Mount Rainier/Ingraham Glacier

A strenuous backcountry ski on the Ingraham Glacier or a moderately difficult climbing route to the summit route that is typically reserved for early spring ascents. It requires moderate to intermediate glacier travel experience. From Camp Muir the route ascends the lower Cowlitz Glacier to Cathedral Gap, through Ingraham Flats, ascends the Ingraham Glacier, merges with the Dissapointment Cleaver route, and continues to the southeast rim of the summit crater.

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.

Ingraham Direct Climb

While this shares rougly 60% of the same ascent route as the Disappointment Cleaver route, this route is distinguished from its eastern neighbor both in season and technical difficulty. The Ingraham Direct makes for an educational and challenging first route on Mount Rainier for budding Mountaineers It requires additional trip planning, higher volatility in weather considerations, and an exercise in active snow stability evaluations.


From Paradise hike the Skyline Trail to the top of Panorama Point. Cross Pebble Creek, continue on to the base of the Muir Snowfield, and climb steadily north until reaching Camp Muir, high camp.


From high camp, cross the upper Cowlitz Glacier heading east until reaching Cathedral Gap. Climb through the rock band, rounding the corner of the gap and drop into the center of Ingraham Flats, an alternative high camp. Continue through the Flats ascending the glacier proper. Depending on overall health of the glacier and amount of commercial guide activity on the route, anticipate a relatively direct climb with a handful of notable deviations with the potential for ladder crossings. High Crack, a prominent crevasse midway up the Ingraham Glacier around 11,200 ft, is a regular spot to expect a ladder crossing even in early season. This feature guards access to the Disappointment Cleaver Route and the remaining ascent of the Ingraham Glacier. At ~13,000 ft the route merges with the Disappointment Cleaver Route and continues to the southeast rim of the summit crater. Once inside the crater adjust gear accordingly and ascend the final 200 feet to the top of Columbia Crest, the true summit.


Standard glacier gear.


Descend the climbing route.

Backcountry Ski

Coming soon...



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.

  • Difficulty: M3 Expert Ski, Intermediate Mountaineering Climb
  • Length: 14.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 5,000 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
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  • Mount Rainier/Ingraham Direct

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