IMG Rainier Kautz Summit Climbs Itinerary
For the Kautz 5½ day program you are responsible for two nights of lodging in Ashford, after the ½ day on Day One and after skills training on Day Two. See specific, available dates.
Kautz 5½ Day Climb Itinerary
This itinerary is approximate and subject to change due to conditions.
Day 1 Meet in Ashford at IMG Headquarters (HQ) (directions) at 2:00pm for your pre-climb orientation. This orientation is instrumental in getting you outfitted, informed, packed and educated prior to departure the following morning. Topics to be covered include an introduction to your climbing team; an introduction to Mount Rainier National Park, its mission and ecology; a safety briefing; the examining, issuing and fitting of gear; and instruction on the proper use of safety equipment including helmets, harnesses and avalanche beacons. Lodging is not provided the night of Day 1.
Day 2 Meet at HQ at 8:00am for an early departure to the trailhead at Paradise (5420 ft.) We'll ride the IMG shuttle up to Paradise for a day of technical training. The group will head to the nearest suitable training area above Paradise. Training will include steeper angle cramponing skills (flat footed French technique, front pointing, standing in balance on crampons and movement over ice); the use of ice axes in "piolet traction" and "piolet ancre" (anchoring the pick of the axe) on moderately steep slopes will be covered including the use of more technical tools; anchor construction on snow and glacier ice is covered as well as belaying, anchor management, rappelling and lowering. The team will descend back to Paradise at end of day 2 and shuttle the group back to HQ. Lodging is not provided the night of Day 2.
Day 3 Meet at HQ at 8:00am for an early departure to the trailhead at Paradise (5420 ft.) in Mount Rainier National Park. Plan on a long day; hiking and climbing for roughly 6-8 hours and gaining about 5,000ft on your ascent to the Lower Castle Camp. Along the way, the guides will review efficient climbing techniques including pace, rest-stepping, breathing, break procedures, clothing layering systems, food and water intake requirements and other essential climbing skills.
Day 4 We'll continue training and refreshing the team's glacier climbing skills prior to departing our campsite. Training continues after we pack up and move slowly up to our high camp (at approximately 10,000ft). Once camp is established, we discuss the following day's summit climb and complete our preparations for the morning.
Day 5 We'll begin our climb well before daybreak to allow enough time to reach the 14,410 ft summit and descend back to camp during the safest part of the day. Our summit day route normally starts with the guides lowering each member down a vertical rock step to access the Kautz Glacier Ice Chute. Here the guides may employ fixed anchors or fixed ropes to protect the ascent and descent. This is a great introduction to steeper glacier climbing skills. Throughout the day, the guides will be directing their rope teams, providing safety feedback and hands on training of safe climbing skills. The upper Kautz glacier becomes more moderate in angle and leads up to the upper mountain and finally Mt. Rainier's summit crater rim. After an hour on top, weather permitting, we navigate the same route back down to high camp to enjoy a well-deserved rest after a long and strenuous day.
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 will award certificates of achievement.