Mount Rainier/Emmons Glacier
Climbing Mt Rainier Summiting via Camp Schurman
As of July 28, 2019, excellent, clear conditions up to the summit.
Our team turned around at about 13,000 feet due to feeling nauseous (altitude sickness). This is even despite spending an entire day at Camp Schurman to adjust to the altitude. But it’s just one of those things that you can’t “push through“ without dire consequences.
Use at your own risk. Conditions change HOURLY on Mt Rainier.
- GPX file (GPS recording) Camp Schurman – Emmons Glacier Route Mt Rainier through Inter Glacier note: rename to .GPX after you download. WordPress is silly and denies .GPX uploads “for security reasons.”
- PDF map (download) of our GPS track
- My review on the AllTrails app + the route
The goal of the trip is not to get to the top of the mountain but back to your car.
“Getting to the top is optional. Getting down is mandatory.“
A few tips:
– The White River Ranger station opens at 7:30 AM. Be there early, especially if you are planning to camp Friday, Saturday, or Sunday night. We were there at 7:25 AM, and there were already 10 people ahead of us in line. Plus there was no internet at the station, so they had to manually call in every single reservation to verify them. There appeared to be very little interest in attempting to fix this issue or find a solution. (ah the efficiency of the federal government… It’s a good thing they’re not responsible for something really important, like our healthcare.)(oh wait)
– Wear/bring trail shoes for the hike in.
– There is a bear box that you can put food in. Absolutely use it. There are mice everywhere throughout the camp, and they will climb in your bag. We even had a team who unzipped their tent and a mouse actually jumped all caps into the tent. It took them quite a bit to get the little guy out.
– Melted glacier water is available at Camp Schurman. No need to melt snow. Just purify it.
– Super windy at night (both nights we were up there). Be sure your tent is stakes down tightly. The wind folded our tent flat, but dang the REI Half Dome is amazing.
– Conditions of the trail up the Emmons glacier are good. Of course there will be collapsed ice bridges, so be sure to have an experienced team who knows who crevasse rescue skills.
– If it’s sunny, snow will get slushy at or before 10am. If you’re still on your way the mountain at 8:30am (our turnaround time), I wouldn’t suggest it. Have a turnaround time and stick with it.
– There are crevasses on inter glacier. No need to rope up, but just watch your step, ESPECIALLY when glissading down. There’s a big enough one to break both your legs if you fall in it.
– Plenty of water along the trail, all the way to inter glacier.
– if you lost a black, lightweight Marmot glove… It’s up there at Schurman, sitting on a rock.
– Rope up on Emmons. Always. Even on the way down. Odds are you won’t feel like it, but just do it.Overall it’s a fantastic route, and probably even safer it than DC considering the experienced climbers on this route and no rock fall being pushed on you from the Cleaver.
Just keep in mind within the next two weeks the route will be dramatically different, especially with all of this sun. Things are opening up and the climbing season for this route is on the downward trajectory in terms of popularity/safety.
Rock on, friends! Hope this helps!
Top 4 Lightweight Items that makes
(or would’ve made) my trip better
Awesome climber gift ideas too
- 3.4 oz blow up pillow on Amazon – Increasing your sleep quality increases your energy. Take care of your sleep.
- Italian Roast instant coffee on Amazon. Caffeine is a natural way of decreasing altitude-caused headaches. This instant coffee tastes great and is lightweight. Just drink plenty of water because coffee is also a natural dryadic.
- Backcountry Access Shaxe Speed Shovel. You’ll need a shovel. You’ll need an ice axe. Why not combine the two? Use the ice axe’s intended shaft, right? This thing is a brilliant way to cut weight.
- MSR Dragonfly stove. This things just keeps running and running. Case in point: I left the fuel bottle out all night long, sitting in the snow, and yet still it fired right up the next morning. JetBoil? Heck no. I’ve had to sleep with those JetBoil canisters to keep them warm, and even then they only last a few minutes in the cold temps. The Dragonfly stove is amazing. For the 3 day trip, we heated water for a party of 3 using just 1 bottle of white gas fuel. (and even then the bottle wasn’t completely depleted) Note: If we had to melt the snow, we’d have needed an additional bottle. Melting snow takes forever, but with the fresh supply of melted snow up by the Camp Schurman helicopter pad, there was only the need to heat it up for our freeze dried meals.
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