3 Day Muir Climb - Our Most Popular Climb
This three-day instructional course and summit climb will teach you some of the basics of glacier mountaineering, including self-arrest training and glacier travel techniques, as we lead you up to a summit attempt of Mt. Rainier. Successful completion of this program will give you the required skills for some of our more advanced expeditions. Prior to your summit climb, all team members will have an instructional gear check during which you will review the functionality of each piece of gear and learn about wilderness ethics, Leave No Trace principles, and the mission statement of the National Park Service.
Guide Ratio 2:1
Team size is 8 climbers with 4 guides. With one guide for every two climbers, you have more individualized instruction, great assistance on summit day, and overall success and safety are increased. Our guides will be teachers and impart knowledge throughout the program.
I loved every minute of it. The quality of the expedition was top notch from start to finish. We got very lucky with a perfect weather window, and the climb itself could not have been more stunning. It was one of those absolutely perfect experiences. –First Trip of 2018 Climber
This three-day program, via the Muir Corridor/Disappointment Cleaver on Mt. Rainier, is the most popular climb on the mountain. It provides a more extraordinary expedition experience than a two-day climb, while allowing you to attempt the summit with the greatest ease and enjoyment. Our first night is spent in a private hut at Camp Muir (10,000 ft.) that’s already stocked with supplies, allowing for lighter packs on the approach. Our second night, spent in a remote tent camp situated on the Ingraham Glacier at 11,000 feet, gives us better acclimatization, a shorter summit day, and a wilderness experience as we are able to climb ahead of the larger groups leaving Camp Muir. All necessary training takes place on the mountain, giving you more time to enjoy Rainier’s wondrous beauty. This is our signature climb on the mountain.
Experience and Safety
Alpine Ascents has the best safety record in the business, and our 25-plus years of guiding experience on the highest mountains in the world (as well as on Mount Rainier), is unparalleled. We aim to provide the same level of quality, service, safety and environmental stewardship that has been our trademark throughout the guiding community. (See more about us, our guides and staff)
This three-day approach provides a great opportunity for summit success. Our Muir program is three full days (including two nights) on the mountain. Some companies list a four-day climb, but the actual summit climb is only two days (including just one night on the mountain). That requires you to climb up the mountain for training and return to a hotel at night. In addition to providing breakfast and dinners while on the mountain, all Alpine Ascents training is done on the Cowlitz Glacier and nearby snowfields out of Camp Muir, allowing you to acclimatize better, enjoy the mountain views from 10,000 feet, and avoid the cost of another hotel night.
High Camp 1,000 feet above Camp Muir (Shorter summit day)
On our 3 Day Rainier Muir climb, we use an additional High Camp, which puts you 1,000 feet closer to the summit. This allows you to be first on the upper mountain, avoiding the larger groups starting from Camp Muir.
Seattle Based – Shuttle to Mountain Provided, No Rental Car Required
Alpine Ascents is the only guide service that drives you round-trip between Seattle and Mt. Rainier. Our shuttle eliminates an expensive car rental and a complicated two-hour drive each way to the mountain. We also invite you to enjoy Seattle while in the Northwest. Our schedule can save you up to two hotel nights, since our trips do not leave the mountain after a day of training. Our trips are time-efficient. We conduct a 2 p.m. gear check, allowing us to save a day as we head to the mountain early the next morning.
“Fabulous, your leaders were superb and inspired confidence in the group and took time every turn to teach and further explain climbing techniques. The leadership was much more professional than teams I have climbed with in the past.” — Emilie
“The most organized and deftly executed climbs I have ever been on, it seemed as there was nothing they did not know about Rainier. It is a rare occurrence to spend time with people as professional and as motivated as my guide team.” — Gil W
“This is the 5th time I have climbed with Alpine Ascents in the past 9 years. What I appreciate is consistency in the product. It is obvious that you are meticulous in selecting guides and ensure they adhere to safety and climbing principles.” — David W.
