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Expedition Skills Seminar - Paradise

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  • Show Trip Info

    $3085 *
    6 days
    Level 3

    *We require that all climbers and guides have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series (1 or 2 doses depending on manufacturer) to join our programs.


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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.

NPS Authorized ConcessionerAuthorized Concessioner

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

Address comments to:
Superintendent | Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

These services are operated in an area under jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior. No discrimination by segregation or other means in the furnishing of services or privileges on the basis of race, creed, color, ancestry, sex, age, disabling condition or national origin is permitted in the use of this facility. Violation of this prohibition are punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Climate Change

OffsettersAll of our climbs in Mt. Rainier National Park are 100% carbon neutral. We have partnered with Offsetters, Canada's leading carbon management solutions provider, to purchase offsets for our greenhouse gas emissions. Their projects are verified and validated by third parties to ensure that the emission reductions are real, additional, and permanent, so we know that our contribution is making a real difference.

By supporting this project, we prevent the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions that were generated by our operations from being emitted somewhere else. These offsets allow us to achieve our goal of sustainability and further promote responsible environmental practices.

Contact Us

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 [email protected].

Climber Reviews

Filter By
I loved everything! I know that RMI is one of the best guiding services when it comes to teaching good mountaineering techniques, but what really surprised me was how great of a group dynamic they were able to create! Our team truly did feel like a team.
Johanna M.

Guides were very impressive, and the team serendipitously was a very wonderful mix of individuals from different walks of life.
Duke L.

The sense of comradely cultivated by guides staff.
Andrew I.

insane guides. Amazing group Was so so about summiting with a bunch of people i had never met before, came out of it with feeling quite the opposite with new friends and connections
Katie W.

I enjoyed learning a lot about mountaineering, and I enjoyed summiting - all of my hard work paid off!
Jeanne K.

If the rest of your guides are as awesome as Grayson, Seth and Emma then you are doing an amazing job of hiring the right people. I would be glad to go on another expedition with any of them. Keep up the great work!
Shane M.

I thoroughly enjoyed climbing with RMI. I felt very safe with the guides and truly had an amazing time climbing Mt. Rainier last week. I am very pleased with everything RMI had to offer, from the preparation of the climb until the final day of the expedition when we were driven back to Ashford.
Kurt W.

This was wonderful to share with other women. Thanks for making that possible. I can’t describe how important outdoor connections with other women are.
Kathy C.

I enjoyed the camaraderie of an all women's trip with women who had similar interests. I also liked how the trip pushed me out of my comfort zone. I learned new things every day. It was a great trip.
Jennifer A.

I loved being able to connect with women who had similar interests while learning from truly best in class guides about mountaineering.
Kirsten H.

I told some of the guides that I think I can become the first Puerto Rican mountaineer (as far as I know, there are none). That would be a huge feat considering I was born and raised in the Caribbean, and snow/ice travel is not our definition of fun. I hope I can make that dream come true, and now I feel I have a few more skills and definitely a lot more background knowledge on what it would take to make it happen. I'll be back for more!
Alexandra G.

Learning new skills. The team was excellent at teaching. I recently came off a 12 day course with a competitor of yours, and nothing against my other guides, but I learned more from your team in 1/2 the time.
Dave B.

The guides were awesome, which made the whole experience wonderful and makes me want to do more trips with RMI! Aside from them, I loved waking up on summit day and starting off on the bid under the stars - magical experience (and, of course, the sunrise).
Amanda M.

I enjoyed learning the skills required to summit a glaciated peak. All instructors were very knowledgeable, and helped us make connections between the skills, and function of mountaineering.
Mark T.

I really appreciate the patience and the skills all our guides have. Some people are good at what they do but are incapable or imparting knowledge to others. That is not the case with out seminar. All of our guides, are very good at teaching us and making us comfortable and safe throughout our entire skills.
Irene D.

Knowledge and ability of the guides - they were all fantastic!
Renee M.

Honestly - what draws me to the mountains is the beauty and solitude, but with RMI the most enjoyable thing was the people :)
John M.

Trip was great. Knot tying and crevasse rescue were highlights of the seminar. The entire climb was great.
Joe F.

I developed a true appreciation for mountaineering and now plan to do more expeditions- Cheers to out guides for instilling that passion for the outdoors with us, it was contagious.
Ryan L.

Loved the long time on the mountain and the mix of slow ascent to Camp Muir, then the long push of summit day.
Brian K.

The best trip ever! Will recommend to all who want to experience the world of mountaineering.
Robert J.

