The Highpointers Foundation
Dedicated to education, support and conservation
of the highest point in each of the 50 United States.
State Highpoints – Washington - 14,410-foot Mount Rainier

Washington’s highest peak and the highest peak in the Cascades, Mount Rainier, is a famous, sought-after mountain, that attracts climbers from many surrounding states, and even international aspirants. An ascent of Rainier “Proves” that you are an Alpinist. Rainier is visible southeast from Seattle, and acts as a weather vane. If Rainier is “out” the weather is fine. Rainier is the highpoint of Mount Rainier National Park, and is the fourth highest state highpoint. Climbing Rainier requires significant glacier travel that usually involves many crevasses. The standard route via the Muir Snowfields and upper Ingraham Glacier starts at Paradise on the peak’s south side at 5,400 feet. Thus, the effort requires a gain of over 9,000 feet and a round trip distance of over 15 miles, and this is usually done in two or three days. It is traditional to spend the pre-summit night at Camp Muir at 10,100 feet. There is a second standard route on the peak’s northeast side up the Emmons Glacier. The trailhead for this climb is near the White River Campground at 4,300 feet. Thus, the gain for this ascent is over 10,000 feet. A high camp at Camp Sherman at 9,500 feet is usually used; there is a small hut there. Depending on conditions, some consider this to be an easier ascent than the Ingraham Route, but it is longer. There are three guide services available to take you up the mountain for a fee. There are many other more technical routes on Rainier that culminate with Liberty Ridge that splits Rainier’s large North Face. Many consider Liberty Ridge to be the best mountaineering route in 49 states. The route is 10,000 feet high and it is hard to find good conditions on the entire route. Liberty Ridge reaches 14,112-foot Liberty Cap, a ranked sub summit that is a mile from Rainier’s highest point on Columbia Crest. Thus, when you finish the ridge, your work is not over. Mount Rainier is definitely a mountaineer’s mountain.

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