Mount Rainier 4 Day Emmons Climb
The Alpine Ascents four-day Rainier climb of the Emmons Glacier is great for climbers with prior experience on glaciers (and those who have completed self-arrest training) who want a more relaxed climbing schedule that allows for an additional night to enjoy the mountain. The Emmons summit climb is more difficult than our Muir climb – this route is far less traveled and involves more overall elevation gain as well as mileage.
This instructional course/summit climb travels as a fully contained climbing expedition (four guides and eight climbers). Each person carries his/her own climbing kit, as well as some of the group’s camping and cooking equipment. This means that our pack weight is also significantly heavier (65 lbs.) than climber’s packs on the Muir route (40 lbs.).
One element of this route that distinguishes it from our Muir climb (and our Kautz climb) is that the average slope angle is not as steep as the upper slopes of the other routes. Climbers will also cross less rock on this route, making for an overall easier technical climb. We will ascend the glaciated slopes roped up in teams of three: two climbers and one guide per rope. Commonly, past climbers have remarked that they really enjoyed being able to spend the night at High Camp after a long summit day. One of our most well-liked Rainier programs, the Emmons climb allows you to encounter fewer people, achieve more vertical gain, and travel farther on the largest glacier in the contiguous United States than you would in our other Rainier climbing programs.
Ability to carry 60-lb. pack required
Climbing Skill Level
This route is for those climbers who have successfully completed our Mount Baker 3 Day climb, Mount Rainier 3 Day climb, or equivalent. This four-day trip is extremely rigorous, and being in excellent physical condition is mandatory. One day of skills review is included in the climb. Please note, the guide retains the right, at any point, to determine whether a climber is sufficiently fit to continue the climb.
I have now participated in 4 AAI climbs in Washington. I think the program is great overall. The guides I have had have been both professional and personable resulting in a sense of confidence and safety regarding the climb as well as fun. I have heard a few anecdotal stories from fellow climbers about other companies and those experiences were lesser than any of my AAI experiences.
Mount Rainier 4 Day Emmons Climb FAQS
Please note that we will send you specific information about your climb upon registration. The following Frequently Asked Questions are meant to serve as helpful guidelines.
The best way to reserve space on a climb is to call our offices and place the deposit on a VISA/MC/AMEX. Our climbs fill quickly on a first-come, first-served basis, and registering over the phone is the best way to ensure reserving the climb dates you want. You may also submit an application by mail with a check, money order, or credit card number.
Overview: Climbers attend a mandatory gear check the day before the climb, lodge in Seattle, then meet at 6:00 a.m. the day of the climb for travel to the mountain. Climbers return to Seattle on last day of the climb. Flights home should be booked for the following morning, at the earliest.
Day before climb begins: Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 2:00 p.m. for a gear check and orientation (~2 hours).
Day 1 of Climb: Climbers meet at the Alpine Ascents office at 6:00 a.m. Alpine Ascents provides transportation to and from Mt. Rainier. (Climbers are not to drive themselves per NPS regulations.)
Last Day of Climb: Return to the Alpine Ascents Office between 7–11 p.m. on the last day of climb.
Day after climb ends: Fly home.
A mandatory gear check will take place the day before your climb at 2:00 p.m. You are required to attend this meeting so we can do a thorough gear check, provide packing suggestions, review the route we will be taking, discuss Leave No Trace practices and the National Park Mission Statement, and answer any questions you may have regarding the climb.
Location: Alpine Ascents office @ 109 West Mercer St., Seattle, WA
What to bring: Please bring your pack fully loaded with all gear listed on the Gear List. Climbers can pick up rental gear at the gear check.
Arrive in time to attend the gear check (preferably the night before the gear check in case of travel delays) and plan to depart at least one day after your climb ends. There are variables, such as weather, that make it difficult to guarantee the exact time each climb will end. You will need to be ready to go at 6:00 a.m. on the morning your climb begins.
Alpine Ascents uses the services of Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel: 1-800-727-2157 or 206-623 2157. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They are very familiar with our international and domestic programs and offer competitive prices on all domestic and international flights.
From Sea-Tac International Airport, The Shuttle Express has regular service to downtown Seattle. Cost: $21.00 (one way depending on number of riders)
Taking the Light-Rail from the airport to West Lake Station followed by a Lyft or Uber to the office is another cost effective and fast option. You can also take a Lyft, Uber, or taxi directly from the airport.
Street parking is limited to two-hour parking meters. There are numerous pay lots located near our office. Be advised, overnight parking may be difficult to secure during the summer season. Please note: Free long-term parking is generally difficult in the vicinity of Alpine Ascents. If you plan to stay in Seattle and have a car, try to arrange a taxi or ride to our office on the morning of the climb. You may store extra gear in our office until your return from the climb.
- From Interstate 5, take the Mercer Street exit and follow the signs to Seattle Center/Space Needle. (A quick right turn onto Fairview Ave., and a quick left turn onto Valley St., which becomes Broad Street.)
- After you pass the Space Needle on your right, make a right turn onto Denny Way.
- Proceed to 1st Ave. North and turn right.
- Proceed to Mercer Street and turn left.
- We are located at 109 West Mercer Street, directly across the street from Bank of America and next door to Ozzie’s Tavern.
