Mount Rainier Skills Expedition 6 Day
Summit Mount Rainier and build an array of big mountain climbing skills along the way. Rainier is often described as the most difficult endurance climb in the contiguous United States. On this wild alpine climbing experience we’ll ascend the largest glacier in the lower 48 and
build serious mountaineering skills as we climb the Emmons Glacier Route. The Mount Rainier Skills Expedition 6 Day program is an incredible expedition climbing experience for anyone looking to summit one of the hardest 14ers in the US and gain skills to climb in the great ranges of the world.
The mountaineering skills you'll learn here can be put to use on any big mountain climb from Denali to Mount Everest. Skills Covered include:
- Camp Craft
- Movement and efficiency
- Ice Axe Self Arrest and Team arrest
- Rope Skills and Knots
- Rope Team Travel
- Snow and Ice Anchors
- Crevasse Rescue
- Fixed Line Travel
Our program will culminate in a summit attempt of the tallest peak in the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier, via the Emmons Glacier Route. On our summit attempt, we’ll employ the skills learned during the trip to efficiently climb and manage the hazards of the route.
Athletes with excellent fitness, coordination and the ability to learn basic movements and skills will be able to perform well on this program. This is an intense program that requires high level physical fitness and experience with outdoor gear and wilderness camping. We will teach many of the skills needed to accomplish the summit, but we do not recommend this program for people without basic experience in backpacking or mountaineering. If you are unsure if you are ready for this expedition, please reach out and we can discuss this with you!
Prices$2795 Total. The $280 Deposit fee will secure your spot on the trip. Please make sure you meet all of the prerequisites set forth in the Overview tab as $20 of the deposit is non-refundable.
7/16 - Day 0 - Mandatory Orientation & Gear Check
7/17 - Day 1 - White River to Camp Curtis
7/18 - Day 2 - Camp Schurman
7/19 - Day 3 - Camp Schurman
7/20 - Day 4 - Camp Schurman
7/21 - Day 5 - Camp Schurman (Weather Day)
7/22 - Day 6 - Out at White River
Tentative Daily Itinerary
Day 0 Gear Check and Orientation
4:00pm-6:30pm Meet your guide and review the plan for the day. The guide will discuss the challenges of the route, expectations for clients and guides, LNT procedures and perform a thorough gear check to make sure we have everything we need for the mountain and the current conditions at hand. We also divide all group gear, including food, fuel, stoves, tents, shovels, pickets, solid waste bags and other items so that you are able to pack completely for the trip.
Day 1 White River trailhead to Camp Curtis
8:00am We’ll meet early on the first day of our trip at the White River trailhead. We’ll do a quick trailhead check to make sure we’re not forgetting anything, and we’ll set out for Camp Curtis. Along the way, we’ll cover:
- Rest step
- Crampon techniques
- Ice Axe Arrest
- Glacier Rope travel
We’ll set up camp, discussing camp craft and the challengers of camping on an expedition then we’ll eat a hot dinner and settle into our tents for the night.
Day 2 Camp Curtis to Camp Schurman
After a good night's sleep, we'll rise for hot drinks and breakfast before we break down camp, pack up and depart for Camp Schurman.
At Camp Schurman, we'll set camp again and dive into skills, covering any items that need more practice from Day 1 and getting into technical skills including ropes, knots and basic mechanical advantage systems. We'll make a hot dinner and get to bed.
Day 3 Skills and Ice Climbing at Camp Schurman
One of the most fun days of the trip, we'll get up and start in with skills after a hot breakfast. We'll get into crevasse rescue systems and we'll do some live drills (time and conditions permitting) and practice extricating a fallen climber from a real crevasse. We'll also get a few laps of ice climbing in on the vertical walls of the crevasses around camp. While not a strictly necessary skill for the Emmons Glacier Route, ice climbing is a lot of fun and the skills lend themselves to mountains across the world.
Day 4 Skills, Weather or Summit Attempt
Depending on our weather forecast and training objectives, we'll either go for the summit or practice more skills at camp.
If we make a summit attempt, we will get an early alpine start and begin climbing before dawn just after a hot breakfast.
If we do skills, we'll get to bed early to prepare for the summit the following day.
Day 5 Skills, Weather or Summit Attempt
We'll either go for the summit or finish up skills that we want to practice in order to use our glaciated training ground to its fullest potential.
Day 6 Descend to White River Trailhead
On our last day on Mount Rainier, we'll rise early, pack up camp and descend to the White River Trailhead.