Tents Equipment & Meals
All group climbing equipment is provided, including climbing ropes, technical hardware, tents, and meals (except lunches). Alpine Ascents also provides transportation.
Personal equipment is not provided. You are responsible for all items on the Gear List. Alpine Ascents has high-quality gear for rent.
Climbing Skill Level
This climb is open to any enthusiastic, physically fit novice, beginner, or advanced beginner. One day of training is included in the climb. Prior experience with backpacking and camping is recommended. Ability to carry a 40-lb. pack is required.
|1||Paradise to Camp Muir||4,788 ↑||4-6||4.5||40|
|2||Camp Muir to Ingraham Flats||912 ↑||1||1||35|
|3||Ingraham Flats to Columbia Crest (Summit)||3,310 ↑||4-6||2||15|
|Columbia Crest to Paradise||9,010 ↓||8-10||8.5||30|
Mount Rainier 3 Day Muir Climb FAQS
Please note that we will provide you with 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 office 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 online.
Overview: Climbers attend a mandatory gear check the day before the climb, lodge in Seattle that evening, then meet at 6:00 am the day of the climb for travel to the mountain. Climbers return to Seattle in the evening on the last day of the climb.
Day before climb begins: Meet at the Alpine Ascents office at 2:00 p.m. for a gear check and orientation (~3 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.
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 to the MarQueen Hotel, or any hotel in downtown Seattle:
Shuttle Express: Airport to MarQueen Hotel or downtown Seattle and return.
Cost: $21.00 (one way depending on number of riders)
Shuttle Express also has regular service to downtown Seattle and can be easily found via Sea-Tac courtesy phones.
You can also take Link light rail from the airport to downtown and then take a taxi. Westlake Station is closest to our office and the MarQueen.
Street parking is limited to two-hour meters. There are numerous pay lots located adjacent to and across from our offices. Please be advised that overnight parking is extremely 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 offices on the morning of the climb. You may store extra gear in our offices until your return. Please give us a call if you have any problems.
- 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 6:00am. 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, 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. This hotel is two blocks from the Alpine Ascents office. You may store extra gear may at the MarQueen or at our office until your return.
Staying elsewhere in downtown Seattle is another option. During the climbing season, hotels in the Seattle metropolis 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 6:00am the morning of your climb. We are a short taxi 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 taxi or ride to our offices on the morning of the climb. You may 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.
You will pick up your rental gear at our offices 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 we will cover during the climb, and familiarity with this information in advnace 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. Gear is sized 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 three-day trip is extremely rigorous and being in excellent condition is mandatory.
The weight of your pack is generally 40 lbs. We invite you to check out our Mout Rainier 3 Day Training page
We highly recommend checking with your physician before embarking on 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 any physically fit enthusiastic novice or beginner. Though we provide one day of training during the climb, we recommend participants have prior experience with backpacking and camping. This three-day trip is extremely rigorous and being in excellent physical condition is mandatory. 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 the 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. If you have a particular favorite snack/lunch food or beverage mix, feel free to bring it along. However we advise climbers to purchase most 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.
The weight of your pack will be 40 lbs. We will spend out first night in a private hut at Camp Muir (10,000 ft) that is already stocked with climbing gear, which allows us to carry lighter packs on the approach.
All summit climbs on Mount Rainier have a 2:1 climber-to-guide ratio. There is a maximum team size of eight climbers and four guides on the 3 Day Muir climb.
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.
Well, climb them both of course! But a legendary mountain author weighs in:
BY PETER POTTERFIELD
As the author of Selected Climbs in the Cascades, both volumes 1 and 2, I get emails daily from adventurers coming to the Cascades for the first time wanting some insight into the best climbing routes in the range. And who can blame them? When it comes to alpine climbs, the Cascades offer arguably the best routes in the Lower 48.
