Mount Rainier/Gibraltar Ledges

Often called "Gib Ledges," this route on Mount Rainier is Grade II with 35-50° snow and ice.

getting there

From SR-7 in Elbe, turn east onto SR-706, both known as the National Park Highway. Continue through the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Be prepared to pay the fee just after entering the park. Drive 19 miles to Paradise.

In winter, ALL drivers in the park are required to carry snow chains or equivalent traction devices—this includes those with a 4-wheel or  all-wheel drive vehicle. Those without a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle may be required to install them at Longmire or beyond.

APPROACH

From Paradise, hike the Skyline Trail to Panorama Point. Continue up, crossing Pebble Creek, then up the Muir Snowfield to Camp Muir, 10,050 ft.

ASCENT ROUTE

Ascend western edge of the Cowlitz Glacier below the Cowlitz Cleaver. Pass beneath the Beehive and cross the cleaver through a notch to reach the base of Gibraltar Rock. Follow obvious ledge system, placing pickets as necessary to protect from exposure. Ascend ice chute, crux, between Gibraltar Rock and upper Nisqually ice cliff to the saddle between Gibraltar Rock and the final summit slopes. Continue for a long 2,000 ft to the east crater rim. Cross crater to true summit.

DESCENT ROUTE

Descend via the climbing route. Alternatively, during periods of high rockfall, one could descend the Ingraham Glacier and then pass through Cadaver Gap of Cathedral Rocks to return to camp.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENT TIME (HR) ELEVATION GAIN (FT)
Trailhead to Camp 6 4,680
Camp to Summit 7 4,330
Summit to Camp 5

EQUIPMENT

Standard glacier gear, flukes and pickets.

NOTES

This climb can only be recommended during winter months due to extreme rockfall and icefall on the ledges. Beware of rockfall and icefall during mid-day warming. A direct and straightforward route.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 9,010 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
Map
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier West No. 269
  • USGS Mt Rainier West
  • USGS Mt Rainier East
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
Activities

Upcoming Activities

Intermediate Alpine Climb - Mount Rainier/Gibraltar Ledges

Climbing Trip
two-day, strenuous, late-season
Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering Climb
Sat, May 1, 2021 - Sun, May 2, 2021
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
2 participants on waitlist
Registration closes Apr 23
Tacoma Branch
Trip Reports
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