International Mountain Guides Climbing and Mountaineering Expeditions

Mt. Rainier Gear List


Mt Rainier Climb with International Mountain Guides
Mt Rainier

IMG's Mt. Rainier Gear List

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Video: Mt. Rainier Gear Check

The list below is designed to help you identify everything you will need on your trip. You can also get this list as a PDF docPDF doc to make it easier to print. Each piece of gear is accompanied by a description to help you understand its use and a recommended example. (For more details and examples, please see our Recommended Mountaineering Gear.) All items on this list are there for a reason, and unless otherwise specified, they are required.

Rental Gear
Items available for rent at IMG are indicated on the list below by an asterisk. Rental gear will be issued during the pre-climb meeting — there is no need to reserve it in advance. If you have special gear needs (e.g. very small/ very large feet), please contact us beforehand so we can better accommodate you.


When you meet for your climb, your guides will inspect your gear and help you decide exactly what to bring. This could vary slightly from the list below depending on the route and forecasted weather.

Please pay attention to the Special Notes at the end of the list.

If you have any questions or have special gear needs, please contact us at: (360) 569-2609 or This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need javascript enabled to view it .

Upper Body Layers
Equipment Description/ Comments Example
[  ] Wicking T-shirt Light in color for hot days. For early season climbs a short-sleeve shirt is not needed. Outdoor Research: Sequence T-shirt
[  ] Active sport bra or top (for women) A synthetic top designed for athletic activities. Bear in mind that tents may not be gender exclusive, so a modest top is recommended. Personal preference
[  ] 2 Long Sleeve Base layers Light to midweight synthetic or wool long-sleeved shirts. Make sure these shirts can be layered together. Outdoor Research: Sequence Long Sleeve, Outdoor Research Radiant LT Zip Top
[  ] 1 Mid-weight insulating layer In early season a medium weight insulating layer is often needed. A lightweight brushed fleece jacket with a hood works best. Outdoor Research Radiant Hybrid Hoody, Outdoor Research Centrifuge Hoody
[  ] *Soft-shell jacket. Like the soft-shell pants this layer is really important. You'll spend a lot of time in this layer. Outdoor Research: Ferrosi Softshell (what our guides wear)
[  ] *Insulated parka w/ attached hood Either a down or synthetic puffy jacket. A mid-weight parka works best; it doesn't have to be huge. It should fit over all your other layers. This is the "puffy" warm layer. Outdoor Research: Chaos Jacket (synthetic) or Virtuoso Jacket (down)
(what our guides wear)
[  ] *Waterproof/ breathable storm shell jacket with hood Gore-Tex or equivalent material. This should be a simple shell, not a heavy ski jacket. If the weather is good, this layer probably won't even leave your pack, so make it LIGHT!

Outdoor Research: Paladin Jacket (what our guides wear)
Lower Body Layers
Equipment Description/ Comments Example
[  ] Synthetic boxers or briefs We try to avoid all cotton in our layering system since it does not insulate if wet. Underwear should be synthetic material. Personal preference.
[  ] Baselayer bottoms Light to mid-weight synthetic, silk or wool long underwear bottoms. Not cotton. Personal preference
[  ] Soft-shell Climbing Pants You will wear these everyday of your climb. If there's one thing you purchase for your climb this should be it. Non-insulated Schoeller-type fabric. Outdoor Research: Cirque pants
[  ] *Waterproof/ breathable storm shell pants Gore-Tex or equivalent material. These pants should have full or ¾ length side-zips. This will allow you to put on the pants without taking off your crampons and boots. Outdoor Research Foray Pants (what our guides wear)
[  ] Light synthetic shorts or pants If the weather is nice, a light pair of synthetic shorts is great for the approach hike. Zip off nylon hiking pants work well too.

Optional — Primarily for July-September.
Miscellaneous Clothing
Equipment Description/ Comments Example
[  ] Wool or fleece hat. Hat should cover your ears. OR fleece hat
[  ] Neck gaiter, Buff™, or balaclava Synthetic/ fleece. This will protect your neck and face in stormy weather. A lightweight balaclava fits best under a helmet. IMG Buff
[  ] Sun hat and bandanna Baseball hat or other wide brimmed hat to protect your face and neck. A bandana will help cover your ears and neck Outdoor Research: Sun-runner or swift cap or any old ballcap you like to wear.
[  ] Light liner gloves Light-weight pair of synthetic gloves. Not a fingerless glove. These will be used a lot for traveling on glaciers at lower elevations. Outdoor Research: PL 150 Glove
[  ] Mid-weight Glove These do not have to be heavily insulated. It is nice is they are wind-resistant or wind-proof. A soft-shell glove works great. You will wear these gloves while climbing at higher elevations. Outdoor Research: ExtraVert (what our guides wear)
[  ] *Heavy insulated gloves; (mittens optional) A Gore-Tex glove with warm removable liner works best. Option: a warm synthetic insulated ski glove. You will wear these on summit day and while hanging out at camp. **Mittens required early season as weather requires or if your hands get cold easily.

