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Compiled by annual Rainier summiteers
Enumclaw / WA 🇺🇸

Ah, Mount Rainier, you magnificent beast! I stand here today, battered and bruised, with frostbitten toes and a newfound appreciation for gravity, to regale you with my tales of triumph over this treacherous peak.

Strap on your crampons and get ready for a wild ride as I recount the risks, rewards, and triumphant moments that define mountaineering on this majestic monster.

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

John Muir1888
John Muir on Mt Rainier

John Muir and his climbing party on the summit of Mt Rainier, 1888

Let’s start with the risks, my fellow adventurers. Mount Rainier is a force to be reckoned with—a tempestuous symphony of snow, ice, and biting winds that can quickly turn your dreams of glory into a nightmare. The steep slopes demand razor-sharp focus, as a single misstep can send you hurtling down the mountain like a bobsled on steroids. Crevasses lurk beneath deceptive snow bridges, ready to swallow the unsuspecting in their icy jaws. Avalanches threaten to sweep you away with their thunderous roar. And the weather? Well, let’s just say it has a sense of humor—mostly of the sadistic kind. But it is within these risks that we find the essence of true adventure.

Now, onto the rewards, my fearless friends. As you ascend Rainier’s icy slopes, the world transforms around you. The shimmering glaciers, bathed in the glow of sunrise, set your heart ablaze with wonder. The air grows thin, yet each breath tastes like victory. The summit is a crown of glory, a panoramic view that stretches to the very edges of possibility. It is a moment that leaves you breathless, not just from the altitude, but from the sheer beauty that unfolds before your eyes. It is a reward that transcends words—a reminder of our insignificance in the grand tapestry of nature.

on the slope of the emmons glacier

But let us not forget the triumphant moments that pepper the journey to the summit. It is not just about reaching the top; it is about the indomitable spirit that emerges in the face of adversity. When a storm threatens to push you back, you dig deep, finding a wellspring of determination you never knew existed. When fatigue gnaws at your muscles and doubts plague your mind, you push forward, knowing that the only way out is through. And when you stand atop that snow-cloaked pinnacle, you feel an overwhelming sense of accomplishment—a surge of adrenaline that floods your veins and declares, “I am alive, and I have conquered this mountain!”

The triumphs of mountaineering on Rainier extend beyond the summit, my intrepid companions. It is in the bonds forged between climbers, as we navigate the challenges together, supporting one another through blizzards and crevasses. It is in the stories we share, the scars we bear, and the knowledge that we have tested our limits and emerged stronger on the other side. Mount Rainier is a formidable adversary, but it is also a wise teacher, showing us the power of resilience and the joy of living life on the edge.

So, should you venture forth to conquer this icy giant? Only you can answer that question, my brave souls. Mount Rainier is not for the faint of heart—it demands respect, preparation, and a touch of madness. But for those who dare to face its challenges head-on, the rewards are immeasurable. It is a journey that will leave you forever changed, with tales to share and memories to cherish.

And if you’re anything like me, you’ll start planning your next mountaineering adventure before your frostbitten toes have even thawed.