4-Day Emmons Glacier Climb Day-to-Day Itinerary
The Day Before the Climb.
Climbers are required to arrive in Seattle the afternoon before our trip begins. That afternoon at 2:00pm you will be met at our office by a guide and our gear manager to give you an overview of the climb, answer all your questions and make sure you have all your equipment or rental gear necessary for the climb. The guide will also give you instruction in Leave No Trace (appropriate wilderness practices) and discuss the National Park Mission Statement. You will then return to your hotel for an early morning pick up on Day 1.
On the first day of the climb we meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 6:00am, where we pack up the van and drive to Mount Rainier. We begin at the White River Campground (4,300'). We hike a few miles on a comfortable trail through the forest following the inter fork of the White River and reach Glacier Basin, a wide open meadow with great views of Rainier! From Glacier Basin we begin climbing steeper, snowy terrain up the Inter Glacier to our first camp at about 8,500' on the Inter Glacier. We build camp and enjoy stunning and expansive views. This allows us to acclimatize a little and have an easy move the following day. We will review walking on snow and ice, glacier travel skills, ice axe use, and learn breathing techniques that will assist us on our ascent.
We make a short move up to Camp Schurman (approx. 9,500') and establish our camp. This short day begins with a brief climb up the Inter Glacier & then onto the Emmons Glacier, and on to Camp Schurman. This brief day of climbing allows us to relax in the afternoon and get as much rest as possible before our summit attempt early the next morning. We also have ample time for more review of the glacier climbing techniques necessary for our summit day. At camp we discuss the summit climb in detail, enjoy dinner, and go to bed early as we anticipate our pre-dawn departure for the summit.
Summit day. For safety and better traveling conditions on the glacier, we begin with an early morning wake-up to get us very near the summit by sunrise. The summit climb should take 9 to 12 hours depending upon the speed of the group. We depart Camp Shurman and ascend the Emmons Glacier 'Corridor' which is a moderate sloped ramp to the upper slopes of the glacier. We will encounter a few crevasses & snow bridges that we must negotiate on our way to the top, as well as a mix of moderate and steeper snow terrain. Our pace is moderate and leads to a spectacular summit day. Weather permitting, we will take a brief break here to enjoy the view, snap photos and eat and drink to fortify ourselves for the descent back to Camp Schurman. Back at camp we relax, eat dinner, and rest for our final day on the mountain.
Descend to the trailhead. After we descend down off the Emmons glacier and onto the Inter Glacier, we may deem the conditions suitable to glissade individually down this moderate snow slope toward Glacier Basin. At this point we trade climbing boots for tennis shoes and finish our hike back to the White River Campground & parking area, then drive back to Seattle for a shower and a night of dining and celebrating.
This is an extremely rigorous four days and being in strong 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.