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Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise

Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise

RMI's Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise is an instructional mountaineering course ascending the Paradise Glacier to Camp Muir for a summit attempt via the Disappointment Cleaver route.


  • A day of foundational skills training and 5 days of extensive practical training while ascending Mt. Rainier's Paradise Glacier and to the classic Disappointment Cleaver route.
  • An expedition-style climb allows us to establish successive tented camps as we ascend the Paradise Glacier in preparation for our summit bid.
  • The diverse terrain of the Paradise Glacier is ideal for learning mountaineering skills and techniques on a program suited for novice mountaineers.


Our Expedition Skills Seminar on the Paradise Glacier places emphasis on developing foundational mountaineering skills while ascending a less travelled route to our high camp: Camp Muir. Establishing tented camps, we ascend the Paradise Glacier using the mountain's terrain to learn mountaineering skills such as snow & ice anchors, crevasse rescue, ice climbing, fixed line travel, belaying and other technical skills. Upon reaching our high camp, we will make our summit attempt on Mt. Rainier's classic Disappointment Cleaver route.

RMI's Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise is ideal for climbers interested in building their mountaineering skills while climbing the rarely traveled Paradise Glacier. The diverse terrain and relaxed itinerary provide excellent training opportunities.

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 - Paradise 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 interactions with my fellow climbers affected me the most, and made the experience about more than simply getting up and down the mountain. The way that the guides encouraged this relationship building through a shared learning experience made this seminar really special for me, and has inspired me to keep climbing in whatever capacities I am able in the future.
Patrick H.

Knowledgeable and passionate guides. this is exactly what i wanted out of this trip
William R.

Obviously, summit day was the best, but I appreciated the skills I learned. It's what I signed up for and RMI delivered on the knowledge.
Ryan J.

Zeb, Bryan and Pepper were first class guides. Extremely professional and attentive, yet making every minute of the trip so enjoyable. I would highly recommend this team to anyone!
John M.

I enjoyed the guides and the people on this trip. That made the trip what it was. The skills learned were very helpful for future climbing and being able to reach the summit was terrific, but without the great group of guys on this trip it would not have been the same.
Nick B.

I gained experience with many of the skills required for mountaineering.
Joe D.

the guides were awesome. did a great job of teaching and getting us to the summit
Brian H.

My goal for this trip was not just to climb and summit Rainier but to learn skills that would take me further in mountaineering and to build my confidence on harder routes. While summit day and standing on top was truly one of the most intense and rewarding experiences of my life, the entire process was amazing. My three guides were patient, knowledgable, had great senses of humor, were tough with me when they needed to be and inspired confidence. I felt completely safe with them and they helped me overcome alot of my hesitancy and fear on steep terrain. After having some less than pleasant experiences with instruction here in Colorado, my days on the mountain with Leon, Robby, and Chase were fantastic. On summit day, my rope team leader Chase did a great job. I knew if I just listened to his instruction, I would be fine. We came down on some slippery, slushy snow which is my most feared terrain and following Chase, it was difficult but went great. Back here in Colorado, I've tested my new confidence on a couple of routes I would have found myself fumbling and sliding on in the past-I put my new lessons and advice to work and cruised down without a problem. I've been raving about RMI since I've returned and hope to continue my climbing adventures with you!
Elizabeth G.

Learned an incredible amount of skills in a short trip. The guides we awesome and I loved being on the mountain.
John L.

All of the learning we did. I loved knowing more about techniques and details of how to mountaineer.
Mike S.

I most enjoyed sharing this climbing experience with the other members of the team. Time spent in the mountains is stolen time and I couldn't have had a better group of guides to have shared that with. Thank you RMI.
Michael B.

Guides were professional, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic.
Matthew B.

I enjoyed the ice climbing and anchor building techniques learned during our crevasse rescue portion. I enjoyed learning how to efficiently move through the mountains.
Nicholas F.

Summit day was long and hard -- I really enjoyed being challenged and encouraged to accomplish something that was out of my comfort and experience zones.
Ken K.

I enjoyed the interaction with the guides and the other people on the trip. I think we had a really nice group of people. Of course, I enjoyed getting to the top and back down too. That was the icing on the cake. I really liked the crevasse training and the ice climbing. Really, the whole trip was great. I don't have any complaints.
Jean K.

The guides
Malcolm F.

Adventuring with my son
Anne B.

Fellow climbers. Views
Gabe P.

Guides and the route.
Richard C.

  • Upcoming Climbs

      • July 3, 2016
      • Full
      • July 10, 2016
      • Full
      • July 24, 2016
      • Full
  • 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


After an initial team meeting at 8:15 a.m. our shuttle departs for Paradise, and our climb begins.

We hike from Paradise (5,400') to the base of the Paradise Glacier where we establish our first camp at approximately 7,400'. As we move up towards camp 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 when on snow, and efficient pacing that allows us to climb comfortably.


Day 3 - 4


Based out of our camp at 7,400', the Paradise Glacier is our classroom for the next two days. We learn and practice various mountaineering skills, beginning with ice axe use and cramponing techniques, and moving 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 lectures in camp include group discussions on mountain weather, medicine for mountaineering, altitude wellness, equipment and any requested topics that spark your interest.


Day 5


Today we ascend the Paradise Glacier to Camp Muir (10,060') in preparation for our summit bid. We arrive early in the afternoon and after establishing camp, pack and prepare for the big day ahead.


Day 6


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. Once back at Camp Muir, we break camp, descend 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

    • 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 12-point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering are ideal. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot.


      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: 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.

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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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