Covid-19 Notice for 2021 Rainier Programs
While we are certainly planning for several eventualities, our working plan for 2021 will be based on the assumption that Covid-19 is still prevalent. We will move forward under similar protocols implemented during 2020, and plan to run all Rainier programs in 2021 with the exception of the Little Tahoma Seminar. There are some notable changes to the way we've traditionally ran our programs as listed below:
- We will not be providing meals on our climbs in 2021. We hope this changes so we can get back to serving our world-famous Camp Muir Burritos! Please see our food suggestions page for additional details.
- We plan on providing transportation from IMG HQ to/from the trailhead. However, this may not be feasible under Covid-19 protocols. We're working on alternative options and will keep all registered climbers updated on any changes to this plan.
- We will provide single tents to all climbers unless you are members of the same household wishing to share a tent.
- We will require a cloth facemask during the first ½ day orientation and in IMG vehicles.
Naturally people will want to know our 2021 Covid-19 cancellation policy. For 2021, funds from any National Park Service, WA State mandated or IMG directed Covid-19 related cancelled programs, will be to carried over to the same program and same or closest date in 2022. Short of an NPS, WA State or IMG directed cancellation, our no refund policy remains in place. Note that if your 2020 program was rescheduled by IMG, and is rescheduled again in 2021 due to Covid-19, you will have the option to carry your funds over to 2022, or be issued a refund.
Additionally, we will defer accepting reservations for pre-climb tent lodging at IMG Headquarters until April 1, 2021, when we will have more current information on the status of COVID and any impact it may have on operations for the season.
As is the case with all things Covid-19, we will remain as flexible, communicative and as transparent as possible in these unprecedented times.
Mt. Rainier Fuhrer Finger Route Summit Climb
The Fuhrer Finger climb is a good choice for an intermediate level climb and mountaineering training curriculum. This program is for anyone with prior alpine climbing experience looking for a more challenging route and skill training on Mt. Rainier. If you are very fit and looking to push yourself physically and technically on a climb other than the standard route this program is for you. This is a small group climb, limited to 4 climbers and 2 IMG guides.
Climbers on this program have often climbed either the Emmons or the Kautz routes on Mt. Rainier and have mastered skills in the mountaineering training curriculum on those programs. The Fuhrer Finger route is sometimes more technical and always more continuously difficult than either the Emmons or the Kautz routes. Participants must be confident cramponing in firm glacier ice conditions on moderate to steep slopes and using two technical tools for the steeper sections of the route. This is a challenging climb that ascends the steep Fuhrer Finger, a more direct line up the south side of the mountain. The climb gets you away from the majority of the climbers in the Camp Muir corridor. It is normal to not see another party on the route. The crux of the route, the finger itself, is a narrow chute that necks down to a few hundred feet across. The steepest part of the chute is 40-50 degrees in angle. Above, the upper mountain climbs steeply up along the Wilson Cleaver to 13,500 feet before the glacier angles back to a more typical 20 degree slope. Hazards on this route include the potential for rock or ice fall during warming conditions and we climb the exposed part of the chute rapidly to avoid prolonged exposure. The 5-day program curriculum allows enough time to train and complete the climb comfortably, but if you have not climbed on steeper glacier or ice slopes before, we strongly recommend choosing another route as your first attempt of Mt. Rainier. If you are looking for something more physically challenging, a chance to improve your technical skills and get off the beaten track, then the Fuhrer Finger route is an excellent program.
We employ a light and efficient philosophy for climbing on Mt. Rainier. We will help you pare down your personal climbing gear during a pre-climb gear check to minimize weight and make certain you bring only the essentials up the mountain.
In addition to the continuous daily training on the climb we have added a half day pre-climb orientation and instructional meeting at IMG's Headquarters in Ashford, just outside the park. We incorporate the bulk of the training en route during each day of the ascent. This increases acclimatization, minimizes total days for the trip and allows for training to be conducted on the mountain in real conditions all the way to summit and back.
Climbing with a 2:1 client-to-guide ratio provides a superior level of support and safety. Our group of 4 climbers and 2 guides is a perfect sized team. IMG provides breakfasts and dinners for the group on the mountain for your convenience and comfort.
A review of basic and intermediate climbing skills is incorporated into this program's itinerary. However, participants must have previous climbing experience on snow and glacier ice using two technical ice tools. A previous climb of Mt. Rainier or other major glaciated peaks is required. All candidates must be very fit and have completed multi-day backpacking trips. This is a strenuous and more technically demanding summit climb, not for first time climbers.
Training and Fitness
Mt. Rainier, at 14,410ft, is one of the largest and most challenging endurance climbs in the United States. It is the most imposing glaciated peak in the lower 48 States and has long been a premier training ground for climbs such as Denali, Aconcagua and the Himalayas. An attempt of Mt. Rainier is a serious endeavor and one that demands good physical fitness. To learn more about training for this climb, please read our Training Suggestions for Mt. Rainier »