Logistics

2:00 p.m. Gear Check Day Before Climb Begins

Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 1:45 p.m. for a mandatory gear check beginning at 2:00 p.m. the day before your climb is scheduled to begin. This gear check will last about 3 hours. You are required to attend this meeting. Please review the Gear Check information and come prepared.

FOR SUMMER 2021, AS PART OF COVID-19 REGULATIONS PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING CHANGES: 
1.  Climbers will need to self drive to and from the mountain until further notice.
2.  Day 1 of the climb, the team will meet at Cougar Rock Campground in Mount Rainier National Park at 8:00 AM.
3.  To shorten the drive on Day 1, climbers may consider staying closer to the mountain the night before the climb rather than staying in Seattle. The closest town to the trailhead is Ashford, WA.
4. The gear check time and location is unchanged.
5. The team will de-issue gear at the trailhead at the conclusion of the climb. Climbers will not return to the Alpine Ascents Office after the climb.

Getting to Seattle

If you are flying into Seattle, SeaTac is the closest airport to our office.  You are responsible for transportation between the airport and your hotel.

Getting from the Airport to the Office

Our office is 30-50 minutes from the airport (depending on traffic). Most climbers take a Lyft, Uber, or taxi directly from the airport.

Other options are taking Shuttle Express or the Light Rail (public transit) from the airport station to Westlake Station, followed by a Lyft/Uber/taxi the last 1.8 miles to the office. The Light Rail is $3 for this one-way trip.

6:00 AM Departure Day 1 of Climb

Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 5:45 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. departure. Please be on time. Alpine Ascents provides transportation to and from Mount Rainier.

Parking

Free long-term parking is difficult to locate in the vicinity of Alpine Ascents. Parking options include 2-hour metered street parking, pay-by-day lots, or limited 72-hour free parking (4-6 blocks away). If you live locally or plan to rent a vehicle, we recommend parking your car at your home or hotel and commuting to our offices via taxi or app-based transit.

Due to our location in the heart of Seattle, Alpine Ascents does not offer parking for climbers. Please allow sufficient time to park your vehicle if driving to our office.

Evening Return Day 3 of Climb

You will return to the Alpine Ascents Office between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on the last day of the climb.

Air travelers are strongly advised against booking flights out until the day after your climb concludes. Trip schedules will not be adjusted to accommodate return flights booked on the same day your climb concludes.

In Seattle

FOR SUMMER 2021: We recommend booking a room for the night before your climb and for the night your climb concludes. To shorten your drive on Day 1, we recommend staying closer to the mountain the night before rather than staying in Seattle. The closest town to the trailhead with hotel options is Ashford, WA.
We de-issue rentals at the trailhead at the end of Day 3, so you are free to book lodging wherever you prefer that night.  We strongly advise against flying out until the day after your climb concludes. 

We recommend booking a room for the night before your climb and for the night your climb concludes. We will return to our office late on Day 3, between 6 p.m. and 11 p.m., and you can return to your hotel. We strongly advise against flying out until the day after your climb concludes. Trip schedules will not be adjusted to accommodate return flights booked on the same day your climb concludes.

Recommended Hotel

The MarQueen Hotel: One block from our office and often able to offer a discount for our climbers. They are helpful and familiar with our programs. Please book early as Seattle hotels can be fully booked in summer months.

Reserve by phone: (206) 282-7407, (888) 445-3076. 

Reserve online: The Marqueen Hotel. Use promotional code “Alpine” to a get discount, when available.

We are located in lower Queen Anne, downtown Seattle, and are a short walk or taxi ride away from many other hotels. You may elect to stay in any one of the numerous hotels in the area. You will be responsible for getting to our office for your gear check the day before your climb and morning departure on Day 1 of the climb.

Other Hotels Nearby:

Mediterranean Inn
(206) 428-4700

The Maxwell Hotel
(877) 298-9728

 

2:00 p.m. Gear Check (Day Before Climb Begins)

FOR SUMMER 2021: Due to COVID-19, Alpine Ascents is making every effort to limit the amount of time our team is gathered indoors. Pre-Gear Check materials will be sent to climbers to supplement a shortened gear check process, which will be held on our outside patio and last 60-75 minutes. 

Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 1:45 p.m. for a mandatory gear check beginning at 2:00 p.m. This takes place the day before your climb is scheduled to begin. This meeting will last approximately 3 hours.

You are required to attend this meeting, so we can distribute and fit rental gear, do a thorough check of your gear, provide packing instruction, check personal lunch items, review the climbing route and trip itinerary, and answer any questions you may have.

You may attend the gear check in your normal street clothes. We have storage for reasonably sized luggage while you are on your climb, so please bring a duffel bag/suitcase to store any personal items you do not wish to take on your climb. This luggage can be dropped off the morning you depart for the mountain.

