Rainier 8 Day Mountaineering Course

Course Overview

This was a great course. Very challenging and rewarding and I will absolutely use the skills that I learned. Our guides exceeded my expectations, they are natural leaders that I would trust in any situation.

This is an incredible eight-day training course, culminating with a summit climb on the Emmons Glacier on Mount Rainier, known locally as “təqʷuʔməʔ” (Taquoma). Not only do you train in one of the most ideal locations for snow, glacier and ice climbing, but you also attempt the highest volcano and glaciated peak in the continental United States. Our guides give you in-depth and comprehensive instruction and allow you to progress at your own rate. We will spend the first 5 days of the course focused on learning and refining mountaineering skills such as crevasse rescue, glacier travel, and navigation. During the remaining 3 days, we will put these newfound skills into practice as we climb the Emmons route of Rainier. On summit day we have a 2:1 climber-to-guide ratio, this gives you the opportunity to work closely with one guide throughout the climb learning professional tips and tricks as you head for the summit. Some of the topics covered: climbing equipment, route finding and navigation, glacier travel, climbing protection, crevasse rescue, and steep snow and ice climbing (if conditions permit). This is truly a one-of-a-kind course. We are allowed to offer only four departures per year, so sign up early!

One element of the Emmons 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. We will ascend the glaciated slopes roped up in teams of three: two climbers and one guide per rope. This climb will focus on employing skills learned during the previous course days. 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.

Climbers who successfully complete this course will be eligible to join our Denali expeditions and other high-altitude climbs around the world.

Course Objectives

Increasing technical knowledge/skills in all aspects of snow and alpine climbing including:

  • Glacier travel
  • Rope/belay techniques
  • Crevasse rescue
  • Route finding
  • Self-arrest
  • Rappelling
  • Safe climbing
  • Cramponing

Developing educated, self-reliant climbers with the ability to evaluate subjective/objective hazards including:

  • Rock fall
  • Glacier conditions
  • Gear evaluations
  • Critical decision-making
  • Group experience
  • White-out conditions
  • Wilderness navigation
  • Weather conditions

Environmental Responsibility

Alpine Ascents is deeply committed to maintaining ecosystems at home and around the world. With each expedition, trek and course, we not only attempt to leave the environment as we found it, but strive to assist the local population in protecting the land and people indigenous to that region. Alpine Ascents reaches for the highest ethical business practices at home and abroad. Each staff member is dedicated to environmentally sound alpine ascents.

At Alpine Ascents environmental stewardship remains one of our core values and we take Leave No Trace ethics and practices very seriously. The mountains are our home and we are unwilling to sacrifice their preservation for human objectives. On every one of our courses and climbs we teach and follow the environmentally appropriate Leave No Trace principles and practices.

Over the years, with the assistance of our Sherpa teams, we have stepped up efforts to clean Mt. Everest. Our Wag Bag® program made a pioneering step in human waste management for the National Park System and Forest Service in the North Cascades. On Aconcagua, we pioneered a waste removal system on our climbs, utilizing the WAG Bag® system. And we continue our on-going maintenance and minimal impact plans wherever we guide. We believe that given the proper information most people will do all they can to help protect and maintain the environment. Alpine Ascents is committed to developing safe, self-reliant and environmentally conscious mountaineers.
This is an extremely rigorous eight days and being in strong 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.

Both our guides were able to clearly explain the concepts, teach the skills, and give us the hands on experience/practice to imprint the lessons clearly. I also appreciated their willingness to take the extra time with those who needed more practice as well as show the next level of complexity to those who had grasped the basic skills.

8 Day Rainier Mountaineering Course BLOG

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