Great chemistry among climbers and guides. Small climbing group, so had lots of individual attention. Guides are knowledgable and attentive.
Jeff G.

I really enjoyed the pace and flexibility of the training - we covered exactly what we needed to learn and so much more. I came away from the seminar with so much more confidence in my glacial skills, I cant wait to apply everything to my big mountain trips in the future.
Lynda G.

This changes every time I think about it, but I met a lot of great people (guides included) and experienced a ton of adventure...I'll take that anytime.
Casey K.

I enjoyed the crevasse rescue day the most, the ice climbing. And our guides, they really made the difference.
Martin L.

Jumping into a crevasse, enjoyable guides, learning how to build anchor stations and seeing their strength
Tommy M.

The guides were the best part of the trip and made the whole expedition exponentially more enjoyable.
Matthew V.

I learned an incredible amount, and the guides & RMI staff did an excellent job with the atmosphere and camaraderie. The people were the best part.
Jeffrey T.

The guides were awesome. They were very experienced and very knowledgeable.
Brian E.

Summiting. Learning crevasse rescue and ice climbing while camping on the isolated Paradise glacier for 3 days.
Colin M.

Easy going attitudes of the guides, office and facilities staff. No one seamed stressed out :-). The free Wi-Fi at the RMI compound helped immensely.
Keith L.

Thanks for providing this opportunity! I feel like the skills I learned in this program have opened up a number of possibilities for myself going forward! I look forward to going with you guys to Denali next year!
Kirk S.

I can't imagine a more complimentary team of guides. The system of instruction and guidance they provided was fantastic. They worked really well together. The trust, respect and confidence they demonstrated in each other certainly carried over to all of us. My favorite activity of the the seminar was the crevasse rescue day.It was great to have a place to store clothes/gear we weren't bringing on the seminar with us. Thank you for that!
Patrick C.

I learned much more than expected on this trip. The hands on instruction was very helpful and follow up feedback from the guides in practice reinforced the teachings.
Scott R.

I enjoyed the entire seminar experience from learning, training and climbing; but enjoyed using those skills on the summit climb the most.
Scott C.

I enjoyed a life changing experience.
Kourtney d.

tough question to answer as I don't know where to even start. It was an incredible experience that I will never forget and I am now afraid I have a bit of a mountain addiction that I am going to have to explain to my wife. (the jalapeo burgers at the bar and grill were pretty amazing too!)
John B.

Great guides. Very friendly. Would highly recommend to other people!
Gurprataap S.

Excellent guides. I can't say enough good things about them.
Kristofer S.

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.

The way RMI really owned the mountain. There was an emergency on the snow field that the guides immediately stepped up. Leave No Trace was taken seriously. Our group really gelled and nobody wanted to leave!!
Amanda B.

The scenery. Since I had a chance to get a view of the Alps on a trip to Germany a couple of years ago, I had been dying for a chance to get up on some snow-capped mountains and see what it looks like to be up in the clouds. I've always had a fascination with alpine scenery, and you don't really get much of that in Virginia, so, yeah, definitely scenery, and also definitely the people. You go and say to someone in Virginia that you want to train to climb mountains, they look at you like you've lost your mind as they plan another trip to a local vineyard where undoubtedly, some Dave Matthews Band knockoff is playing acoustic sets. Being there in Washington, with people who share the same interests as you (guides included), it's a fantastic feeling, and I'm sure I'll be in contact with my guides and team members for a long time to come.
Taylor P.

The challenge coupled with the guides we met on the trip were by far the best part of the trip. The mountain itself was far more challenging than I think we had anticipated, and so reaching the summit was fantastic. The guides are the people that got us there, kept us safe and became our friend over the 6 days.
Hayley W.

In my opinion there is no other option.
Bradley W.

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

I enjoyed the training and found the learning experience to be very interesting. Bevelling the ground to set up camp, crevasse rescue training,tying knots, etc. Of course if was very nice to reach the summit as well. I listed the recommend RMI as low because honestly I dont think I have any friends that would want to do real mountaineering.
David C.

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.

The experience was awesome! I am surprised and thrilled with the amount of learning that occurred during the six days spent with the RMI Team. From knot tying to avalanche awareness the days were filled with a wealth of information that I slowly absorbed from the guides. Each guide had different experiences to share, which made enriched the experience on the Mountain. The learning combined with a perfect amount of work made for a week well spent on a Rainier Skills Seminar. I feel more confident and prepared to spend many more days, and nights, in the mountains.
Anne F.

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.

Our guides were excellent. Gear check on day one was extremely helpful to ensure we were adequately prepared for the trip.
Thomas M.

