Mount Rainier Climbing Options

Every year I swear I’ll climb Mount Rainier hoping by if some miracle that the trip will arrange itself. This year, I had been hoping the same thing but then recently a few friends and I have been emailing about what our options are so perhaps it will happen.

Here are our options as I understand them:

  • Guided trip with one of the big guide companies RMI, AAI, IMG
    • 3-4 days
    • ~$1000
    • Notes: only a few dates left with each company, differences between companies not clear, supposedly if you live in Seattle you should really find a guide
  • Guided trip with a smaller outfit like Northwest Mountain School
    • 5 days
    • $2000
  • Climb For Clean Air (really RMI)
    • 3 days
    • Fundraise ~$4000
  • Learn how to mountaineer
  • Find someone to take us up
    • How!? This is the preferred option but unclear how to find someone to take a few newbies up.

Seattle Times has an article about this too, The lowdown on mountain guides (and a few good tips).

Four who climbed Rainier: Tips from first-timers.

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2 Responses to Mount Rainier Climbing Options

  1. Eric Kennedy says:

    Hi Matt, I climbed Mt. Rainier as part of the Mountaineers, but it took over 18 months from my first class (first aid in October 2007) until the summit in June 2009. I was on a Rainier climb in June 2008, but the climb leader was really out of shape and canceled the climb right at foot of the glacier! Sadly, I had given up a spot on other Rainier climb to take that one, so I had to wait an entire year to get another spot.

    If I could do it over again, I’d just go with RMI. To be eligible to climb for the Mountaineers or BOEAlps, you need to pass their rock and glacier certifications. That requires a lot of practice, studying, and expensive equipment. It’s fine if you want to be part of their organizations for many years, but someone as busy as you or me probably just wants to cross Rainier off your to-do list. Rainier was okay, but frankly Everest Base Camp in Tibet was a lot more interesting — it’s also 3,000 ft higher and doesn’t require any special gear.

    The hidden cost of BOEAlps and the Mountaineers is all of the gear that you have to buy instead of rent so you have it over the 6+ month long course: mountaineering shoes ($400), glacier glasses ($100), pack ($70), crampons ($70), ice axe ($40), alpine helmet ($30), carabiners and rope ($30), books ($30), etc. Basically, you’ll spend about $1000 either way, but RMI requires only a few days while the Mountainers requires 30+ days over 7 months with a lot of early morning meetings.

    I do know someone who used to run climbs for RMI and might be willing to do a private climb. You probably won’t save anything vs RMI because it’ll be a private climb, but you won’t be stuck with a bunch of slow yuppies and can pick a date when the weather is clear and calm.

  2. Rowan Anderson says:

    Hi everyone, I’m planning to do a winter climb of Mount Rainier in early December, however, as of right now, I have no one to climb with. I’ve already booked my flight to Seattle for December 3rd. I’m flying back to Canada on December 15th (I’m from Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada). Does anyone know of a group or individual who would be interested in climbing Rainier with me? I’ve done winter climbs before (not Rainier, but Mount Washington in New Hampshire, twice). I’m looking for any help or advice about who I could potentially climb Rainier with. Are there climbing clubs around Seattle (or organized groups through the National Park) where I could find folks to climb with?

    Thanks for any help,

    Rowan Anderson

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