3 Day Muir Climb With Alpine Ascents
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, known locally as “təqʷuʔməʔ” (Taquoma). 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.
Our climb includes transportation to and from the mountain.
Absolutely enjoyed the climb. Amazing guides that were fun to spend time with and extremely prepared and capable, and a fun crew to boot! It was great that each brought their own focus, interests, and flavors of each skill. It was really tremendous. I would highly recommend Alpine Ascents and this trip specifically to others. –2021 Climber
I’ve been up Mount Rainier three times with the last two being with another organization. You have them beat. The 2 night itinerary gave us enough time to enjoy the experience. Truly a memory maker. First class all the way. –2021 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.
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.
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.
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.
Tents Equipment & Meals
All group climbing equipment is provided, including climbing ropes, technical hardware, tents, and meals (except lunches).
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|
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.
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.
From start to finish, this was a quality climbing trip. We knew what to expect as a group, what was expected of us, the itinerary for the day, how to have fun, and how to climb well.