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About the Mountain


For many North American climbers, summiting Mount Rainier is a mountaineering milestone (14,410 ft). It marks their readiness for high-altitude, expedition-style climbing, having tested their skills against capricious weather and challenging terrain. While there are a variety of routes up Mount Rainier, the most popular is via Disappointment Cleaver, spending the first night at Camp Muir (10,000 ft). While some will head directly to the summit from Camp Muir, others will take a day for skill-building and spend a second night camping at Ingraham Glacier (11,000 ft). It’s worth leaving flexibility in your itinerary for the longer option, as you’ll likely want to stay on the mountain as long as possible, once you experience its beauty.

“There are more than 50 climbing routes on Mt. Rainier, with the vast majority of the climbers heading up via the Disappointment Cleaver Route.”

- Tye Chapman

As the largest glaciated mountain in the contiguous United States, Mount Rainier is not a mountain to underestimate in terms of risk or technical difficulty. Only those with extensive mountaineering experience should take it on without a guide, and everyone should be climbing in well-organized rope teams, given the high prevalence of hidden crevasses. Fortunately, the Pacific Northwest is home to some of the best mountaineering guides in the world who will cater to any experience level. You should be physically fit before attempting it, though, as there is a 9,000-foot altitude difference to cover between the base and summit.

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