Outdoor Research: Alti-Gloves and Alti-Mitts (both are what our guides wear)
Sleeping Gear
Equipment Description/ Comments Example
[  ] *Sleeping bag Should have a comfort rating between 15° and 0°F. There is no need for anything warmer than a 0° bag. Down or synthetic is appropriate. If you choose down, it is nice for the shell material to be Gore-Tex or equivalent. A compression stuff sack helps to fit the bag in the bottom of your pack. Mountain Hardwear: Phantom +15° Bag

OR Compression Stuff Sack
[  ] *Sleeping pad We recommend an inflatable, full length pad. Closed cell foam pads work too. For the three day climb only, 2 Ridgerest pads are provided for each person at both camps at no charge. Other routes must bring their own pads.

Thermarest NeoAir paired with a closed-cell foam pad is a great combo.
Equipment Description/ Comments Example
[  ] *Plastic double-boots; insulated single boots may be acceptable in late summer Warm, insulated mountaineering boots with stiff soles designed to be used with crampons. There are also insulated leather boots that are acceptable, especially for climbs scheduled later in the summer. Please see our detailed discussion on boots for Rainier in the Rainier FAQ »

If you are unsure about your footwear contact us:  This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need javascript enabled to view it
Koflach Degre (double boot); Scarpa: Mont Blanc (single leather boot)

Tip: Use aftermarket insoles to improve the fit of your boot. Superfeet work great!
[  ] 2-3 pairs of climbing socks Thick wool or wool-synthetic blends work best. No cotton! You might also want to bring a pair of thin synthetic liner socks to help prevent blisters. Smartwool: Mountaineer Sock
[  ] Gaiters Make sure they are large enough to fit over your plastic boots. They should reach to just below your knees. Starting in July ankle high gaiters are acceptable. Outdoor Research: Crocodiles or Flex-Tex
[  ] Trail Shoes Optional for late season (mid-Aug to Sept). Carry boots to Pebble Creek the first two miles up and down to save wear and tear on feet.

Comfy running shoes or light hikers.
Climbing Gear
Equipment Description/ Comments Example
[  ] *Internal frame backpack Large backpack, in the 60-80 liter or 3600 — 5000 cu. in. range. Make sure it fits well with weight and expect to carry at least 40 pounds. JanSport Tahoma 75L
[  ] *Ice axe To size your axe: while holding it down at you side, the bottom of the axe should reach to about your ankle bone. Petzl Snowalker
[  ] *Crampons 10 or 12 point. Make sure they are adjusted to your boots before your climb begins. Petzl Vasak FL
[  ] *Trekking poles Collapsible poles with ski baskets work best. Petzl Compact ST
[  ] *Helmet Climbing helmet that meets industry standards Petzl Elios or Meteor III
[  ] *Harness Climbing harness that meets industry standards. If bringing your own please bring 1 locking carabiner with your harness.

Black Diamond Vario Speed is our rental harness.

