Mount Rainier Information

Mount Rainier, the most heavily glaciated peak in the contiguous United States, offers an exciting challenge to the mountaineer. Each year thousands of people successfully climb this 14,410 foot active volcano. Use this website to gather information on weather, Northwest Avalanche Center avalanche forecast, route conditions, avalanche information, Climbing Permits & Fees, Regulations, guide services, and other things you need to know before you climb. If you would like more information, contact Mount Rainier climbing rangers at (360) 569-6009.

Reaching the summit requires a vertical elevation gain of more than 9,000 feet over a distance of eight or more miles. Climbers must be in good physical condition and well prepared. Proper physical conditioning can offset the effects of fatigue that lead to mistakes and injuries.

Weather, snow, and route conditions can change rapidly, making the difference between a pleasant and rewarding experience or tragedy. Before beginning a climb, obtain a current weather forecast. During your climb, turn back if weather conditions deteriorate. Severe winter-like storms on the mountain are not uncommon during the summer.

Winter Climbing

Winter storms on Mount Rainier are frequent and severe, with high winds, deep snow, and extremely poor visibility. Winter conditions generally exist from mid-September to mid-May. All parties attempting a winter ascent should be experienced in winter mountaineering, avalanche forecasting and rescue, and be familiar with the intended routes of ascent and descent. The maximum party size for winter climbing is 12. A party size of at least 4 is recommended.

Climbing Regulations

Climbers must follow low impact camping regulations.

Camping is allowed only on permanent snow or ice, or on bare ground areas previously used as campsites. Clearing new tent sites on rocky or snowfree areas is prohibited.

Travel on established trails to avoid damaging fragile alpine vegetation.

Climbers must register and pay the climbing fee prior to climbing and must check out upon return. Anyone climbing on glaciers, or above 10,000 feet, must register and pay the climbing fee.

Solo travel above high camps or anywhere on glaciers is not permitted except with prior written permission from the Superintendent. You may download a Solo Climb Request Form (Word document, 83 KB) or you may request this form by writing: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304. 

Anyone younger than 18 years of age must have the permission of a parent or legal guardian before climbing above normal high camps.

Engaging in any business in park areas except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement is prohibited. Leading or participating in an unauthorized guided climb of Mount Rainier is illegal (Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations).

Climbing Fees, Permits & Reservations

Climbing Pass is required for all who plan to climb above 10,000 feet or onto any glaciers. All climbers must present or purchase their Mount Rainier Climbing Pass and a valid photo I.D. at the time they register for their climb. To obtain a climbing permit each climbing party must complete and submit (in person) a climbing registration card (Word document, 107 KB) before each climb.

Fee: The fee for a climbing pass is $30 per person per calendar year. Passes purchased in November and December are valid for the following calendar year.

How to get your pass: Locations vary by season. Late-May until mid-October, obtain a pass from the Paradise Climbing Information Center (CIC), the Jackson Visitor Center (JVC), White River Wilderness Information Center (WIC), Longmire WIC or the Carbon River Ranger Station. Mid-October to mid-May, purchase passes at the Longmire Museum daily or the JVC on weekends and holidays. You can also purchase your Mount Rainier Climbing Pass in advance: download and complete the Climbing Pass Purchase Form (PDF, 359 KB), then fax or mail to the park. Fax form to (360)569-3131 or mail it to Wilderness Reservations Office, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304.

Climbing parties with one or more members who have already purchased a Mount Rainier Climbing Pass for the current year must also complete and submit a Climbing Party Supplemental Form (PDF, 366KB). This additional form ensures that your party is not charged climbing fees for those already possessing a valid climbing pass when requesting reservations.  

More Information: Climbing Reservation Policies and Climbing Pass FAQ's

Reserve Camp Sites (optional):
Climbers who are planning to climb between May 1 and September 30 can use the Wilderness Reservation System to reserve camping sites.

Reservations accepted beginning: Reservation requests can be mailed in or faxed beginning March 15. Requests received before this date will not be accepted.

Reservation Fee:
There is a $20 reservation fee (this fee is in addition to the $30 Climbing Pass fee). Reservations do not guarantee a spot in the public shelter at Camp Muir, which is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

How to make a reservation:
To reserve a site, print and complete the Reservation Request Form (PDF, 251KB) and return it by fax or by mail. Fax form to (360)569-3131 or mail it to Wilderness Reservations Office, 55210 238th Avenue East, Ashford, WA 98304.

During the summer months, reservations can also be made at the Longmire Wilderness Information Center. For more information, call the Longmire Wilderness Information Center at (360)569-HIKE [(360)569-4453].

Weather

Weather patterns at Mount Rainier are strongly influenced by the Pacific Ocean, elevation, and latitude. The climate is generally cool and rainy, with summer highs in the 60s and 70s. While July and August are the sunniest months of the year, rain is possible any day, and very likely in spring, fall, and winter.

Visitors should be aware that mountain weather is very changeable. Wet, cold weather can occur anytime of the year. Although late-July and August are generally the driest and warmest time of the year, summer can also be wet and cool. Snow will remain at the 5,000 to 8,000 feet elevation well into mid-July.

Hikers and mountain climbers should be prepared for changing weather. Pay attention to weather forecasts, both one day and long range, avalanche warnings, and special weather alerts. Have extra clothing, rain gear, and a tent for protection against storms anytime of the year. Know the weather forecast and plan your trip accordingly.

Rainier Weather Report

 

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."    — Robert A. Heinlein

Home | Trips | Calendar | Gear | Weekend Warrior | About | What's New | Email