As the most prominent mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Rainier (known as Tahoma by native Americans) with its 26 major glaciers provides an excellent climbing experience situated within a pristine wilderness environment. “The Mountain“ as referred to by locals has all the features of much higher glaciated peaks making it an exceptional training ground for aspiring climbers. Northwest Alpine Guides climbs the classic Disappointment Cleaver route to the upper Emmons Glacier reaching the Columbia Crest summit at 14,411 feet. Mount Rainier’s Muir route is approached from Paradise Meadows and ascends the Muir Snowfield to Camp Muir at 10,188 feet.
Climb Mt. Rainier and support The Himalayan Outreach Project
Join our fifth annual Climb for Nepal fundraiser and summit Mount Rainier. The climb is led by Mountain Gurus founder Dennis Broadwell. Proceeds from the climb will support The Himalayan Outreach Project and benefits school children living in the foothills of Nepal. Learn more about our outreach projects.
The three-day climb includes a one day climb school taught near Paradise Meadows and a two day summit climb via Camp Muir and the Disappointment Cleaver route. Northwest Alpine Guides will provide breakfast, dinner and hot drinks on the mountain. Lunch and snack food is not included.
Climb School Curriculum
- Rest step, step kicking and pressure breathing
- Ice axe techniques and self arrest training
- Crampon usage and techniques
- Snow travel, climbing as a rope team
- Leave no trace skills
- Summit climb of Mount Rainier
- Discussion topics will include: Clothing and equipment, packing a backpack, acclimatization, snow camp skills. Our professional guides will follow the above curriculum, introducing the basic mountaineering skills necessary to make a successful summit climb.
Muir Snowfield / Disappointment Cleaver
- Approach Time to Camp Muir: 4-5+ hours
- Distance: 4.5 miles, 4800 ft. gain
- Trailhead: Paradise Meadow, 5400 ft.
- Camp Muir: 10,188 ft.
- Camp Muir to Summit: 6+ hours, 4300 ft. gain
- Total Elevation Gain: 9,100 feet
- Camp Muir to Summit to Camp Muir: 9 miles round trip, 10+ hours
- Pack Weight: 40-45 lbs trailhead to high camp, 20-25 lbs high camp to summit
- Trail synopsis: The well established trail begins at Paradise Meadows gaining elevation moderately until reaching the base of Panorama Point where we take our first break at 6,400 feet. The trail becomes rockier depending on the season, late season snow is possible well into July. We reach Pebble Creek at 7,200 at the toe of the permanent Muir Snowfield. Our second break is located near split rock between 7,600 – 7,800 feet. From here we ascend snow, kicking steps and moderately gaining elevation to our third (8,600 ft.) and fourth breaks reaching the top of Moon Rocks at 9,200 feet. We take our final break shortly before reaching Camp Muir. Beyond Camp Muir is the Cowlitz Glacier, the start of our climbing route which requires the use of ropes, ice axe and crampons.
The Beginner’s Handbook Climbing Mount Rainier by Greg Yatman
Greg Yatman provides helpful insight in his eBook
- A full day of mountaineering skills in preparation for the climb.
- The day is spent adjusting to the altitude, enjoying views of Mount Rainier, and preparing for our summit bid.
- Enjoy a Northwest Alpine Guides adventure training on glaciers and climbing a classic volcano.
- Breakfast, dinner and hot drinks are provided on the mountain.
Day to Day Itinerary
Day 1 • Climb School
Day 2 • Hike to Camp Muir
Day 3 • Summit Day
This ascent is an entry level summit climb and is suitable for climbers in excellent physical condition with no prior mountaineering experience. A full day of introductory skills training is included in the program. No acclimatization is necessary for this program. Read our Goals and Fitness page for recommendations on how to best physically prepare for this adventure.
3 to 1 Climber to Guide Ratio
We lead the Mount Rainier Camp Muir route at a 3 to 1 climber to guide ratio ensuring that you receive personal attention and hands-on instruction throughout the climb.
Northwest Alpine Guides is an authorized special use permit holder in Mount Rainier National Park
Climb for Nepal Itinerary
Plan to arrive the day before the climb begins.
Day 1 • Climb School at Paradise Meadows
Meet 9:00 am at Paradise Inn (front patio area) in Mount Rainier National Park, WA.
Northwest Alpine Guides will provide you with a detailed PreClimb departure book upon registration including personal gear list, meeting location and driving directions.
Our alpine guides will meet you for team introductions, gear check, and group gear distribution.
We will hike approximately 30-45 minutes from Paradise Meadows to our training area in Edith Creek Basin at 5600 feet. The day is dedicated to learning the fundamentals of mountaineering. The course instruction includes snow climbing, use of ice axe and self-rescue, crampon techniques and rope travel.
Each team member will be assessed throughout the mountaineering school. You will need to demonstrate adequate fitness and proficiency in climbing skills as your safety is our priority.
After mountaineering training, we return to Paradise Meadows by mid-afternoon. The team is welcome to enjoy dinner with the guides at a restaurant in Ashford, WA.
Accommodations are not included: Overnight at Paradise Meadows or return to a hotel in Ashford, WA
Day 2 • Hike to Camp Muir • 10,188 feet
Meet 7:00 am at Paradise Visitor Center.
The hike gains 4800 feet to Camp Muir and takes 5 – 6 hours. The team will set camp and prepare for our summit bid. The team enjoys dinner and early to bed for the next day’s climb.
