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

Take SR l69 south from Renton to Enumclaw. Turn left (south) on SR 410. Reach the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park in 34 mi. Drive 5 mi and turn right on road to Sunrise. Sign in for climb at the White River Entrance Station. Drive 5 mi to turnoff for White River Campground (gravel road left at the White River bridge). Park at White River Campground (2 mi).


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.

Information for LEADERS


Climbing and backcountry permits are required. Fees apply.

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.

  • 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

Upcoming Activities

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Rainier/Emmons Glacier

Climbing Trip
Rainier via the Emmons with a small group.
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 5, Technical 5
Mon, Jul 8, 2019 - Wed, Jul 10, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
1 participant 0 leaders
Registration closed Jun 2
Tacoma Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Mount Rainier/Emmons Glacier

Climbing Trip
Mid-summer climb to the top of Washington state.
Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb, Strenuous 5, Technical 5
Fri, Jul 19, 2019 - Sun, Jul 21, 2019
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants on waitlist 1 leader on waitlist
Registration closes Jul 15
Tacoma Branch
Trip Reports

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  • Tahoma/Emmons

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