Climb Details

Cost:
Deposit:
Length:
Difficulty:
Type:

$1702
$300
5 day(s)
Level 3 difficulty 
Mountaineering

Availability

Please call for program dates.

Upcoming Climbs

 

"I had to write and express my appreciation for an incredible team of guides that helped our team learn and prepare for a summit attempt. If all your guides are this competent and strong, then your reputation as the best is richly deserved."

— David L. | Read More Testimonials

The Five Day Emmons Climb ascends the Emmons Glacier route, covering 10,000 vertical feet from trailhead to summit. Climb highlights include:

  • An expedition-style climb, establishing successive tented camps on Mt. Rainier's Inter and Emmons Glaciers.
  • The opportunity to review basic mountaineering techniques and skills on the extended approach to high camp.
  • Make a summit attempt on the largest glacier in the contiguous U.S.

Climbing Mt. Rainier's Emmons Glacier

The Five Day Emmons Climb is an expedition-style climb of Mt. Rainier's Emmons Glacier. Following an afternoon orientation, climbers depart for the two-day approach up the Inter Glacier to our high camp at Camp Schurman. We ascend through the thick forest along Mt. Rainier's Glacier Basin Trail and onto its glaciated flanks. Our summit bid ascends the Emmons Glacier, an intermediate route up the largest of Mt. Rainier's twenty-six glaciers, in a long and challenging ascent. This climb is ideal for climbers in great physical condition with an understanding of basic mountaineering techniques or those who have previously climbed Mt. Rainier and are looking for another adventure on the mountain.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

The Mountain Guides at RMI have a reputation as top guides in the United States. RMI Guides participated in some of America's first ventures into the far reaches of the Himalaya. Years of expedition guiding and climbing around the world have built a core of consummate professional guides.

Our guides are celebrated teachers and trainers, known for their leadership as well as their character. They possess the compassion, enthusiasm and ability to empower others and inspire them forward. Such qualities may only be found in people at the top of their profession. Despite their vast experience, RMI Guides still remember their own first steps into the mountains, and enjoy helping other climbers reach new heights.

Approach to Camp SchurmanEmmons Climb Video

Our exceptional focus to detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures make our programs truly memorable.

SAFETY

RMI strives to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focuses on leading fun and successful climbs without compromising safety. Each climb includes careful pre-trip planning, daily weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts, and diligent attention to detail. All RMI Guides are highly trained in remote medicine and rescue skills and carry comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio communication equipment throughout the program. Regardless of the objective or the destination, safety remains RMI’s top priority.

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

NPS Authorized ConcessionerAuthorized Concessioner

RMI Expeditions is an authorized concessioner of Mount Rainier National Park.

Five Day Emmons Climb Equipment List

The following is a list of required equipment. We may encounter a variety of weather conditions throughout our climb, including rain, wind, snow, sleet and extreme heat. Skimping on equipment can jeopardize your safety and success, so we want you to think carefully about any changes or substitutions you are considering. If you have questions regarding the equipment needed for your upcoming climb, give us a call and speak directly to one of our experienced guides.

Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering. This offer excludes sale items. For internet orders, please use the discount code RMI2014.

Whittaker Mountaineering Gear Guide
Whittaker Mountaineering Whittaker Mountaineering

Pack & Bag Guides' Pick

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BACKPACK: A 90+ liter pack is the recommended size for this climb.   Your pack  must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and group load (kitchen equipment). A separate summit pack isn't necessary.


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SLEEPING BAG: A bag rated 0° to 20° F will keep you warm. Use the colder bag in May, June and September; and the warmer bag in July and August. You may use either goose down or synthetic.


Technical Gear Guides' Pick

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ICE AXE: The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", use a 70 cm axe; and taller, use a 75 cm axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches above the ground.


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CLIMBING HARNESS: We recommend a comfortable, adjustable alpine climbing harness. Removable, drop seat or adjustable leg loops are convenient for managing your clothing layers over the course of the climb and facilitate going to the bathroom.