❏ Climbing Helmet
❏ Headlamp - with fresh batteries
❏ Climbing harness (alpine or rock harness)
❏ Two Locking carabiners - Petzl Attache, etc
❏ Climbing boots - LaSportiva trango, Scarpa Charmoz or similar
❏ Gaiters - OR mini gaiters to keep snow out of boots
❏ Crampons (Steel crampons that are compatible with your boots)
❏ Ice Axe (55 to 65cm Axe)
❏ Trekking Poles - adjustable preferred
❏ Sun Hat
❏ Sun Glasses
❏ Warm Hat
❏ 2x Buffs or face masks (These are for warmth and wind protection and are
required for Covid-19 face coverings)
❏ Long sleeve base layer top
❏ 1 to 2 fleece weight upper layers (I'm using a Patgonia R1 and Nano Air)
❏ Puffy - Mid Weight Down/synthetic, Patagonia Fitzroy or similar
❏ Waterproof Shell Jacket with Hood - Gore-Tex (or similar) - basic, lightweight shell, NOT
❏ Gloves-TWO pair
❏ one pair light/mid weight for warm temps
❏ one mid/heavy weight for cold
❏ Socks - TWO pair. Both mid-weight wool/synthetic
❏ Underwear - wool/synthetic
❏ Sports Bra - wool/synthetic
❏ Goggles (bring to gear check, we may choose to leave at the car depending on Weather
❏ Long johns (bring to gear check, we may choose to leave at the car depending on Weather
Camping & Backpacking Gear
❏ Sleeping Bag (20F) - down preferred due to weight and pack-ability.
❏ Sleeping Pad - Inflatables are comfortable, but make sure it is insulated for sleeping on
snow! Therm-a-rest NeoAir X-Therm or X-Lite are expensive, but excellent.
❏ Compression Stuff sack for sleeping bag
❏ Backpack - 50L (or the smallest bag that fits all of your gear and your share of the group
gear). Black Diamond Speed 50 or similar work well for this.
❏ Sun Screen (SPF 30 minimum)
❏ Lip Balm (with SPF)
Food and water
❏ Two freeze dried dinner meals (or meals that can be made with just hot water):
I recommend Backpacker's Pantry Pad Thai, and Mountain House Pasta Primavera, but
everyone has strong opinions on freeze dried meals. If you know you don’t like or do
well with Freeze Dried, please let me know and I will forward some
❏ Two Breakfasts:
Grits with cheese, oatmeal, cold cereal with powdered milk, bagel and cream cheese,
PB and J sandwich, mountain house freeze dried.
Bring whatever sounds appealing for a midnight breakfast.
❏ Instant Coffee (if you’re a coffee drinker, now is a bad time to kick the habit!)
❏ Decaffeinated tea for evening hot drink
❏ Cup of 1⁄2 liter Nalgene Bottle (for hot drinks). I prefer the 1⁄2 liter Nalgene so that I can
use it for water on the climb as well.
To keep things light and compact, I use the freeze dried dinner bag for my breakfast
bowl, but some people don’t like the remaining flavors. If that’s the case, bring a light
bowl (lightweight tupperware works great)
❏ Spoon - choose a long handled spoon if you’re eating freeze dried food out of the bag.
Normal spoons make it hard to reach the food and it gets messy.
❏ Snack Food - 3 days worth of snacks. I usually break this down as:
❏ Water - bring two liters capacity. I prefer using a 1⁄2 Liter Nalgene for hot drinks and a
soft/collapsible 2L Hyrdrapack Bottle) Please bring at least one hard sided water
❏ Hand Sanitizer (Bring extra due to increased use for Covid-19)
❏ Toilet Paper
❏ First Aid/blister Kit
❏ Chemical hand warmers
❏ Hydration System (Camelback, etc). Please bring an additional hard sided water bottle if
you choose to bring a hydration system.
Know Before You Go
Emmons Glacier - Mount Rainier, WA
Technical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚪⚪
The Emmons Glacier route involves cramponing on steep, firm snow and ice. There is no vertical ice climbing involved, but often there is no distinguishable trail and footing is on firm, undisturbed terrain.
Physical Difficulty ⚫⚫⚫⚫⚪
Often described as the hardest endurance climb in the contiguous United States, Mount Rainier is a physical challenge on any route. The Emmons route ascends over 10,000’ from trailhead to summit over 9 miles of trail, snow and glaciated terrain. We’ll be climbing steep terrain with heavy packs. You must be in excellent physical condition for this trip!
6 days on Mount Rainier, plus ½ Day Orientation
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