A little over a year before my Rainier climb in 2010, I made a commitment to Big City Mountaineers to raise a minimum of $4,000, and then climb Mount Rainier during August of 2010 on an all-woman team, with three female guides from Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (otherwise known as RMI).
I made my commitments, fundraised and trained, and then… suddenly… in August I found myself stepping my way up Mt. Rainier.
I am still shocked speechless when I think about the early morning sunrise out to the East… the views as vast as only big mountains can provide. The climb itself was tiring but at no time felt impossible, and I truly look forward to doing it again.
Mt. Rainier Climbing Route
There are many routes on Rainier, but we climbed Disappointment Cleaver. Our route went from Camp Muir, through Cathedral Gap, across the Ingrahm Flats, and then up the Deception Cleaver. From there, we went back onto the Ingrahm Glacier for a section of climbing, until transitioning onto the Emmons Glacier to work our way toward the summit crater.
The route we took required glacier travel, including proficiency with crampon and ice axe use, and safe movement as a rope team. There was no technical climbing on our route, but there are many objective dangers associated with the climb, including rockfall, icefall, crevasse danger and the risks associated with fatigue and altitude. Mount Rainier is a 14,000 foot peak — it is big enough to have its own weather. It should not be underestimated.
Mt. Rainier Conditions and Weather
During our climb, we did have some weather to content with — namely, lenticular clouds forming at the summit in the early morning hours, which could have signaled a storm. We managed to descend before the snow started, and the lightning storm we watched over Yakima didn’t come close to us.
When planning your trip to Mt. Rainier, pay close attention to the Mount Rainier Recreational Forecast. Conditions can go from bluebird to dangerous storm in an instant, so always be prepared.
More information about climbing Mt. Rainier
The National Parks Service provides additional information about climbing Mount Rainier on their website. Climbing permits are required for those climbing above 10,000 feet (roughly, above Camp Muir) or doing any glacier travel.
Choosing a Mount Rainier Guide Service
Here are my thoughts on selecting a Mount Rainier guide.
Other RockClimberGirl.com Resources about Mt. Rainier