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Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir

Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir

The Expedition Skills Seminar - Muir is an instructional mountaineering course with a summit attempt via the Ingraham Glacier/Disappointment Cleaver route.


  • A day of foundational skills training at Rainer BaseCamp in Ashford and 5 days of extensive technical training while climbing Mt. Rainier's classic route.
  • Climb to Camp Muir with minimal gear as much of the team equipment (shelter, cooking equipment, fuel, ropes, anchors, etc.) is already stored there.
  • Utilize the mountain hut at Camp Muir (10,060'), to allow for more hours of daily training.
  • Improve your chances of reaching the summit with a flexible itinerary, allowing the team to select the best day to make a summit attempt.


Our Expedition Skills Seminar – Muir has been the standard of excellence for mountaineering seminars for well over forty years. Based out of the climbers' hut at Camp Muir at 10,060' on Mt. Rainier, days are spent on nearby glaciers developing mountaineering skills such as snow & ice anchors, crevasse rescue, ice climbing, fixed line travel, belaying and other technical skills, before making a summit bid. The program's flexible itinerary allows for our guides to plan the summit bid depending on the best weather conditions and the team's strength.

The Expedition Skills Seminar – Muir is offered at the beginning and end of each Mt. Rainier climbing season, allowing us to feel as though we “have the mountain to ourselves.” Expedition Skills Seminar – Muir programs in May and June feature higher snow packs, avalanche forecasting, and a direct climbing route. On our September Expedition Skills Seminar – Muir we navigate Mt. Rainier's late season crevasse ridden glaciers and experience mild days and cool evenings.

Our Expedition Skills Seminars are comprehensive training courses designed to educate climbers to the mountaineering skills needed to tackle the world's greatest peaks. Successful completion of the Expedition Skill Seminar - Muir will make you eligible for many of our expeditions around the world, including Denali, and provides you with a foundation for other major glaciated mountains.


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.

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


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.

Climber Reviews

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The guides were truly top notch. They were excellent, engaged, friendly, and very knowledgeable. Felt very safe the whole time. Felt like I learned a lot about mountaineering.
Carlo C.

Finally getting deep into the glacier/crevasse travel.
Jeff K.

An amazing summit attempt in difficult conditions with the leadership of unbelievably skilled guides.
Alex P.

I enjoyed how everybody - guides and climbers - interacted as a team. Nobody was an outsider and it made the trip very enjoyable.
Jon W.

Meeting the guides and other participants, how our team came together as one big cohesive group, getting to spend a whole week with everyone and more relaxed pace at Camp Muir, learning some new skills and putting it all together. And of course just being surrounded by the beauty of Mt Rainier for a whole week!
Dawn G.

Of course the summit was the pinnacle of my trip but I have to say I enjoyed every second of the Muir seminar. The anchor and crevasse rescue training was extremely interesting and it taught me skills that I will use in all my future climbs. We also lucked out by having a great group of climbers, several of whom I am already planning future trips with!
Lewis B.

Favorite part was the guides and chance to summit.
William B.

All of the people at RMI were great to work with and learn from.
Joseph W.

Working with a great team of guides who actually enjoy working with each other.
Tom S.

I'm happiest in the mountains
Randy S.

I enjoyed the depth of the training and that we were able to apply that training directly to summiting the mountain. I also enjoyed the guides sharing their experiences and chatting with us on our level.
Kevin S.

Our summit night and day was absolutely incredible - no wind and perfect weather. I also LOVED the crevasse rescue practice, especially having the opportunity to be in a crevasse. This is not something that the average human being has the opportunity to experience. All of the learning was absolutely fantastic and useful, as well, as I plan to continue to climb with RMI each year.
George N.

The guides made the trip very enjoyable. Also we had a great group of guys. Also really liked going into the crevasse.
Ben R.

The guides, the people and the feeling of empowerment after getting down the mountain.
Ted S.

Working with and learning from the extremely informed guides. I especially enjoyed crevasse rescue and summit day. Overall, this was an amazing experience.
Nathan P.

The skills learned on the Muir seminar. The closeness of the group.
David W.