Miscellaneous Personal Equipment
Equipment Description/ Comments Example
[  ] *Avalanche Transceiver The use of Avalanche Transceivers is dependent on conditions therefore there is no way to be certain if your climb will need them. Generally speaking, the use of transceivers diminishes around the 4th of July, but we're always prepared to use them should the conditions change. If you are providing your own beacon, it must meet industry standards. BCA Tracker 3
[  ] *Glacier glasses or sunglasses Glacier glasses are specifically designed to protect your eyes from the intense UV radiation that reflects off snowfields and glaciers. They have dark lenses and are wrap around style or have side shields to keep UV rays out of your eyes. Julbo Dolgan
[  ] *Goggles The use of goggles is dependent on the weather forecast. High winds or extreme cold mean goggles are mandatory. Bring them if you have them; be prepared to rent them if you don't. If you wear prescription glasses or contact lenses, click here for more info » Smith: Knowledge OTG
[  ] 2 Water bottles Wide mouth, Lexan 1-liter water bottles with your initials written on them in indelible ink. Nalgene: Wide Mouth 1 Liter
[  ] Plastic bowl, drinking mug and utensils Tupperware or Lexan bowls work well. Lexan spoons work best. A 12 or 20 oz. plastic insulated mug is nice for hot drinks. Lightweight bowl example: Fozzils Bowlz GSI: Lexan Bowl Fozzils Bowlz
[  ] LED Headlamp w/ extra batteries Make sure your headlamp has a full elastic strap so that you can put it on your helmet. Use a fresh set of batteries. Bring at least one extra set of batteries. Petzl Tikka XP
[  ] Sunscreen and lip balm (with sunscreen) Spf 30 or higher. It's nice to tape your lip balm to a cord and wear it around your neck for easy access. 2oz of sunscreen for 3 days is plenty. Dermatone: SPF 36 with Z-Cote
[  ] 2 large garbage bags The thicker the better. Trash compactor bags work great. You will line your pack with these to keep your gear dry. You can also use one to cover your pack for the night if it is wet out. They can also be used to protect your pants while glissading.
[  ] First-Aid kit Our guides carry full first aid kits, so make yours light. Blister treatment, band-aids, aspirin, ibuprofen, personal medications, antacids, small roll of duct tape. Check out Adventure Medical Kits
[  ] Toiletries Keep it to the necessities. Toothbrush, travel size toothpaste, small roll of toilet paper in a plastic bag, foam earplugs. Leave the deodorant, perfume and make-up at home!
[  ] Iodine tablets We recommend all unboiled water be treated. Boiled water will be provided for meals and hot drinks at camp. We will melt snow for drinking water at camp, but we do not boil it. Potable Aqua: Iodine Tablets
[  ] Lunch/Trail Food Snickers, cookies, summer sausage, cold pizza, burritos, meat and cheese wraps, trail mix/ GORP, dried fruit. Anything that has lots of calories tastes good and is easy to eat. Energy bars and Gu are good, but make sure they are appetizing to you. Bring 1,000-1,500 Calories/day. Click here to read about some guide favorites »
[  ] Drink Mix (optional) Drink mix is nice to replenish electrolytes and make water yummy. (Prepackage in plastic bags that will make 1 liter at half strength.)
[  ] Disposable heat packs(optional) Consider one or two pair to wear in your gloves on summit day if you get cold fingers easily


Special Notes For Particular Climbs
Climb Equipment Description
4-Day Emmons Glacier Climb • Bring a total of 3 pairs of socks.
Kautz Climb • Bring a total of 3 pairs of socks.
• Consider a more technical and shorter ice axe
• IMG rents the Sum'tek lightweight technical ice axe
Liberty Ridge • Bring a total of 2 pairs of socks.
• Down sleeping bag warm to 20°.
• 50cm technical ice axe with leash.
• Second 50 cm ice tool (preferably with a straight shaft and hammer head).
• Prussik slings or 24 feet of 6mm perlon accessory cord.
• The down bag will be lighter for this technical, lightweight climb.
• You will need two ice tools on this technical route. Use leashes to prevent lost tools.
• IMG rents the Sum'tek lightweight technical ice axe
Glacier Skills Seminar • Bring a total of 3 pairs of socks.
• 24 feet of 6mm Perlon accessory cord.
• Technical ice tool, IF you already own it. Do not buy a tool especially for the course.
• Bring 2 locking pear shaped carabiners.
• Bring 2 non-lockers (optional).
• Mechanical ascender. Not required, but good to practice with if you plan to participate in expeditions where one is required.
• Accessory cord will be used to construct Prussik slings.
Winter Expedition and Denali Seminar • Bring a total of 3 pairs of socks.
• Bring a total of 4 garbage bags.
• Bring 2 locking pear shaped carabiners
• Bring 2 non-lockers (optional)
• Sleeping bag rated from 0 to -20 degrees.
• 24 feet of 6mm perlon accessory cord
• Mechanical ascender. Not required, but good to practice with if you plan to participate in expeditions where one is required.
• 2 Water Bottle Parkas (i.e. OR Water Bottle Parka)
• *snowshoes (rental item)
• Accessory cord will be used to construct Prussik slings.
Crevasse Rescue School Please click here for gear list »
Mountain Day School (MDS) Please click here for gear list »

* Items available for rent from IMG

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