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1 TRIPLE-ACTION LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for clipping into the climbing rope.


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1 NON-LOCKING CARABINER(S): Used for pack ditch loop, etc.


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HELMET: A UIAA (Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme) or CE (European Committee for Standardization) certified climbing helmet. Bicycle or ski helmets are designed for a different type of impact and will not substitute as a climbing helmet.


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CRAMPONS: The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.


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AVALANCHE TRANSCEIVER: A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.


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TREKKING POLES: Lightweight and collapsible poles are preferred. Larger baskets work well with deep snow. Ski poles will also work.


Head Guides' Pick

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WARM HAT: Wool or synthetic. It should provide warmth but also be thin enough to fit underneath a climbing helmet.


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BUFF / NECK GAITER / BALACLAVA: One item for face protection is required. Our primary recommendation is the Buff. A neck gaiter or balaclava is also acceptable.


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GLACIER GLASSES: You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.


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GOGGLES: Amber or rose-tinted goggles for adverse weather. On windy days, climbers, especially contact lens wearers, may find photochromatic lenses the most versatile in a variety of light conditions.


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HEADLAMP: Be sure to begin the program with fresh batteries.


Hands

Each glove layer is worn separately as conditions change during the climb.


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HEAVY WEIGHT INSULATED GLOVE OR MITTEN: Wind/water resistant, insulated gloves or mittens. These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.


Upper Body

We recommend a minimum of five upper body layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Two of these should be insulating layers, one light and one medium, that fit well together. Today there are many different layering systems to choose from, including fleece, soft-shell, down and synthetic options.


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LIGHT TO MEDIUM WEIGHT BASELAYER: Long-sleeve wool or synthetic top. Quarter zip styles will allow for better temperature regulation. We recommend light colors, which best reflect the intense sun on hot days.


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RAIN JACKET (HARD SHELL): A jacket made of rain-proof material with an attached hood.  We recommend a thinner lightweight jacket rather than a heavier insulated jacket.


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INSULATED PARKA with HOOD: This expedition-style heavy parka should extend below the waist and must have an insulated hood. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill as down weighs less. The parka does not have to be waterproof, though that is a nice feature.


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HIKING SHIRT (OPTIONAL): For hot days in mid-summer, we recommend a lightweight, synthetic shirt, either long or short sleeves. Long sleeves are preferred for sun protection.


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SPORTS BRA: We recommend a moisture-wicking, active-wear bra.


Lower Body

We recommend a system of four layers, all of which can be used in conjunction with each other. Products which combine several layers into one garment, such as traditional ski pants, don’t work well as they don’t offer the versatility of a layering system.


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CLIMBING PANT: Soft-shell climbing pants offer a wide range of versatility. You can wear them in combination with the base layer on colder days, or alone on warmer days.


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RAIN PANT (HARD SHELL): A waterproof pant with 3/4 side zippers (sometimes called 7/8 or full side zips) are required for facilitating quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.


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LIGHT WEIGHT TREKKING PANT OR SHORTS (OPTIONAL): A lightweight, synthetic pair of pants is a good option for the approach trek when hiking at lower altitudes and in warm conditions. These pants have no insulation, are typically made of thin nylon, and commonly feature zippers to convert between pants and shorts.


Feet Guides' Pick

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MOUNTAINEERING BOOTS: Insulated mountaineering boots with completely rigid soles are needed to climb Mt. Rainier. While both leather and plastic boots will work well, each has strengths and weaknesses. Plastic boots will work well all season long and are particularly useful for climbers with colder feet and climbs scheduled in early/late season (mid May - June and September) and require no break in period. Appropriate leather boots (stiff-soled, insulated and designed to hold a crampon) are appropriate for mid season (July/August) and warmer weather climbs. Whether leather or plastic, mountaineering boots are designed to remain stiff for kicking steps and working with crampons. To ensure that your feet do well, mountaineering boots must be comfortable right from the start. If renting boots, consider bringing personal orthotics or foot beds.


