IMG Rainier Fuhrer Finger Route Itinerary
Day 1: The team meets at 2:00 p.m. the afternoon prior to the climb at IMG's Ashford Headquarters (directions) where our training curriculum begins with the pre-climb meeting of 4 hours and is instrumental in getting the team outfitted, informed, packed and educated prior to departure the following morning. Topics to be covered include an introduction of the entire team, an introduction to Mt. Rainier National Park, its mission and ecology; a safety briefing; issue and fitting of gear; personal gear checks and issue of group gear; instruction in the proper use of safety equipment including helmets, harnesses and avalanche beacons; a review of knots, ropes, rope travel and additional critical climbing skills. You are on your own for lodging this night, but IMG offers a convenient and economical option with our onsite tent camping.
Day 2: We meet at 8:00 a.m. all ready to go, then load up the van and are shuttled up to Paradise, the jumping-off point for our climb. Our training continues with the skills needed for safe and efficient travel with an expedition pack. We spend most of the day ascending the lower Nisqually Glacier to the first camp and establishing it at approximately 7,000. The first day takes us through open alpine meadows and snow fields then we drop down onto the lower Nisqually glacier. The Nisqually glacier provides an ideal classroom for practicing roping up and the techniques of safe glacier travel. We will brush up on ice axe arrest practice and introduce other climbing skills enroute to the first camp. Upon arrival at the camp site the guides will teach you how to construct a well sheltered and anchored tent camp on the glacier.
Day 3: This day will be reserved for moving camp up to the base of the route, approximately 8,500 feet, and planning our strategy for the climb to come. One of the options includes an ascent of Fuhrer Thumb, an alternate route that joins the Fuhrer Finger route at 11,500 feet with a descent back down the lower Fuhrer Finger chute. The Fuhrer Thumb route provides an excellent training vehicle to work on rope team skills and efficient movement on steeper slopes.
Day 4: We may choose, depending on conditions to move camp up Fuhrer's Finger at first light and establish a new campsite at the top of the Finger, approximately 11,500 feet. Otherwise, the team will train, climb and acclimatize in the vicinity of camp. We'll have an early dinner and hold a team informational meeting to discuss our summit climb strategy. Then off to bed.
Day 5: This is the primary summit day. If a high camp is established we will depart at first light for the summit. The round trip will take approximately 8 hours. If we climb from low camp, the team will depart well prior to first light and will take approximately 10-12 hours round trip. Throughout the day, the guides will be directing their rope teams, providing safety feedback and hands on training in safe climbing skills. We'll ascend glacier terrain to the very summit and spend an hour on top, weather permitting. The descent normally takes half the time the ascent required.
Day 6: The final day is reserved for descent to Paradise where the shuttle waits to bring us back to IMG's HQ facilities. Here we finally have an opportunity to celebrate our climb and the guides award certificates of achievement.