Mt. Rainier Program

Dates of Climbs:  June 25-28, 2018 or July 16-19, 2018


CFCA Mt Rainier ClimbersSince 1987, more than 1,100 people have achieved their dream of reaching the summit of Mt. Rainier as a participant under the watchful eyes of our expert guides from Rainier Mountaineering Inc. (RMI).

In order to qualify for a summit attempt, Climb participants must physically train for this rigorous and challenging event.

Registration for this climb is $250 which also go towards your fundraising goals. The minimum fundraising requirement to participate and have a guaranteed spot for your mountain is $3,900.

The climbers who sign up for the Mt. Rainier program receive the following:

  • Rainier Mountaineering Inc. fee paid on your behalf
  • A delicious Climb Celebration dinner hosted by the ALA and your RMI guides
  • One-night lodging at Camp Muir, and one-night lodging after summit celebration.  Learn more>>
  • Organized training schedule, one-day climbing school and fundraising resources and assistance

What to Expect on a Typical Mt. Rainier Climb

The following excerpt of the FOUR-DAY SUMMIT CLIMB is taken from Rainier Mountaineering Inc.’s web site (www.rmiguides.com).

Four-Day Summit Climb

The Four Day Summit Climb is our most popular program. This climb is ideal for first-time mountaineers, as well as experienced climbers who are in great physical condition. Mountaineering skills learned during Days One and Two will prepare climbers to safely attempt an ascent of Mt. Rainier with a guide leading their rope. Our route ascends either the Ingraham Glacier or Disappointment Cleaver and utilizes Camp Muir, allowing us to climb with less group gear and lighter packs. The program consists of a Pre-Trip Orientation, Mountaineering Day School and a Summit Climb.

Climb Orientation & Climb School

Day One is an afternoon orientation presented by your RMI guides to prepare you for your upcoming adventure. Day Two is Climb School offering the aspiring mountaineer a comprehensive overview of various techniques that begin to meet the challenges set forth by this magnificent mountain. It serves as a great introduction or as a refresher if you haven’t been in the hills for a while. You will find that our guides are excellent teachers, relaying this information to you in an easy to understand yet comprehensively challenging manner. On this day, you will be introduced to a number of skills, from the simplest techniques of efficient mountain travel (rest-stepping and pressure breathing) through cramponing, roped travel, and ice ax arrest practices.

Day two is an all-day Climb School. Participation in the Climbing School is required. During the Climbing School you will be asked to demonstrate that your fitness will allow you to climb safely, and that you are able to perform the new climbing skills proficiently.

Our first priority is the safety of our participants to the best of our ability, and we will continue to assess each team member throughout the course of the school and the summit climb. Learn more about responsible climbing at RMI.

Additional Details

The hike from Paradise (5,400’) to Camp Muir (10,060’) is nearly 4.5 miles, and will take us most of day 3 as we begin our summit climb. The hike travels through the spectacular alpine zone, which later in the season is bursting with a fantastic flower display, and onto the Muir Snowfield, named after John Muir who climbed the peak in 1888. The Snowfield is climbed for some 3,000 vertical feet, opening up grand vistas of the wooded lowlands and flanking glaciers. Groups typically climb for about an hour and then break for 10 to 15 minutes.

Once at Camp Muir, the climb leader will address the specifics regarding the rest of 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. The Muir hut is locked during the climb, so items not needed for the summit bid may be left behind. Early the following morning we don ropes, crampons, helmets, and grab our ice axes. After this alpine start, our teams begin the rising traverse across the Cowlitz Glacier and then ascend the pumiced switchbacks of Cathedral Gap. This allows us to gain the mighty Ingraham Glacier, from which we will then access either the Ingraham Glacier or Disappointment Cleaver routes; the actual route choice will be determined by many factors and will be left to the professional discretion of your guides. The steeper Ingraham Headwall or Disappointment Cleaver will be the physical crux of the route. The remaining slopes and hours are whittled away as we zig and zag through the crevasses of the upper mountain. It is truly a spectacular climb, and one that you are likely to remember for a while to come. As we make our ascent, we climb steadily for one to two hours at a stretch followed by a 10 to 15 minute break.

The summit of Mount Rainier is spectacular. A large crater dominates the summit, with steam rising out of the cavernous summit vents. The bare ground near the summit, even in the winter, will be warm to the touch. We always hope to cross the quarter-mile wide crater so as to tag the high point on the other side, Columbia Crest, at 14,410 feet, the highest point in Washington. After spending some time on top (depending on the weather), we begin the descent to Camp Muir. This takes about half the time of the ascent, and definitely requires some effort. Once back at Camp Muir, the group will take a break to pack for the hike down to Paradise. After arriving at Paradise you will return to Base Camp for a celebration dinner with your RMI guides, friends and family.

*The duration of the climb depends on many variables including snow conditions, the time of the year, the route conditions, the weather during our climb, the temperature, etc. Those variables often affect our arrival time at Paradise, which might vary dramatically from climb to climb. For this reason, we do not recommend scheduling an airline flight before midnight on the last day of your climb.

Event Expenses

Your $3,900 minimum fundraising includes the following (subject to change):

  • A minimum of nine (9) training hikes with fellow climbers and our amazing volunteers who will help you prepare physically and mentally and ensure that you have the right gear for the climb.
  • Three (3) climb meetings hosted by the ALA and our knowledgeable volunteers that cover topics including event logistics, fundraising, nutrition, gear, training, education and support to get you to that summit!
  • A discount on gear you need to rent or purchase from Whittaker Mountaineering (Discount Code provided upon registration).
  • Orientation on Day 1 of your climb.
  • Climb School with RMI’s premier guides on Day 2 of your climb.
  • Day 3 & 4 Summit Climb with RMI’s premier guides.
  • Dinner (alcohol not included) and Celebration on Day 4.
  • New friendships and an experience to last a lifetime!

Out-of-Pocket Expenses (subject to change):

  • Purchase or rent all necessary gear needed for the climb and practice hikes.
  • Transportation to and from the following: all training hikes, informational meetings and the actual climb.
  • Airfare to WA State (if coming from out of town).
  • All meals (including on the actual climb) except for the Celebration Dinner, which we will provide on the 4th night.
  • Hotel accommodations for the following: for any of the practice hikes that recommend overnight stay (if you choose to stay overnight), the first two nights of your 4-day climb.
  • Any additional hotel accommodations or meals for family or friends that will be supporting you.
  • Cost of meals for family and friends at Celebration Dinner.
  • Mt. Rainier National Park entrance pass ($50/year or $25/vehicle)
  • Discover Pass (for parking at training hike trailheads).
  • Gratuity for the RMI guides (optional but highly recommended)
  • Any additional incidentals (i.e. souvenirs)

CFCA Rainier Team

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