None of the peaks in the range is more unique or appealing than the Cascade volcanoes. Draped in glaciers, studded with fearsome rock spires, and all rising above 10,000 feet, the volcanoes offer a climbing experience unrivaled outside of the Alps, or Alaska, or the Himalaya. There are six of these giants in the Northwest: Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Rainier, Glacier Peak, and Mount Baker. But for most climbers seeking a world-class route on a big mountain, access, quality and climbing routes mean the choice comes down to just two: Mount Baker or Mount Rainier?
I was faced with that very dilemma when I first moved to the Northwest after a decade of climbing in the Rockies. I was stoked to get up on those big, ice-clad ghostly white mountains floating on the horizon in all directions, but frankly lacked the skills. Crevasse rescue, ice climbing, glacier travel, reading avalanche conditions—these were all skills I needed to acquire. But where to do it? On 14,410-ft. Mount Rainier, lord of the range, rising above Seattle like a papier-mâché stage prop? Or the more remote and aesthetic 10,781-ft. Mount Baker in the far north, monarch of ineffably beautiful North Cascades?
The decision was easy: Baker. This, the third highest peak in the Northwest, wears its heavy mantle of ice with exceptional beauty. Its high altitude and position west of the Cascade Crest—Baker is only 35 miles from tidewater—place it to receive the full blast of wet winter storms, feeding its glaciers. That becomes ever more important as climate change threatens Cascade glaciers farther south. Baker is snow white and pristine in its ice clad beauty.
“Excellent. Climbing Mt. Baker was one of the most amazing experiences of my life” 2017 Climber
For any climber wishing to add ice-climbing and steep snow-climbing skills to their resume, Mount Baker is perfect. It’s got everything Mount Rainier has—glaciers, crevasses, ice falls, steep ice, steep snow, craggy rock spires—and more. Situated within the wild North Cascades, often called the Switzerland of America, Baker comes with pristine wilderness and a sense of solitude that is unique among the Cascade volcanoes. But what it doesn’t have is perhaps its greatest draw: crowds and permit hassles. Multiple routes, from straightforward glacier climbs such as the Easton or the Coleman, to steep, aesthetic ice climbing routes such as the North Ridge, Baker offers a range of routes, difficulties and glacial terrain free of the crowds found on Mount Hood or Mount Adams or Mount Rainier.
A final consideration: altitude. For those of us who live at sea level, a trip above 14,000 feet comes with tiresome, debilitating effects of altitude, and the real possibility of high-altitude sickness. Now Baker is a big mountain, and at almost 11,000 feet, it is not immune to that danger, but acclimatization is easier and quicker. Altitude problems are far less of an issue on this peak. And the lower high camps and shorter summit days on its routes make climbing and learning on Mount Baker more fun and less stressful than doing the same program on Mount Rainier. Let’s be clear this is an equal climb technically but perhaps a better intro into glacier climbing and one of the pearls of the mountains every climber should attempt.
It worked for me, that’s why I ended up writing the climbing guide to the Cascades. Within a year of my tutelage on Baker, I climbed all the Cascade volcanoes: Mount Hood at night under a full moon (never turned the headlamps on) for a dawn summit, remote Glacier Peak via the Rabbit Ears route, and Rainier for the first of a dozen summits via the Emmons with my friend Scott Fischer. I did Adams the first time via the North Ridge, the “mule route” is just too boring. My time on Baker had me more than ready for all of that, and what was to come in Alaska and the Alps.
And the beauty is, gaining proficiency in big-mountain skills on Mount Baker is immediately transferable. Learn your chops here, where you likely will have more fun and fewer altitude problems, and enjoy a rare pristine setting and a genuine sense of solitude, and you are set up for what’s next: Rainier on a technical route, other Cascades climbs Denali, or Aconcagua.
I LOVED the expedition – all aspects of it. The weather on our first day (approach to Camp Muir) was wet and a bit cold, but with good layers, all was well. The weather on Days 2 and 3 was spectacular. The logistics were flawlessly organized, and the 1:2 guide:client ratio made for a very well supported and safe expedition.