IMG Rainier Emmons Summit Climb Itinerary
Day 1 Meet in Ashford at HQ (directions) at 2:00pm for the pre-climb meeting. This meeting of approximately 4 hours 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; proper use of safety equipment including helmets, harnesses and avalanche beacons; introduction to knots, ropes, rope travel and a review of additional critical climbing skills. You are on your own for lodging this night.
Day 2 Meet back at IMG at 7:00am to prepare to depart for the trailhead. Please eat breakfast before arrival. We will stop at a coffee shop along the way where you'll be able to buy additional snacks. Remember to bring some money because we'll likely stop on the way back for a cold drink as well. Cash works best so you don't have to leave your credit card in the van at the trailhead. It'll take us a couple hours to drive around the Park to the White River trailhead at 4,500ft on the north-east side of Mt. Rainier. The climb starts here. The first section of trail covers three miles through dense forest to Glacier Basin before continuing up more steeply over rough trail and snow to our first camp at 8,200ft on the Inter Glacier. Just below camp we stop for on-snow training in the use of the ice axe, self arresting slips on snow and efficient climbing up and down steeper snow slopes. 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 The following day we climb a fairly short distance to high camp, adjacent to Camp Schurman, located at 9,600ft on Steamboat Prow, a wedge formation that divides the Emmons and Winthrop Glaciers. Along the way we ascend the Inter and Emmons glaciers which provide us with a perfect opportunity to practice roped glacier travel, one of the skills we will need in ascending the upper mountain the following day. Once at Schurman we learn about constructing a proper expedition camp incorporating LNT techniques, then hold a team informational meeting to discuss the summit climb. We'll have dinner and get to bed early. We begin our ascent before dawn the next day and generally count on a 12-hour round trip to the 14,410ft summit and back to camp.
Day 4 Our summit day takes us up the Emmons "Corridor" and often onto the Upper Winthrop Glacier depending on the route conditions. The conditions can vary greatly but we usually encounter crevasses and snow bridges, and some moderately steep snow climbing. Throughout the day, the guides will be directing their rope teams, providing safety feedback and hands on training in safe glacier travel. We'll ascend glacier terrain to the very top. We normally hit the summit crater close to the true high point, Columbia Crest. We spend an hour on the summit, weather permitting. Instruction in safe descending techniques begins and the descent normally takes half the time the ascent required. The round trip normally takes 12 hours total. After arriving back at our high camp we get some well-deserved rest during our final night on the mountain.
Day 5 The following morning we descend the Inter Glacier and retrace our steps back down to the White River Trailhead by noon to 1:00 pm where we load up for the ride back around the mountain to IMG headquarters in Ashford. At HQ we'll wrap up the trip with an awarding of certificates of achievement by the guides. The average program ends around 4 pm but unpredictable variables may impact our return time.