- Street parking is limited to two-hour parking meters, though there are several pay lots near our offices.
There are several lodging options for our climbs. We meet at our office on the day of the climb at 6:00 a.m. Alpine Ascents has partnered with our neighbors, the MarQueen Hotel, located two blocks from our office. Reservations for your room should be made as soon as possible.
Rates: Reasonable by Seattle standards, however they vary by season.
If you wish to share a room with another climb participant, the MarQueen can help with those arrangements. You will need a room for the night prior to the start of your climb and for the last night of your climb. The hotel is two blocks from the Alpine Ascents office. Extra gear may be stored at the MarQueen or at our office until your return.
Staying elsewhere in downtown Seattle is another option. During the climbing season, hotels in Seattle are difficult to reserve and are a bit more expensive. You may elect to stay in any one of the numerous hotels in the area, but you will be responsible for getting to our offices by 6:00 a.m. the morning of your climb. We are a short cab ride away from most of the downtown hotels and local equipment shops. After the climb, we will return to our offices and you can return to your hotel by taxi at that point. You will need a room for the night prior to the start of your climb and for the last night of your climb. Please note: Free long-term parking is generally difficult in the vicinity of Alpine Ascents. If you plan to stay in Seattle and have a car, try to arrange a ride or taxi to our offices on the morning of the climb. You many store extra gear in our office until your return.
When you sign up for a climb, we will send you a confirmation package that includes a Gear List detailing each piece of equipment you will need. Please read your Gear List very carefully. You are required to bring every item on the list, so be as precise as possible when packing. Alpine Ascents rents quality technical equipment at reasonable rates. If you have any equipment-related questions please call us (206-378-1927). You can also email us at: Gear@AlpineAscents.com We have a full-time gear expert on staff.
Alpine Ascents also provides all tents and group climbing equipment on this climb. Before departing for the trailhead, we will check and organize personal/group gear.
You will pick up your rental gear at our office during the gear check.
The mountains of the Northwest and north coast are heavily glaciated temperate mountains. This means they are subject to highly variable weather conditions.
- Pack everything in two layers of sturdy plastic. (trash compactor bags work the best). Bring one large trash bag to completely and easily cover your pack. You should bring at least four bags.
- It is likely that you will be asked to help carry some of the group equipment, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your backpack.
You will get far more out of your climb by reading Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 6th ed., by The Mountaineers. This book provides an excellent overview of the elements involved in alpine mountaineering. Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 6 review much of the training that we will cover during the climb, and familiarity with this information in advance will greatly enhance your experience.
We run our own retail climbing shop and online Gear Shop, where all Alpine Ascents climbers receive a discount and can receive personalized advice from our gear experts.
At Alpine Ascents, we clean and check our rental boots, packs, crampons, ice axes, tents, and other items on a daily basis. We will size your gear at the gear check and changes can be made at that time. All of our gear is of the highest quality. Please note that double plastic boots do not break in.
Yes. See our Training page, but keep in mind that you are climbing a mountain and it is not easy. If you follow our physical fitness tips and do some training on your own, you should complete the climb with no problems.
For climbers who need to be escorted from the climb, there is an evacuation fee.
This four-day trip is extremely rigorous and being in excellent physical condition is mandatory.
The weight of your pack is generally 65 lbs. We invite you to check out our Emmons climb Training page. We highly recommend checking with your physician before embarking on this strenuous physical activity. We reserve the right to turn away those climbers who we determine to be in inadequate physical condition.
This climb is open to advanced beginners. A prior glacier climb is required. (Mount Baker 3 Day climnb, or equivalent training that includes a significant glaciated ascent and a day of snow school.) This four-day trip is extremely rigorous and being in excellent physical condition is mandatory. One day of skills review is included in the climb. Please note, the guide retains the right, at any point, to determine whether a climber is sufficiently fit to continue the climb.
Alpine Ascents provides breakfast and dinners (as well as stoves and tents) on this climb. Please bring a cup, bowl, and spoon. You are required to bring your own lunches (please review the Sample Menu Plan in your confirmation package). If you have any food allergies or requirements, please let us know in advance. There is a place on the application to do this. You may be asked to help carry provisions to each camp. If you have a particular favorite snack/lunch food or beverage mix, please feel free to bring it along. We advice climbers to purchase most of your bulk foods before we meet. If you are staying in Seattle, there are numerous supermarkets as well as the flagship REI, North Face, and Patagonia gear shops for fresh and prepackaged foods.
Since everyone purchases different gear and is a different size, it is hard to give you an exact number. For most of our climbs, you can expect your internal frame pack (packed with gear and food) to weigh between 55 and 65 lbs. It is likely that you will be asked to help carry some of the group equipment such as ropes and protection, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your backpack for approximately four to eight additional pounds of gear.
All summit climbs on Mount Rainier have a 2:1 climber-to-guide ratio.
This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to Amazon.com with reviews.
I deeply enjoyed my expedition, it was a fantastic and, in most ways, ideal introduction to technical glacier travel. My guides were rock stars, the weather was superb, the route was challenging and gratifying and yet accessible, and I felt I was adequately prepared in some part thanks to AAI’s clear insistence on fitness preparation.