Main Cowlitz Chimney

A climb on the eastern side of Mount Rainier National Park of 17 miles and 4,800 feet of elevation gain.

getting there

Drive SR 410 to the White River Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Cross Frying Pan Creek. Park on the west side of the creek at the trailhead.

approach & ascent

Follow the Summerland trail to Panhandle Gap. Go left on boot trail to the saddle and follow the ridge up the broad south slope of Banshee Peak. From a saddle at 7000 ft drop into the basin. At 6735 ft travel southeast past a U-shaped gully and ascend to a solitary fir tree. From here, ascend about 30–50 feet and then  traverse back toward the gully (Class 3). Continue traversing along a ledge (Class 3) to a tree where just above is a short slanted chimney with a chockstone at its top. Climb the chimney to the ridge. Continue on a moderate rising traverse across the U-shaped gully. You'll find solid rock with some scree. The you find a narrow slotted gully that leads to the peak. After the slot, the gully widens, and near the top, multiple gullies lead towards the summit. Ascend the easy (Class 2) gully with a snag near its top.


  • Tread lightly on fragile tundra plants in the area.
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: July, August, September
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Basic Alpine Climb
  • Length: 17.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 4,800 ft
  • 7,605 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • USGS Mt Rainier East
  • USGS Chinook Pass
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX

Upcoming Activities

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  • Little Tahoma Cowlitz Traverse

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