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GAITERS: We recommend a knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering boots. This will protect you from catching your crampon spikes on loose clothing.


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2 PAIR OF SOCKS: Either wool or synthetic. Whatever sock combination you are accustomed to wearing during your training or previous adventures (whether single medium weight socks, a medium weight with a liner sock, two medium weight socks together, etc), should work just fine for this climb.


Miscellaneous Items Guides' Pick

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LIP BALM: We recommend SPF 15 or higher.


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SUNSCREEN: We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.


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MEALS: See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.


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2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES: Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required.


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2 GARBAGE BAGS (LARGE): We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.


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ZIP-LOCK BAG (1 GALLON): Please use the Zip-Lock as your personal trash bag.


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CAMERA


Toilet Articles

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TOOTHBRUSH


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HAND SANITIZER(S): Personal size (2 oz.) bottle.


Utensils Guides' Pick

Pre-Trip Checklist

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Purchase travel insurance.


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Return the Registration Packet to the RMI Office.


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Arrange Lodging in Ashford.


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Arrange Transportation to Ashford.


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Reserve rental equipment.


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Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!


Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: tents, group cooking gear, shovels, climbing ropes, and blue bags (for solid waste disposal).

Every guide on your climb will carry rescue equipment and a first aid kit. Each climb has two-way radios and a cell phone for emergency contact.


Qualifications

This trip is open to individuals in excellent physical condition with previous climbing experience. In order to participate, each team member is asked to submit a short climbing resume showing, at a minimum, the following skills:

  • Familiar with crampon use, team rope travel skills, and ice axe arrest techniques.
  • A minimum of one previous glacier climb.

Physical Fitness Training

Fitness and Conditioning

Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For this 5-day Emmons Climb, you are preparing for:

  • Steep climbing, climbing and glacier travel with a 50-60 lb load
  • A 12+ hour summit day
  • Mountaineering techniques which require core strength and flexibility

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Below are approximate outlines of the program's physical demands that will be helpful in planning your training schedule and goals:

Total Hiking Time
Elevation Gain / Loss
Total Distance
Pack Weight
DAY 1
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
DAY 2
3 - 4 Hours
Gain = 3,100'
4 Miles
50 - 60 lbs
DAY 3
3 Hours
Gain = 2,000'
2 Miles
50 - 60 lbs
DAY 4
12 + Hours
Round Trip
Gain = 5,000'
Loss = 5,000'
8 Miles
Round Trip
20 - 25 lbs
DAY 5
3 Hours
Loss = 5,000'
6 Miles
50 - 60 lbs

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.


 

Acclimatization

Excellent physical conditioning significantly increases your ability to acclimatize. Climbers in excellent physical condition simply have more energy to commit to the acclimatization process throughout the days and nights of the ascent, allowing their bodies to adjust to the altitude more easily.

While the key to climbing high is proper acclimatization, this climb effectively moves up and down the mountain at a rate that exceeds our body’s ability to adjust (acclimate) to the high altitude. This is true whether a program spends 2 days or 5 days on the upper mountain (elevations above 10,000 feet). During our short climb, our bodies simply do not have the time to completely adjust to the altitude, and because of this short stay, our bodies do not typically succumb to altitude’s ill effects. In short, climbers generally experience the mild but uncomfortable, yet normal, symptoms of their bodies beginning the adjustment process. While climbers will feel better rested on the slightly longer programs, fitness remains the key factor in a climber’s performance.

In addition, physical performance at altitude is often related to how well you have taken care of yourself throughout the hours, days and weeks prior to summit day. Arriving healthy and well-rested, maintaining proper hydration and caloric intake, and protecting against unnecessary heat loss (staying warm) are usually key factors in an individual’s success on a short-term visit to altitude.

 

What is the Guide-to Client Ratio on this program? We use a 1 guide per 2 climber ratio on the Emmons Glacier route.

What is the maximiun group size? The maximum group size of any program anywhere on Mt. Rainier is 12 individuals, including guides.