What to Bring: Please bring all of your gear to gear check. Note that you do not need to pack carefully, as we look at every item together. Rental gear will be picked up at the gear check. You are responsible to bring all gear on the gear list except what you rent from Alpine Ascents.

How to pack for your 3-Day Climb:

Gear List

Link back to your gear list:

This video will give you a basic understanding of the gear you will need for Mount Rainier.

Menu Planning

FOR SUMMER 2021:  As part of our COVID-19 protocols to operate in Mount Rainier National Park, we will provide dehydrated breakfast and dinner options in lieu of our traditional menu. Climbers will choose from a selection of meat, gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options from Mountain House and Good-to-Go during the gear check. Climbers are welcome to bring their own freeze dried/dehydrated food (2 breakfasts, 2 dinners) if preferred. 

You are required to bring your own lunches. On-mountain breakfasts and dinners are provided on the climb. If you have any food allergies or requirements, please notify us in advance. Your climber application features a place to input this information, or we are always happy to speak with you directly.

Overview

Food is one of the basic pleasures of wilderness travel. There are countless options for putting together healthy and delicious meals for your trip. For most climbs in the alpine environment, we eat approximately every hour during brief rest breaks. This constant intake is the most efficient way to fuel our bodies and meter our energy output as we climb. We do not stop for long “lunch breaks.” Your lunches should not require the use of a stove while on the mountain.

Basic Principles

A climbing or backpacking outing in the wilderness requires higher energy expenditure on a daily basis than what you may be used to. Eating well and frequently not only sustains energy levels but also boosts morale and attitude. In addition, mountains often challenge climbers with inclement weather. It is important that caloric intake be high and regular to help avoid hypothermia and other cold weather or altitude-related problems.

  • Your food should consist of a well-balanced selection of food groups. It is best to plan most meals with high levels of complex carbohydrates to provide the most efficient long-term energy production.
  • Refined sugars and simple carbohydrates, found in candy and other items, provide quick, short-term energy.
  • Proteins are necessary for good health, but not in the quantities that most eat. On a short trip (3–4 days) lower protein intake levels do not cause problems.
  • Fats require much more oxygen and time to metabolize (especially at high altitudes) which can be an important consideration.

Consider foods which are light and compact. Balance this consideration with nutritional needs and packing foods which taste good to you. Packaging should be minimal, but without sacrificing good organization and weather-protection.

Alpine Ascents provides breakfasts, dinners, soups, and hot drinks for summit climbs. You will be responsible for providing your own lunches for 3 days. Listed below are sample lunch menus and a packing list for your climb. It is extremely important to bring the listed calorie amounts, though the exact items you bring may vary according to your preferences.

3 Day Climb Daily Menu Sample

Here is a sample of the types of things people bring with them for their daily lunches.

Day 1: Climb from trailhead at Paradise (5,400’) to Camp Muir (10,188’)
Plan to bring approximately 1000 calories of lunch food for this day.
• Cold pizza or fresh sandwich
• Bagel with meat & cheese
• Your favorite candy bar
• Piece of fresh fruit
• Cold drink mix for your water

Day 2: Training Day at Camp Muir & ascent to Ingraham Flats (11,100’)
Plan to bring 600-800 calories of lunch food for this day.
• Bagel with meat & cheese
• Your favorite candy bar
• Some hard candies or chocolates

Day 3: Summit day (14,411’) & descent to the trail head (5,400’)
Plan to bring approximately 1200 calories of lunch food for this day.
• 4 energy bars
• 2 energy gels
• Your favorite candy bar
• Canister of Pringles

Sample Lunch Packing List

This list is intended as a sample packing/shopping list to create a complete “lunch bag” suitable for a 4-day climb. These items can be used in conjunction or as a substitute for the above menu sample.

Jerky (Beef, Turkey, or Soy) 2 oz Bag
Trail Mix 1 cup
Salty Snack Mix 1 cup
Energy Bars 1 Bar
Corn Nuts 1 Packet
Large Cookies 1 Pack
Candy Bars 1 Bar
Granola Bars 1 Bar
Crackers (Peanut butter or Cheese 1 Package
Bagels (1 per day) 3 Bagels
String Cheese 2 sticks
Cheddar Cheese Squares 1 Square
Mini Cheese Rounds 1 Round
Mixed Dried Fruit 1/8 qt Bag
Hard Candy 1/8 qt Bag
Cold Drink Mix (w/ electrolytes) 2 Packets
Energy Gel 1 Packet
Gallon Zip-lock Bag 2 Bags

Caloric info: www.whatscookingamerica.net/NutritionalChart.htm

On the Mountain

FOR SUMMER 2021: Single occupancy tents are provided for those not living in the same household for both nights of the trip. 

