with previous experience, ensuring that all climbers have the basic skills to climb safely and comfortably together on the mountain.

Accommodations: Nisqually Lodge, Ashford, WA

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3 - Hike from Paradise to Muir

Depart hotel at 8:00am. After a short team meeting, a shuttle takes our group to the trailhead at Paradise. The hike from Paradise (5,400′) to Camp Muir (10,060′) is nearly 4.5 miles and takes most of the day. Once at Camp Muir, the guides will address the specifics regarding the climb, including route conditions, food, equipment, clothing recommendations, and any further questions you might have. Accommodations at Muir consist of a small mountain hut with bunks and sleeping pads. After dinner we retire to our sleeping bags to rest for the upcoming summit attempt.

Accommodations: Cabin on the Mountain

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 - Summit Attempt and Descent to Paradise

On summit day we don ropes, crampons, helmets, and grab our ice axes. The route begins with a rising traverse across the Cowlitz Glacier and ascends the pumiced switchbacks of Cathedral Gap. From here, we gain the Ingraham Glacier and ascend either the Ingraham Glacier or Disappointment Cleaver routes; the actual route choice is determined by many factors and is left to the professional discretion of your guides. The steeper section of the Ingraham Headwall or Disappointment Cleaver is the physical crux of the route. After reaching the upper mountain, we ascend the higher slopes of Mt. Rainier, navigating the crevassed glaciers to reach the summit.

At 14,410 feet, Mt. Rainier is the highest point in Washington. The summit is spectacular with panoramic views from the Pacific to the eastern side of the Cascades when the weather is clear. A large crater dominates the summit, with steam rising out of the cavernous summit vents and the bare ground near the summit is often warm to the touch.

After reaching the summit, we descend back to Camp Muir. The descent typically requires half the amount of time of the ascent but requires significant effort as we retrace our route down the mountain. The duration of the climb depends on many variables including snow conditions, the time of the year, the route conditions, the weather, and temperature among others. Once back at Camp Muir, we gather our gear and descend back to Paradise. At Paradise, a shuttle takes the team down to Rainier BaseCamp. In Ashford we gather as a team to celebrate our adventure.

Accommodations: Nisqually Lodge, Ashford, WA

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5 - Departure

Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before the group departs at 8:00am. We will drop the group off at the Seattle airport around 10:30am. We recommend scheduling your departure flights after noon on July 22nd.

Meals: Breakfast

Note: Itinerary is subject to change depending on permit availability, weather, trail and course conditions, travel, health and well-being of the trip participants, and interests of the group.



The trip will include a combination of restaurants meals, continental breakfasts, and a meal package specially prepared especially for the 4-day Rainier Climb. The meal package is designed by climbers, for climbers and will provide plenty of fuel for your summit attempt.


In Seattle, you will stay in a 3-star hotel within walking distance to downtown.

In Ashford, you will spend 3 nights at Nisqually Lodge.

One night will be spent on the mountain at camp Muir prior to your summit day.

Note: Trip price is based on shared accommodations (2 beds/room). Single accommodations may be arranged in certain hotels for an additional fee, if available. Please inquire at time of registration and we will do everything possible to accommodate your requests.

Health/Physical Preparedness

This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program. That said, you should be in the best physical shape of your life. Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For the Four Day Summit Climb, you are preparing for:

  • Hiking with a 35-45 lb load
  • Steep climbing and glacier travel with a 20-25 lb load
  • A 10-14+ hour summit day
  • Mountaineering techniques requiring core strength and flexibility