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

Learning various climbing techniques. The whole trip was just great. Guides and the things they showed us gave me confidence that I can take the step to doing more technical climbs.
Jon H.

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.

Practicing the skills, such as crevasse rescue, ice climbing, cramponing, etc. And working with an exceptional group of guides and clients, who made every day a fun adventure, even when we were working hard.
Shaun A.

Experiencing mountaineering expedition life with Adam, Erik, and Leah. What a triple crown! The Paradise team. I know its by the luck of the draw, but what great people I was blessed with to share this great experience!
Lew S.

Adventuring with my son
Anne B.

Learning big mountain skills from professionals like Garrett, Steve and Andy. Those guys are impressive!
Paul E.

Fellow climbers. Views
Gabe P.

Guides and the route.
Richard C.

  • Upcoming Climbs

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  • Price
    6 days
    Level 3

    *We require that all climbers and guides have received the primary COVID-19 vaccination series (1 or 2 doses depending on manufacturer) to join our programs.

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 in Ashford at 8:15 a.m. After the team meeting we load the shuttle and drive to Paradise.

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.

Approach To The Paradise Glacier

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.

Training On The Paradise Glacier

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.

Climb To Camp Muir

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.

Summit Day

Summit Day

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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!

  • Whittaker Mountaineering 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 when they use code RMI2023 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.

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

Equipment List

    • Image of 85+ LITER BACKPACK

      Your pack must be large enough for your layers, climbing gear, and food, as well as a portion of your tent and your share of group equipment. The pack volume you choose depends on your experience and the quality of your gear; if you opt for a smaller pack, practice packing and make sure you can fit all of your gear with room to spare. You will not need a separate summit pack.


      A full-length closed cell foam pad, used in combination with the inflatable sleeping pad.

    • Image of ICE AXE
      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.


      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. If you rent a harness, a triple-action carabiner is included.


      Used for clipping into the climbing rope. Harness rentals include this carabiner.


      Transceivers are worn on the upper mountain during your summit attempt. If you rent a transceiver fresh batteries will be provided.


      For practicing fixed line travel. You guides will also provide one to practice with. Most people prefer an ascender designed for their weak hand, leaving their strong hand free to hold their ice axe. For example, a right-handed person would use a left-handed ascender.

    • Image of ' ACCESSORY CORD

      7 mm cordelette in one continuous length OR one 240cm dyneema sling.


      Cloth or surgical face mask for use in situations where 6 feet of distance from others cannot be maintained.

    • Image of GLACIER GLASSES

      Glacier glasses are protective sunglasses that provide close to 100% frame coverage (wrap-around frames and side shields ensure no light can enter from the top, bottom, and sides of the glasses) and transmit less than 10% of visual light.

    • Image of 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.


      Helpful in keeping blowing dust out of the eyes at night. If you wear prescription glasses, make sure they can fit over.

  • Hands

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

  • Guide Pick™

  • 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, softshell, down, and synthetic options.

  • Guide Pick™


      Your expedition-style heavy parka must extend below the waist, have an insulated hood, and be able to fit over the rest of your upper body layers. While the parka is worn primarily at rest breaks on summit day, it also serves as an emergency garment if needed. We recommend down rather than synthetic fill.

  • 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.

  • Guide Pick™


      A light weight, 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.


      Boots are one of the most important pieces of mountaineering gear, and bringing the right pair is critical to your safety and success on Mt. Rainier. You will need one pair of boots for this climb, and the type of boot you wear will be dictated by freezing level. If the freezing level is below 10,000 feet, your guide will require the use of double boots. If the freezing level is above 10,000 feet, you may use either single or double boots. We consistently see freezing levels below 10,000 feet in April, May, June, and September, though periods of cold weather are not uncommon in July and August.

      If this is your first time climbing, we highly recommend renting boots from our partner company Whittaker Mountaineering. Mountaineering boots do not break in like normal footwear so there is not much advantage in buying them unless you want to see how they feel on your feet before the climb or plan on doing more mountaineering in the future. If you rent, you can switch between single and double boots the day of your climb.


      Our guides carry comprehensive medical kits, so keep yours small and light. We recommend a selection of adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment, Moleskin and blister care, medical tape and/or duct tape, basic pain reliever, and personal medications.

    • Image of MEALS & SNACKS

      You are responsible for providing your own meals and snack food in town and while on Mt. Rainier. See the Food tab for suggestions and quantities.

    • Image of BOWL

      Packable plastic bowl. Collapsable models can work but must be handled carefully to avoid unintended collapsing. A lid is a great feature.