Brent and his crew filled our days and evenings with a great, wide-ranging program. By Friday morning, I was beat, both physically and mentally. (A good thing.) What I appreciated most was the encouragement that the guides offered me regarding my capabilities for this tough sport. I *do* have an interest in more challenging climbs. Before this seminar, I wasn't sure I'd be up to that task. Today, I am.
Jeff T.

I enjoyed our Thursday activities, getting out on the glacier and working on skills. The weather really played a big part in our climb so the break in the weather was great. I really was disappointed in not getting a shot at the summit. This is my second attempt. But I do understand about the weather.
Jeff S.

For me to come off a trip where we were weathered in nearly the whole time and still exclaim to my friends and family that it was fabulous says an enormous amount about your program and staff. I learned a ton. Our group in general remained very very positive despite 100+ mph winds and lots of precip. THANKS.
Hansi H.

I came to this program with only backpacking experience and was able to climb Mt. Rainier due to the competence and care of the guides. Because of their efforts, I was able to enjoy a wonderful life moment. In an way it is hard to be "rookie" at age 62, but the guides were patient and understanding. I also enjoyed the company of my fellow climbers.
Tom P.

The guides were great.
Randy S.

Learning the skills I never would have picked up on my own. Getting to the top was pretty awesome too!
Brian M.

Learning mountaineering skills and spending time chatting with guides at camp Muir. Gaining the summit was cool but I would have enjoyed it regardless.
Mike M.

The people and the great weather
George S.

It was fun, challenging, hard work and rewarding - a great combination and highly addictive.
Lindsay N.

Hard to describe or explain. Just an amazing time from start to finish.
Dave J.

The whole thing! Absolutely awesome experience. Casey Grom was not on the evaluation form but he was our other senior guide. Casey and Elias were both simply fantastic, first rate all around. Safe, very very knowledgable, great sense of humor and ever supportive, these two guys are awesome. You should give them a raise!
Matt E.

Self arrest training
David R.

The guides
Brandon B.

Learning. I could have found a guide or a group to drag me along and help me reach a level where I could summit a peak. But with this program, I established a solid foundation for adding to my knowledge in the future, feeling confident that I learned the basics the right way.
Mark M.

Intensity level was just right for having fun and forgetting about work.
Chris D.

The guides and the team
Dean D.

Learning from the guides.
Bruce B.

I enjoyed the challenge of the climb the most. I also enjoyed learning for all the guides and the support and encouragement everyone showed eachother. A great environment to learn in.
Meredith M.

The total experience including the challenging weather. The trip was exactly what I expected for a September trip but it seemed to surprise the rest of the group. I enjoyed it immensely.
Tim R.

Summit climb; crevasse rescue training.
Matthew L.

Being in the mountains and meeting new friends
Dan L.

Summit day was absolutely beautiful with phenomenal climbing conditions. The climb from Camp Muir to the summit and back was even better than I imagined. With the outstanding weather conditions, I'm sure we didn't suffer enough to have "earned the summit".
James B.

The guiding team made it such a comfortable experience.
Josh H.

The guides really made this a great trip. The weather was bad and we didn't get to make a summit attempt, but the experience was still amazing because the guides were so great. I learned a lot and really enjoyed the experience.
Angie D.

The people. The guides and the clients and the camaraderie formed as a group.
Rachel M.

Every waking moment. Beauty beyond my imagination and unforgettable camaraderie.
Gary B.

the suffering
Luke F.

Applying climbing concepts and training to the winter alpine environment.
Jared R.

  • Upcoming Climbs

  • Price
    6 days
    Level 3
Table of Contents
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Day 1


8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.: Meet at 8:00 a.m. at Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford, WA. Please dress casually and bring your climbing equipment and clothing.

We begin our Technical Training Day with a welcome and introduction of team members and guides. Throughout the day, the guides provide a focused introduction to a variety of topics. These include a detailed equipment discussion and gear check; an introduction to safety practices such as use of helmets, harnesses, and avalanche transceivers; route planning and preparation, instruction regarding Leave No Trace practices and environmental considerations; and a discussion/demonstration of knots, anchors and the first steps toward understanding crevasse rescue. These skills prepare us for our adventure on Mt. Rainier and increase the likelihood of a safe, successful ascent of the mountain.

Please make your own arrangements for the day's meals and a place to stay in the Ashford area for this evening.


