Summit Mount Rainier via the Muir Route

Paradise Ranger Station

Mount Rainier is a world class mountain found in the back yard of the pacific northwest. It is the mountain to climb in the lower 48 states of the United States of America. 

Starting at 5,400ft at Paradise Inn parking lot, the hike begins. Stops and breaks vary on the physical condition that you are in, but at around 2.2 miles you reach Muir snowfield. Depending on the weather (if you aren't wearing your climbing boots already) put of your boots and continue up the snowfield. Camp Muir is almost halfway from the summit to the parking lot which helps because you can split the climb up pretty easily. I recommend having snacks for each break you take on the way up to Muir (around 4 different breaks but depends on how you want to hike) and definitely dinner and breakfast for the night at Muir.

Once you reach Muir (10,000ft) you want to make sure all of your gear is dry and organized so having a garbage bag to cover your pack for the night is key so you don't have a wet pack for the ascent. Bathrooms are at Muir but you have to pack your own toilet paper since there isn't any up there. If you are doing it through RMI or any guide service they have shelters you can stay in with sleeping pads, but if you are doing this on your own with other people you will want to bring your own sleeping pad. Once you get to Muir eat your food and get ready by going to bed by 5pm at the latest so you can be ready to wake up at midnight.

Wake up time to ascend Mount Rainier can vary depending on weather. My trip we woke up at 12:30 and hit the trail at 1:30am. The first part of the hike is through the Cowlitz Glacier and up until you reach Ingraham Flats which is your first break point. Make sure you are eating food and drinking water at every single break and putting on an extra layer for warmth. From the flats you travel through the disappointment cleaver which is extremely rocky so be cautious while traveling. Once you finish the cleaver is another recommended break point at the top of the cleaver. Remember at each break; food, water, and extra layer. From the cleaver to the next rest point High Break, there are ropes set up for travel to help ensure safety. These are put up there by RMI and DO NOT take any of the carabiners on the ropes, it is supplied by RMI. At this point the sun should be breaking through with some breathtaking views and photos. After reaching high break, the last climb is up to the summit! Make sure you are ready to ascend and ready for some amazing pictures.

Everything that I have not covered (which I'm sure I didn't cover everything) you can find out on they are the best at what they do and a highly recommend using them for mountaineering expeditions. 

Pack List

  • 55 liter back pack
  • 2-3 2 liter water bottles (no camelbacks due to freezing)
  • Ice Axe
  • Climbing Rope
  • Sleeping Bag (0 degree or colder)
  • Sleeping Pad
  • Alpine Boots
  • Crampons
  • Avalanche Transceiver
  • Helmet
  • gaiters
  • Head Lamp and Spare Batteries
  • 2 pairs of long under wear
  • Midweight layer jacket
  • Parka with hood
  • Light weight layer jacket
  • Light, medium and heavy weight gloves
  • Goggles
  • Glacier Glasses
  • Lots of snacks and Water
  • Trekking poles (for the climb and descent of Muir)
  • Garbage bag
  • Gortex pants and jacket (in case of rain)
  • outfit for hiking up to Muir (not as chilly as hiking at night up to the summit)
  • Hat or something to protect from sun
  • Sunscreen!! (UV rays can reflect off the snow)
  • Great attitude and ready to climb
Once again I may have forgotten some things so feel free to comment on what you should bring or add to the description but I highly recommend RMI as your guide service up the mountain.
Show More
RT Distance 16 Miles
Elevation Gain 9010 Feet
Activities Camping, Photography, Backpacking, Hiking, Fitness
Skill Level Advanced
Season Spring, Summer
Trail Type Out-and-Back


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

A good route for someone climbing Rainier for the first time.

This route is the one used by the guide services so it is well established, however you still need to be prepared and experienced use it!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Snowshoe to Panorama Point Mount Rainier National Park

74 Saves

Snowshoe or Ski to Mazama Ridge

89 Saves

Backpack the Wonderland Trail

303 Saves