Frequently Asked Questions - Mount Rainier Liberty Ridge Climb
Please note you will be mailed specific information for your climb upon registration. The following is to serve as a helpful guideline.
What kind of physical condition should I be in?
The weight of your pack is generally 65 pounds. We invite you to check out our Climb 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.
How do I reserve a space for a Climb?
The best way to reserve space on a Climb is to call our offices 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 by mail with a check, money order or credit card number.
When does my Climb begin and end?
Overview: Climbers attend a mandatory gear check the day before the climb, lodge in Seattle then meet at 6:00am the day of the climb for travel to the mountain. Climbers return to Seattle on last day of the climb.
Day before climb begins: Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 2:00pm for a gear check and orientation (~2 hours)
Day 1 of Climb: Climbers meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 6:00am. 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 - 11PM on the last day of climb.
Note: On day 1 of your climb, you must be at our office no later than 6:00am! Please be on time.
Our recommended hotel, the Marqueen Hotel, is located 2 blocks from our office.
What does the Gear Check cover?
A mandatory gear check will take place the day before your climb at 2:00pm. 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 (See directions below)
What to bring: Please bring your pack fully packed with all gear listed on the gear list. Rental Gear can be picked up at the gear check.
When should I fly in and out of Seattle?
Arrive in time to attend the gear check (preferably the night before the gear check in case of travel delays) and plan to depart the day after your climb ends. There are variables that make it difficult to guarantee the exact time each climb will end. You will need to be ready to go at 6:00am on the morning your climb begins.
Where can I buy flights?
Alpine Ascents uses the services of Charles Mulvehill at Scan East West Travel: 1-800-727-2157 or 206-623 2157. They are very familiar with our International & Domestic Programs and offer competitive prices on all domestic and international flights. firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I get from the airport to my hotel and downtown Seattle?
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)
The Shuttle Express also has regular service to downtown Seattle and can be easily found via Sea-Tac courtesy phones.
If I am driving to your office where can I park?
Street parking is limited to 2-hour meters. There are numerous pay lots located adjacent to and across from our offices. Please be advised, overnight parking may be 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. Extra gear may be stored in our offices until your return. Please give us a call if you have any problems.
How do I get to Alpine Ascents International?
Click Here for Map
- 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 2-hour parking meters, though there are several pay lots near our offices.
What kind of experience do I need to participate in a climb of Liberty Ridge?
Our climb of Liberty Ridge on Mt. Rainier is one of the most technical and physical demanding climbs we do in the lower 48 states. Every day we carry packs of 50-plus pounds, climbing for seven to eight hours, (summit day can easily be over 10 hours). The terrain on Liberty Ridge itself is continuous snow and ice from 30 to 50 degrees in steepness. For a minimum of two days in a row you will be required to carry a 50-lb. pack on this terrain climbing with two ice tools and cover up to 3,000 ft. per day. You need to be in the best shape of your life, and be comfortable on steep snow and ice using two ice tools.
Previous technical training and climbing experience is required:
- Climbers should have completed our 6, 8 or 12 day course or Equivalent
- Climbers need to have completed the above course successfully and be well versed in basic climbing techniques and ice axe use
- 2 or more snow/glacier climbs which have pitches of 40-50 angle degrees
- Competency with 2 ice tools
- Completion of ice climbing course
- Approval of bio /resume by Alpine Ascents
At a minimum you need to be able to physically carry a 50lb pack on continuous steep snow and ice (30 to 50 degrees) for up 8 hours several days in a row using two ice tools.
Where do I stay the night before and after the climb?
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. The hotels are 2 blocks from the Alpine Ascents office. Extra gear may be stored at the Mediterranean 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. Extra gear may be stored in our office until your return.
What do I need to bring?
When you sign up for a climb we will send you a confirmation package that includes an equipment list detailing each piece of equipment you will need. Please read your equipment 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.
Is food provided on my climb?
Breakfast and Dinners (as well as stoves and tents) are provided 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. You may be asked to help carry provisions to each camp. If you have a particular favorite snack/lunch food or beverage mix, please feel free to bring it along. All tents and group climbing equipment are provided on the climb. Before departing for the trailhead, we will check and organize personal/group gear. However, it is advisable to purchase most of your 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.
Where do I pick up my rental gear for the climb?
You will pick up your rental gear at our offices during the gear check.
How heavy will my pack be?
Since everyone purchases different gear and is a different size, it is hard to give you an exact number. For most of our climbs, you can expect your internal frame pack (packed with gear and food) to weigh between 55 and 65 pounds. It is likely that you will be asked to help carry some of the group equipment such as ropes and protection, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your backpack for approximately 4-8 pounds of gear.
Any tips on packing?
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 4 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.
What can I read to prepare for the climb?
You will get far more out of your climb by reading Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 6th ed., The Mountaineers. This book provides an excellent overview of the elements involved in alpine mountaineering. Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 6 review many of the aspects we will be covering during your training and familiarity with these aspects will greatly enhance your experience.
How many climbers/guides are there per class?
All summit climbs on Mount Rainier have a 2:1 climber to guide ratio.
I am concerned that the gear I am renting will not fit or work properly.
The boots, packs, crampons, ice axes, tents, and other items are cleaned and checked 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.
Is this trip going to be physically challenging?
Yes. See the training tips above, 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.
What if I need to leave the climb early?
For climbers who need to be escorted from the climb, there is an evacuation fee.