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

See RMI’s fitness and training guide for additional training suggestions


Mountaineering Boots
  • Insulated mountaineering boots with completely rigid soles are needed to climb Mt. Rainier. While both leather and plastic boots will work well, each has strengths and weaknesses.
  • - Plastic boots (or double boots – a boot with a removable insulated liner) will work all season.
  • - Appropriate leather boots (stiff-soled, insulated and designed to hold a crampon) are suitable only for warm weather climbs.
  • The freezing level forecasted for the time of your climb will be the best guideline for which boot to wear.  A freezing level below 10,000 feet will dictate the use of plastic or double boots.  A freezing level above 10,000′ will provide the option for either plastic boots, double boots or single leather boots. Freezing levels above 10,000′ are only seen on a consistent basis between July 1 and August 15 on Mt. Rainier.  We strongly recommend plastic or double boots outside of this time frame.
  • Whether leather or plastic, mountaineering boots are designed to remain stiff for kicking steps and working with crampons. To ensure that your feet do well, mountaineering boots must be comfortable right from the start. If renting boots, consider bringing personal orthotics or foot beds.
Mountaineering Gear
  • Backpack – A 65-70+ liter pack large enough to carry all of your personal gear, food and water is the recommended size for this climb. A separate summit pack is not needed
  • Sleeping Bag - We recommend a bag rated between 0° to 20° F. Both down and synthetic work well. Use the 0° bag in May, June and September when it is colder, and the 20° bag in July and August when it is warmer. Sleeping pads are provided at Camp Muir.
  • Compression Stuff sack for Sleeping Bag -
  • Ice Axe - The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5’8″, use a 65 cm axe; 5’8″ to 6’2″, use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground
  • Climbing Harness - We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.
  • 1 Triple-action Locking Carabiner - Used for clipping into the climbing rope
  • Helmet - A UIAA or CE certified climbing helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets are designed for a different type of impact and will not substitute as a climbing helmet.
  • Crampons - The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.
  • Avalanche Transceiver - If you own a transceiver, bring it and we will ensure it is appropriate for the climb and up to standards.   If you rent one, batteries will be provided, picked up during the Pre-trip Orientation and introduced during the Mountaineering Day School. These will be worn on the upper mountain during our summit climb.
  • Trekking Poles - Lightweight and collapsible poles are preferred. Larger baskets work well with deep snow. Ski poles will also work.
  • Glacier Glasses - You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.
  • Goggles - Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.
  • Headlamp - Be sure to begin the program with fresh batteries.
Additional Clothing & Gear
  • Warm Hat - Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.
  • Buff/Neck Gaiter/Balaclava - One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.
  • Lightweight gloves - One pair of fleece, soft-shell or wind-stopper gloves.
  • Medium weight gloves - Wind/water resistant, insulated mountain gloves.
  • Heavy weight insulated gloves or mittens - Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.
  • Light to Medium weight baselayer top - Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.
  • Insulating layer - Lightweight top
  • Insulating layer - Medium weight top
  • Rain jacket (hard shell) - A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood.  We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket.
  • Rain pant (hard shell) - A waterproof pant with 3/4 side zippers (sometimes called 7/8 or full side zips) are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.
  • Insulated Parka with Hood - This expedition-style heavy parka should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill as down weighs less. The parka does not have to be waterproof, though that is a nice feature.
  • Hiking Shirt (optional) - For hot days in mid-summer, we recommend a lightweight, synthetic shirt, either long or short sleeves. Long sleeves and hoods are preferred for sun protection.
  • Sports bra - We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.
  • Underwear - Non-cotton briefs or boxers.
  • Light to Medium weight baselayer bottom - Synthetic or wool.
  • Climbing pant - Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.
  • Lightweight Trekking pant or shorts (optional) - A lightweight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.
  • Light Hiking Shoes (optional) - A pair of light running or hiking shoes for one or two hours of use on the lower approach trails after the seasonal snow has melted (generally after mid-July), or use as a camp shoe.
  • 2 pair of socks - Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc.), should work just fine for this climb.
  • Gaiters - We recommend a knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampon spikes on loose clothing.
  • Sunscreen - We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.
  • 2-3 Water Bottles - Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Hydration systems are not recommended and, while they can work well below Camp Muir, they are not considered appropriate above Camp Muir or on the upper mountain. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.
  • 2 Garbage Bags (large) - We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.
  • 1 Zip-lock Bag (1 gallon) - Please use the Zip-Lock as your personal trash bag.
  • Bowl - Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
  • Insulated Mug - Stainless steel or plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
  • Spoon or Spork - Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content are recommended.
  • Ball Cap or Sun Hat
  • Baby wipes
  • Camera
  • Ear plugs
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • Lip Balm - We recommend SPF 15 or higher
  • Septic-grade toilet paper
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste

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