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Mount Rainier Climb


Mount Rainier is extraordinary.  At 14,411 feet Mount Rainier is the third highest peak in the lower 48 states and arguably the most massive, high alpine peak. We will climb Mount Rainier via either the Kautz Glacier or Emmons Glacier for a more enjoyable experience away from the crowds. These routes are slightly more advanced than the standard Disappointment Cleaver Route.

$2,700 Per Person
4 Days

Trip Information

Price based on 2 climbers per guide. 425-888-6397 x2 |

Mount Rainier is extraordinary. At almost 14,400 feet it is the third highest peak in the lower 48 states and arguably the most massive, high alpine peak. We will climb Mount Rainier via either the Kautz Glacier or the Emmons Glacier for a more enjoyable experience away from the crowds. These routes are slightly more advanced than the standard Disappointment Cleaver Route.


Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime in the Washington Cascades? Come join us! 


We can not overstate how important it is that you are in the best possible physical condition for this climb. The Kautz Glacier route has the same elevation gain as the standard Disappointment Cleaver route, but is more technically demanding.  The Emmons Glacier route is less technical than the Kautz Glacier route but covers significantly more distance and has more elevation gain.  The route we take will be determined by the park service when we are issued our permit.


July 1-4, 2024: Emmons Glacier Route (night 1 at Camp Curtis, nights 2&3 at Emmons Flats)

June 30-July 3, 2025: Emmons Glacier Route (night 1 at Camp Curtis, nights 2&3 at Camp Schurman)


Prior mountaineering experience and solid cramponing skills are a must.

Duration: 4
Ratio: 2:1
Difficulty Level:
Click here to learn more about difficulty ratings.

Overall difficulty: Very difficult

Skills: Prior mountaineering and glacier travel experience and solid cramponing skills are required.

Fitness: Very good physical fitness: You MUST be able to hike or climb for 6 to 8 hours with a 45 pound pack, and ascend 4000 to 4500 feet of vertical gain per day for 2 to 3 consecutive days. Climbing a 14,411 foot glaciated peak is very strenuous and it does not compare to an average hike at lower elevation. You have to train for this climb if you want to optimize your chances for success. 

Private Trips Available

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We will schedule an information night about 6 weeks prior to the climb to go over training, nutrition, equipment, etc. We will also do gear checks a week or so before the climb. If you do not live near our shop, we can set up these sessions over the phone or via Zoom.


Possible Itinerary for the Kautz

Day 1We will meet in Ashford just outside the National Park, conduct a gear check and then commute up to the Paradise Parking lot. We will hike up past Panorama Point, cross the lower Nisqually Glacier, up the Wilson Gully and on to about 8500 feet on the Wilson Glacier. It should take no longer than 5 hours to get there and leave plenty to enjoy this spectacular zone. 

Day 2After a more leisurely start we will pack up and climb up the Turtle Snowfield and establish another camp at around 10,900 feet a few hundred feet below Camp Hazard. This will put us in a perfect position for our summit day. The rest of the day is dedicated to resting and hydrating. We call this day an "active rest day." This extra day at moderate altitude makes a huge difference in acclimatization. 

Day 3Summit day. We have to get up and get going in the dark so that we can get up and out of the Kautz Chutes. From there the route will take us across the upper Kautz Glacier then across the Wapowety Cleaver to the upper Nisqually Glacier.  From there we climb on to Columbia Crest summit at 14,411 feet. If all is well, we should be on the summit in the middle of the morning (average ascent time is about 5 hours) and back in our camp below Camp Hazard by early afternoon at the latest. On average the roundtrip time from Camp Hazard takes about 9 to 10 hours. After a well deserved rest we will pack up and move our camp back down to the Wilson Glacier camp at 8400 feet. 

Day 4We will pack up and return to Paradise via the Wilson and Lower Nisqually Glaciers. This is a very entertaining and spectacular way back down the mountain. We should be back in the Paradise parking lot in the late morning.


Possible Itinerary for the Emmons

Day 1We will meet at the White River Campground on the northeast side of the park and conduct a gear check.  Then we will hike 3.5 miles and 1,650 feet of elevation gain up the relatively mellow and incredibly scenic Glacier Basin trail to Glacier Basin Campground at about 6,000 feet where we will make camp for the night.  It shouldn't take more than 2.5 hours to get to camp, allowing plenty of time to get to the meeting location in the morning, thoroughly enjoy the scenic hike in, and get a solid night of rest for the next 3 days.

Day 2We will pack up and climb up the Inter Glacier to Camp Schurman at about 9,500 feet.  The higher you go up the Inter Glacier the more spectacular you realize Glacier Basin is, then all of a sudden you pop up at a point where you have incredibly stunning and seemingly very up-close views of Mount Rainier and the Emmons route itself.  We will either go to the top of steamboat prow and downclimb 3rd class rock, or rope up and swing around on the lower Emmons Glacier to access Camp Schurman.  It should take about 5 or 6 hours to get to Camp Schurman.