Night 1 at Camp Muir

Sleeping arrangements: Private hut with dormitory-style bunking
Bathroom: Pit toilets available
Cell coverage: Sporadic 4G service with Verizon at Camp Muir, working text messages and occasional phone service. No service with other cell providers.

Night 2 at Ingraham Flats High Camp

Sleeping arrangements: Tents (2-3 climbers per tent)
Bathroom: Blue bags only
Cell coverage: 4G service with AT&T. No service with other cell providers.

Please note: There is no working cell service is Ashford, where we will have our post-climb dinner.

Leave No Trace

Alpine Ascents International practices Leave No Trace principles on all expeditions. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Before your climb, please become familiar with Leave No Trace:

7 Principles of Leave No Trace

As guides, we spend time teaching the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices. There is nothing more rewarding than working hard to get high into the mountains, reaching a pristine campsite, witnessing incredible views, and having the feeling that no one has been there before.

Conversely, there is nothing more disheartening than working hard to climb a mountain, reaching a site and encountering trash, food waste, and toilet paper. Please read the seven LNT principles, and call the office if you have any questions about what you can do to plan ahead.

Tipping

Guides are permitted to accept and greatly appreciate tips. Your guide team is composed of four guides. They will pool all tips received. An average tip for the full guide team is $140-200.

Please be aware that we are unable to process tips by card. You are welcome to tip your guides with cash or via mobile payment such as Venmo or PayPal.

COVID-19 Protocols

While we cannot eliminate the risk of exposure to COVID-19, we do carry out a variety of measures designed to mitigate the risk of illness for climbers and staff. It is important we work together with the same team-oriented perspective we rely on in climbing, and we greatly appreciate your partnership. Please take a few moments to thoroughly read the information below and know that we look to improve our operation as additional information about the virus becomes available.

Screening

If you experience fever, chills, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea please immediately contact Alpine Ascents. Anyone experiencing these symptoms within 14 days of their trip date will be asked to reschedule their trip. All climbers are verbally screened for these symptoms on arrival to Alpine Ascents, and all staff are screened daily

Face Masks

For your safety and the safety of staff, cloth or surgical face masks are required at all times on Alpine Ascents’ premises. If you arrive without a mask, staff will provide one for you. We strongly recommend reviewing proper mask wearing procedures prior to your arrival.

While climbing and traveling in the mountains, all climbers are required to have a face mask easily accessible in a waterproof bag (Ziploc, etc.). When social distancing measure are not feasible, such as at a belay, you will be requested to wear your mask.

Transportation

In line with local restrictions, you and/or your household need to arrange transportation to/from Alpine Ascents, and also to/from all trailheads, hotels, etc. All necessary trailhead parking permits will be provided.

On Mountain Food Service

Alpine Ascents will provide “add water” meal service to reduce potential COVID-19 exposure due to cooking. You remain responsible for bringing your lunch/snack foods as outlined in your trip material. While we truly enjoy providing gourmet backcountry meals, we believe this course of action mitigates COVID-19 transmission risks and are committed to it.

Accomodation in the Field

For the duration of the 2021 season, Alpine Ascents will provide single tent options for all. Those traveling with members of their own household, or otherwise wishing to, may share tents.

Climber Orientation/Gear Check

Prior to your arrival at Alpine Ascents, you will receive pre-gear check materials designed to prepare you for your climb. These materials will include video versions of certain components of our renowned gear checks, enabling you to receive the same training and advice with less
time spent inside our headquarters. Please thoroughly review your learning package prior to arrival.

Expect an approximately 1-1.5-hour gear check experience at Alpine Ascents. Gear check will be conducted at appropriate physical distance on the patio area of Alpine Ascents Seattle headquarters. There are no adjustments to your gear check/orientation start time. During your gear check, you will receive/fit rental gear, have each item you plan to bring checked by trained staff, and leave with sufficient resources to pack your bag at your local lodging of choice.

Mitigation Measures at our Office

Hand washing and hand sanitizing facilities are provided at every entry point, in every gear check area, and of course within every restroom. We encourage you to regularly clean or sanitize your hands while at Alpine Ascents, especially after touching your face, sneezing, coughing, using the bathroom, eating, or drinking.

Common areas, high-touch surfaces, and restrooms are sanitized regularly. We are committed to keeping our environment clean for your protection as well as ours.

All equipment at Alpine Ascents is disinfected in line with CDC protocols, using EPA-registered disinfection supplies certified to mitigate COVID-19.

Alpine Ascents’ staff are trained in recognizing signs and symptoms of COVID-19. This training comes in addition to thousands of hours of first-responder or other medical experience.

Everything was just wonderful. I realize many aspects of a climb can’t be controlled (like weather!) but everything, from the weather, to the quality and friendliness of our guides, to the kindness of our fellow climbers, was outstanding.

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Partners & Accreditations

Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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