Mount Rainier/Emmons Glacier

A 10,000 foot glacier climb on the slightly less popular east side of Mount Rainier (originally known as Tahoma). The hike to camp passes through Glacier Basin, site of mining activity up through the 1930's. The route, including the climb up the Inter Glacier, can get icy by late July, increasing the difficulty.

getting there

Drive SR-410 in Mount Rainier National Park to Sunrise Road. It's 5 miles from the northern entrance and 4 miles from Cayuse Pass to the south. Turn onto Sunrise Road and drive 5 miles, turn left onto the White River Campground Road, and continue 1.2 miles to the campground (4,300 ft).


From White River Campground (4,400 ft), hike 3.5 mi to Glacier Basin (5,935 ft). Continue on way trails for another mile to base of the Inter Glacier (7,000 ft). Rope up here.


Ascend 1,500 feet up the middle of the Inter Glacier, bearing slightly southeast to reach the glacier rim (9,000 ft) at Camp Curtis. Do a traversing descent to the Emmons Glacier and ascend the Emmons to Camp Schurman (9,500 ft) at the base of Steamboat Prow. Arrive early for good campsite (hut is for emergencies only).

From Camp Schurman, follow a smooth snow slope called "The Corridor" slightly east, to about 12,000 ft. Here the glacier becomes heavily crevassed and offers many variations in routes to the crater rim. The usual routes go straight up and left, or bear right and across to the saddle between the true summit, Columbia Crest, and Liberty Cap.

The actual summit (14,411 ft) is on the far west side of the crater rim. The summit register is just below at a large boulder.

Descent ROUTE

Descend the climbing route.

Trip Profile

Trailhead to Camp 6-8 5,100
Camp to Summit 5-8 4,900
Summit to Camp 3-4
Camp to Trailhead 3-4


Standard glacier equipment — helmet and wands recommended.


  • This is a strenuous climb on a very large mountain. Excellent physical conditioning is mandatory.



A climbing permit is required for trips on glaciers and/or above 10,000 ft. Fees apply. Check with Mount Rainier National Park (land manger link below) to be sure you have the required camping and climbing permits.

Priority Climbs List

This is a very popular climbing route. Please check the PRIORITY CLIMBS LIST before listing trip to be sure your branch has priority for this route for the dates you plan to schedule it.

Multiple Bookings

This route allows multiple bookings. All parties must have a climbing permit from Mount Rainier National Park. Please check scheduled trips listed below in the "Activities" tab to see if there is another group already booked on the same day. Leaders are expected to contact the leader(s) of existing trips to ensure there are no concerns or conflicts, according to The Mountaineers Outdoor Ethics Policy. Please review our Group Size & Multiple Bookings page for guidance.

  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 5, Technical 5
  • Elevation Gain: 10,000 ft
  • 14,411 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
    Mount Rainier Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • USGS Mt Rainier East
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
  • USGS Sunrise
Trip Reports

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Tahoma/Emmons

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