Day 2


Meet at 8:15 a.m. at Rainier BaseCamp. After a short team meeting, a shuttle takes our group to the trailhead at Paradise.

The hike from Paradise (5,400') to Camp Muir (10,060') is nearly 4.5 miles, and takes most of the day. As we ascend we work on the foundational skills that make us more efficient and capable climbers. These include pressure breathing and using the rest step, dressing appropriately for the weather and workload, kicking steps and climbing in balance on snow, and efficient pacing that allows us to climb comfortably.

By late afternoon we reach the small mountain hut at Camp Muir that serves as our base for the week. It rests at the edge of several of Mt. Rainier's glaciers. Views of the Cowlitz, Ingraham, Nisqually and Paradise glaciers are inspiring, and the setting is unmatched as an instructional arena. During the evenings we can forget about the wind, wet and cold, and enjoy the basic comforts of the hut.


Day 3 - 5


We learn and practice various mountaineering skills throughout the week. This starts with ice axe use and cramponing techniques, and moves on to more advanced skills such as anchor placements, various self and team crevasse rescue techniques, steep technical ice climbing, belays, rappelling, knots, route finding and fixed rope travel. Evening discussions include such topics as mountain weather, medicine for mountaineering, altitude wellness, equipment and any requested topics that spark your interest. Some of our itinerary is determined by such factors as the weather and route conditions, but much of it is chosen in consideration of climbers' interests. We intentionally keep the itinerary flexible and guarantee you that there is far more to teach than there is time to teach it!

On summit day we don ropes, crampons, helmets, and grab our ice axes. The route begins with a rising traverse across the Cowlitz Glacier and ascends the pumiced switchbacks of Cathedral Gap. From here, we gain the Ingraham Glacier and ascend either the Ingraham Glacier or Disappointment Cleaver routes; the actual route choice is determined by many factors and is left to the professional discretion of your guides. The steeper section of the Ingraham Headwall or Disappointment Cleaver is the physical crux of the route. After reaching the upper mountain, we ascend the higher slopes of Mt. Rainier, navigating the crevassed glaciers to reach the summit.

At 14,410', Mt. Rainier is the highest point in Washington. The summit is spectacular with panoramic views from the Pacific to the eastern side of the Cascades when the weather is clear. A large crater dominates the summit, with steam rising out of the cavernous summit vents and the bare ground near the summit is often warm to the touch.

After reaching the summit, we descend back to Camp Muir. The descent typically requires half the amount of time of the ascent but requires significant effort as we retrace our route down the mountain. The duration of the climb depends on many variables including snow conditions, the time of the year, the route conditions, the weather, and temperature among others. It is a long and challenging, but rewarding day!


Day 6


On the final day of the program we have the option for additional training before we pack our gear and begin our descent to Paradise and return to Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford. After all the gear is unpacked, we gather as a team to celebrate our adventure.

The duration of the climb depends on many variables including snow conditions, the time of year, the route conditions, the weather during our climb, the temperature, etc. Those variables often affect our arrival time to Ashford, 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 program.



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What You’ll Need

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.

  • RMI Climbers Get 10% Off
    All New Equipment At
    Whittaker Mountaineering

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List


      Not required for this trip.  Climbers' hut(s) are equipped with pads.

    • 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.


      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.


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


      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.

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

    • 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.

    • 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.


      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 all season long and are particularly useful for climbers with colder feet.  Appropriate leather boots (stiff-soled, insulated and designed to hold a crampon) are appropriate for warmer weather climbs.
      The freezing level forecasted for the time of your climb will be the best guideline for which boot to wear.  A freezing level below 10,000' will dictate the use of plastic boots.  A freezing level above 10,000' will provide the option for either plastic or leather boots.
      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.


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

    • 2 - 3 WATER BOTTLES

      Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.


      We recommend lining your backpack with garbage bags to keep items in your backpack completely dry.


      Please use the Zip-Lock as your personal trash bag.

    • CAMERA
    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Arrange lodging in Ashford.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Arrange transportation to Ashford.

    • Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!

Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: shelter, climbing ropes, sleeping pad, 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.

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What is the Climber-to-Guide Ratio on this program?

Our climber-to-guide ratio is 3:1 on the Disappointment Cleaver and Ingraham Glacier routes.

What is the maximum group size?

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


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