    • Image of INSULATED MUG

      Insulated outdoor-style mug. We recommed a model with a removable lid, which helps retain heat and prevent spills. You may also choose to use 0.5L insulated bottle or a 0.5L nalgene.

    • Image of SPOON OR SPORK

      A spoon or spork made of durable plastic or anodized metal. A long-handled spoon can be nice, especially if eating from a freeze-dried meal pouch.

    • Image of WATER BOTTLES

      One-liter water bottles with wide mouths made of co-polyester (BPA-free plastic). No hydration systems as they tend to freeze on the upper mountain and be hard to fill. Cold water for drinking is provided.


      Heavy-duty trash compacter bags for use as waterproof pack/stuff sack liners. You can also use a a waterproof pack liner.


      Include toilet paper, hand sanitizer, toothbrush and toothpaste, and wet wipes. Bring a quantity appropriate to the duration of your trip.

    • Image of SUNSCREEN

      We recommend small tubes of SPF 30 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • Image of EAR PLUGS

      Spare prescription glasses if you wear contact lenses/eyeglasses.

    • Image of CAMERA (OPTIONAL)

      Many smartphones have excellent cameras. Action cameras, small point-and-shoots, and compact dSLRs are lightweight and work well at altitude.

    • Image of TRAVEL CLOTHES

      We recommend bringing a selection of comfortable clothing to wear while traveling as well as pre- and post-trip.

    • 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.


There are three main categories that generally prevent climbers from reaching the summit: weather, route conditions, and individual fitness. 


In an average year, 21% of our climbs do not reach the summit due to weather, route conditions, or both. 
Avalanche hazards, high winds, poor visibility, rain, and snow, can singly or in conjunction with the other elements, impact our ability to safely climb. Your guides are charged with managing the risks encountered on the climb and maintaining a reasonable margin of safety. 

If weather conditions reduce our margin of safety to an unacceptable level, we will no longer be able to climb. This may mean we turn around, or we may not even ascend above camp.


On Mt. Rainier, guides work on the route continually throughout the climbing season. Route work involves rerouting to avoid hazards. This can include overhead (icefall and rockfall) and underfoot (crevasses and steep slopes) hazards. As the route becomes more complex and steeper throughout the season, route work can include kicking steps, chopping, shoveling, setting running belays, fixed lines, and ladders. Some changes occur daily on the route and may necessitate a quick fix by your guide team during a climb. A larger reroute may be needed multiple times throughout our season, requiring a guide team to work multiple days to establish a new route. 

Generally speaking, the route is never closed or “out,” and there is usually a way to the top. However, it might not have the appropriate margin of safety needed for our climbers (it might require more advanced mountaineering skills and experience levels).  When this happens, all the guide services on the mountain coordinate resources to establish a new route. Like mountain weather, we manage but can’t control the climbing route, and it is not unheard of for the route to be unclimbable for multiple days. While the route work is being done, we will ascend with our climbers as high as is safely possible and appropriate on the existing route. 


Fitness is the one factor that you have the most control of, and that has the highest impact on your success, safety, and fun. 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. The length of the climbing route dictates the required fitness for the climb. We do not have fast or slow rope teams – our teams move at a steady pace determined by the duration and complexity of the given route. 

Climbers do have control over their ability to affect their mental fortitude to some extent, and their fitness, to a very large extent. Therefore, you can maximize your chances of a successful summit climb by focusing on individual fitness. Over 50 years of guiding climbers on Mt. Rainier has shown us that the following factors have the largest influence on a climber’s ability to reach the summit. 

Age: We can’t control it; we get older every year. Simply put, the older you are, the more fit you need to be. As we age, our max heart rate decreases, leaving us with a smaller heart rate reserve. Hard efforts feel harder, and we can’t sustain the same intensity efforts for as long. Focusing on your fitness regime is the best way to compensate.

Body Mass Index (BMI): Your BMI is not as significant as your age and is not the best representation of fitness. However, if we use BMI as a corollary for whether an individual is at a healthy weight, slightly overweight, or significantly overweight, then BMI data shows that climbers with a BMI in the normal range (18.5 - 24.9) will have a better chance of reaching the summit than climbers with a higher BMI.

Aerobic Threshold: Our aerobic threshold is the level of intensity (or heart rate) at which your metabolism switches from a sustainable level of effort in which your muscles can replenish their energy stores at the same rate they burn them to one in which they are burning more than they can replenish. Beyond this intensity, our performance is necessarily time limited. Performance in endurance sports is highly reliant on Aerobic Threshold. Your Aerobic Threshold can be changed significantly with training.

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