Accommodations: Tented Camp
Meals Included: Dinner (D)
Day 3 • Summit Day • Mount Rainier • 14,411 feet
Our summit day starts early with a pre-dawn alpine start. We begin roped climbing crossing the Cowlitz Glacier and passing over Cathedral Gap to Ingraham Flats. After taking a short break, we traverse to the base of Disappointment Cleaver. The climb continues up the DC route reaching the top of the clever at 12,300 feet. Another rest break, we climb the upper Emmons glacier to high break at 13,600 feet. The route then climbs the final snow dome to the summit crater and a short walk to Columbia Crest the summit of Mount Rainier at 14,411 feet. We gain 4300 feet from Camp Muir to the summit of Mount Rainier.
After enjoying summit views from Mount Rainier’s highest point and celebrating our success we descend the route to Camp Muir. We break camp, pack our gear and retrace the hike back to Paradise Meadows.
We usually arrive back to the trailhead by late-afternoon and conclude our adventure in Ashford, WA.
Meals Included: Breakfast (B)
Plan to depart the day after the climb ends.
Northwest Alpine Guides makes every effort to uphold the scheduled itinerary, although our guides are given discretion to adapt the itinerary for reasons beyond our control or due to the needs of the group. Meal schedule: (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
Where to Meet
9:00 am, the morning of the climb, we meet in Mount Rainier National Park for equipment check before heading to the trailhead. We will email you PreClimb info including gear list and departure details upon registration.
Deposit and Payments
$1000.00 deposit per person includes non-refundable registration fee, due with application. Balance due 120 days prior to start date.
- Guided climb and instruction
- Scheduled meals on the mountain (breakfast, dinner, hot drinks)
- Professional mountain guide
- Group equipment (including tents, ropes, stoves, etc.)
- Mount Rainier (Climbing Pass $50)
- Wilderness Permits
Price Does Not Include
- National Park entrance fee
- Lunch and snack food
- Personal gear
- Hotels or lodging
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Medical and evacuation coverage
- Staff gratuities
Our guides are dedicated to working hard to ensure your success and well-being on the mountain. If you have a positive experience, gratuities are an excellent way to show your appreciation. Tips normally average 10 – 20% of the cost of the program. If you prefer to transfer funds, please send gratuities through paypal.me/mountaingurus
Northwest Alpine Guides cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities, or the abilities of other climbers may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party may have to turn around without reaching the summit. Failure to reach the summit due to a person’s own lack of fitness or to any of the events associated with mountaineering (such as weather, route, avalanche hazard, team dynamics, etc.), are not NWAG responsibility and will not result in refund or reschedule.
Date changes are not available for this departure.
Participants age 16 & 17, on a fixed date group climb, and accompanied by parent or legal guardian.
A minor climber must be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian throughout the entirety of the program. If either climber must descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together.
We highly recommend that all participants consider travel and trip cancellation insurance. Travel insurance offers the best possible protection in the event of a sudden, unexpected illness or injury prior to or while traveling. Northwest Alpine Guides does not insure you against these risks. For more info about current coverage plans and quotes please visit.
Adventure Plan and Adventure Plus Plan differ only in the coverage option which allows you to Cancel for Any Reason. In order to receive Cancel for Any Reason coverage you must purchase the Adventure Plan Plus within 15 days of paying your deposit or payment with NWAG.
We recommend Signature Travel Insurance. For travel insurance or Global Rescue membership.
Click here for a quote
Since departures require a minimum number of participates, Northwest Alpine Guides must adhere to a stringent refund policy. The policy is intended to protect participants who have otherwise committed time and resources to the departure. Please read our Online Reservation for Terms and Conditions.
During the Mount Rainier 3-Day Climb, Northwest Alpine Guides will provide group meals, (1) breakfast and (1) dinner while on the mountain. You will need to provide your own lunch and snack food on the mountain.
We recommend a variety of snack food for eating on the go, we do not stop for a big lunch break, we eat during short maintenance breaks throughout the day. The idea is to keep your energy level up for the climb eating small amounts about every hour or so.
Some examples of snack-lunch foods are dried meats (salami), jerky (turkey, beef, fish), tuna fish, cheese, crackers, bagels, dried fruit, nuts, chocolate, candy bars, gummy candy, cookies, energy bars, GORP trail mix.
The importance of having foods that you like to eat cannot be overstated. Eating properly is the key to maintaining strength while in the mountains. A diet of sweet, sour and salty foods is recommended.
When preparing lunches, please do not bring food items that require cooking or extensive preparation.
Day 1: Mountaineering school
8-hour training includes a 30-minute lunch break, two 15-minute snack breaks
Day 2: Lunch & snacks for hike from trailhead to Camp Muir
Four 15-minute lunch & snack breaks
Day 3: Lunch & snacks for climb to summit and descent
Four 15-minute snack breaks on the ascent from camp to summit, two or three 15-minute snack breaks on the descent from summit to camp
Day 3: Remaining snacks for the descent to trailhead
Here is an example of meal items NWAG provides and our guides will prepare during group breakfasts and dinners.
Breakfast: Oatmeal, Pop Tarts, Bagels, Fruit and Granola Bars
Dinner: Chicken, Beef, Pasta, Noodles, Tortellini, Vegetables, Rice, Beans, Tasty Bites, Cheese, Freeze-Dried Food
Hot Drinks: Coffee, Caffeinated Tea, Herbal Tea
For those with special meal concerns we recommend bringing food to supplement the group meals we provide. We can accommodate most common food allergies within the meals we provide. We do not serve fish, shell fish, peanuts, tree nuts, milk or egg. In cases such as vegetarians, we are easily able to leave out the meat before serving pre-planned group meals.
Northwest Alpine Guides is unable to accommodate vegan, gluten-free, or other types of special meal concerns. You will be happier providing your own meals.
Contact us for questions.