Day 3Summit day. We have to get up and get going in the dark so we can be back at camp before the heat of the day.  We rope up in camp and start up and left to reach the bottom of "the corridor," which provides for a steady climb straight up to about 12,000 feet.  At the top of the corridor the route can vary widely from year to year, either going left and up or right and up to the crater rim.  Some years it traverses fairly far to the right to the saddle between Columbia Crest and Liberty Cap, then climbs to the crater rim from there.  From the crater rim we wrap around to the southeast side of the crater to reach the true summit at 14,411 feet.  It is a lot of elevation gain and can take 6-8 hours to reach the summit.  After hugs and high-fives we descend back to Camp Schurman (the descent usually takes about half the time of the ascent), where we will enjoy our well-earned rest.

Day 4We will pack up and begin our journey back to the cars.  If conditions are right, we will enjoy over 1,500 feet of glissading down the Inter Glacier (a fancy way of sliding down on your bottom).  This can be the most enjoyable and memorable part of the whole climb!  We will then walk out through 3.5 miles of lush rainforest and return to our cars at White River Campground.

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
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per person
Price based on 2 climbers per guide. 425-888-6397 x2 |
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Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 60 days away or an international trip that is over 90 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 60 or more days before domestic trips or 90 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 60 days of the start of domestic trips or 90 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Base Layer
  • 1 Bottom - midweight or lightweight
  • 1 or 2 Tops - midweight or lightweight
  • Socks - 2 pair
Mid Layer
  • Windshirt or light soft shell jacket
  • Fleece or similar warm layer
  • Synthetic climbing or hiking pants
  • Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Jacket
  • Lightweight Waterproof/Breathable Pants
  • Warm Hat - should cover your ears
  • Sun Hat - baseball cap or visor
  • Lightweight Gloves
  • Warm Gloves/Mittens
  • Down or Synthetic Puffy-type Jacket
  • Gaiters - low top or full size
Personal Gear
  • Backpack - 50 Liter/3100 minimum
    • Everything must fit inside except ice axe, crampons, helmet, and pad
    • If approach shoes are worn, mountaineering boots may be on outside of pack as well
  • Sleeping Bag - down or synthetic, 20º F or warmer
  • Compression Sack - for sleeping bag
  • Sleeping Pad - closed cell foam or self inflating (or both)
  • Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
  • 2 Water Bottles - liter bottles, wide mouth recommended
  • Water purification - tablets or filter
  • Bowl and Cup - bowl is optional if eating from freeze-dried meal bags
  • Spoon, Fork, or Spork
  • Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+
  • Lighter
  • Personal Toiletries - keep it simple: toothbrush, tiny toothpaste, hand sanitizer
  • Small Personal First Aid Kit - just the basics: blister care, ibuprofin, prescription meds, etc.; your guides will have a substantial group first aid kit
  • Toilet Paper (blue bags provided by PGS)
Technical Gear
  • Ice Axe - lightweight, 45-70cm
  • Mountaineering Boots - crampon compatible
  • Boot Crampons - 10-12 point steel with anti-ball plates, pre-fit to boots
  • Climbing Harness - mountaineering style preferred (no padding; ex: Petzl Altitude, Black Diamond Couloir)
  • Adjustable Trekking Pole(s) - nice to have for approach/crevasse navigation
  • Helmet - climbing helmet UIAA approved
  • Glacier Travel Kit:
    • 2 Locking Carabiners - 2 large/2 small with at least 1 large HMS style
    • 2 Non-locking Carabiners - any style, we recommend wire gates
    • 1 Single Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (60cm/24in diameter loop)
    • 1 Double Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (120cm/48in diameter loop)
    • 1 Cordelette - 6 mm cord, 6 meter length
Optional Items
  • Ear Plugs - essential for sound sleep
  • Camp Booties
  • Thermos - vacuum type
  • Electrolytes - tablets/powder/gel/blocks
  • Compass - adjustable declination a must
  • Tibloc and/or MicroTraxion devices - used for crevasse rescue
  • Collapsible Water Canteen - good for storing snowmelt at camp
  • Liner socks - if blister-prone
  • Warm Socks - to sleep in
  • Approach shoes--lightweight running shoes work well
  • Small knife
  • Neck gaiter - for protecting your face from sun, wind, cold
  • Post-course care kit (to leave in car): cotton T-shirt, flip flops, favorite treats
Equipment Sales & Rental

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How much prior mountaineering experience is required?

Some basic mountaineering experience is highly recommended. Very good fitness is even more important.

Does PGS provide food?

No, you are responsible for your own food. We are glad to help with food suggestions though. We do provide tents, stoves, and fuel.

What size pack should I bring?

Most people find a 50-60 liter pack works well.

Should I tip my guide?

Although tipping is not a requirement, it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or a flat amount that you are comfortable with.

Why Book With Us? 

Certified Professional Guides & All Access
All of our guides have the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate.
Safe, Well-Planned Tour Design
Every tour has a carefully thought-out guide-to-customer ratio. You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us.
Pioneers In The Industry
You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on skills and routes in the industry. 
Read Our story

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