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As Mt. Rainier’s definitive summer climb, RMI’s Four-Day Disappointment Cleaver Climb is the classic adventure for anyone interested in or involved in mountaineering. Focusing on team building and training, the first two days prepare us for our climb with an afternoon orientation and a Mountaineering Day School. We then ascend Mt. Rainier’s lower slopes to Camp Muir (10,060′), where we stay for the evening and prepare for the climb ahead. On summit day, an alpine start brings us up the Ingraham Glacier or Disappointment Cleaver route to the mountain’s summit. With a short time commitment, this climb is ideal for anyone looking to attempt one of America’s great mountaineering challenges.

THE RMI DIFFERENCE

The Mountain Guides at RMI have a reputation as top guides in the United States. RMI Guides participated in some of America’s first ventures into the far reaches of the Himalaya. Years of expedition guiding and climbing around the world have built a core of consummate professional guides.

Our guides are celebrated teachers and trainers, known for their leadership as well as their character. They possess the compassion, enthusiasm and ability to empower others and inspire them forward. Such qualities may only be found in people at the top of their profession. Despite their vast experience, RMI Guides still remember their own first steps into the mountains, and enjoy helping other climbers reach new heights.

Our exceptional focus to detail, our unparalleled level of climber attention, and our genuine excitement for these adventures make our programs truly memorable.

SAFETY

RMI strives to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focuses on leading fun and successful climbs without compromising safety. Each climb includes careful pre-trip planning, daily weather forecasts, avalanche forecasts, and diligent attention to detail. All RMI Guides are highly trained in remote medicine and rescue skills and carry comprehensive medical kits, rescue equipment, and radio communication equipment throughout the program. Regardless of the objective or the destination, safety remains RMI’s top priority.

Day 1
PRE-TRIP ORIENTATION

3:00 – 6:00 p.m.: We will meet at 3:00 p.m. at Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford, WA. Please dress casually and bring your climbing equipment and clothing.

We begin our Pre-Trip Orientation with a welcome and introduction of team members and guides. The afternoon is spent providing a focused introduction to a variety of topics and preparing climbers for the climb. This includes a detailed personal equipment discussion and gear check; an introduction to safety practices including use of helmets, harnesses, and avalanche transceivers; and instruction regarding Leave No Trace practices and environmental considerations.

Please make your own arrangements to stay in the Ashford area this evening.

Day 2
THE MOUNTAINEERING DAY SCHOOL

8:15 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.: Meet at 8:15 a.m. at Rainier BaseCamp. Please arrive dressed for hiking and packed with your Mountaineering Day School gear.

The Mountaineering Day School is spent training on the lower slopes of Mt. Rainier above Paradise. Climbers are introduced to a number of skills, from the foundational techniques of efficient mountain travel (rest-stepping and pressure breathing) through cramponing, roped travel, and ice axe arrest practices. The training is a great introduction to mountaineering for novice climbers as well as a refresher for those with previous experience, ensuring that all climbers have the basic skills to climb safely and comfortably together on the mountain.

Please make your own arrangements to stay in the Ashford area this evening.

Day 3
CLIMB TO CAMP MUIR

Meet at 8:15 a.m. at Rainier BaseCamp. After a short team meeting, a shuttle takes our group to the trailhead at Paradise.

The hike from Paradise (5,400′) to Camp Muir (10,060′) is nearly 4.5 miles and takes most of the day. Once at Camp Muir, the guides will address the specifics regarding the climb, including route conditions, food, equipment, clothing recommendations, and any further questions you might have. Accommodations at Muir consist of a small mountain hut with bunks and sleeping pads. After dinner we retire to our sleeping bags to rest for the upcoming summit attempt.

Day 4
SUMMIT BID

We make an alpine start for our summit attempt, beginning in the early hours of morning. We don ropes, crampons, helmets, and grab our ice axes, leaving Camp Muir by the light of our headlamps. The route begins with a rising traverse across the Cowlitz Glacier and ascends the pumiced switchbacks of Cathedral Gap. From here, we gain the Ingraham Glacier and ascend either the Ingraham Direct or Disappointment Cleaver routes, small variations to a similar line of ascent with the actual route choice being determined by many factors that vary throughout the season. Once above the Disappointment Cleaver, we ascend the upper slopes of Mt. Rainier, navigating the crevassed glaciers to gain the summit crater. If the weather and timing cooperate, we take a short hike across the crater floor to Register Rock, and then to Columbia Crest (14,410′). This is the highest point in Washington, and when the weather is clear, the view from the summit is spectacular. Panoramic views stretch for miles in all directions, from the Pacific to the eastern side of the Cascades. The summit crater is a wildly unique environment, capped in perennial snow, with steam rising out of the cavernous vents.

From our high point, we descend back to Camp Muir. The descent typically takes approximately half the amount of time that it takes for the ascent, but requires significant effort as we retrace our route down the mountain. The duration of the climb depends on many variables including snow conditions, the time of the year, the route conditions, and the weather.

After arriving back at Camp Muir, we pack up our gear and descend to Paradise in the early afternoon. At Paradise, our shuttle takes the team to Rainier BaseCamp. With our gear unloaded in Ashford, it is time to gather as a team to celebrate our adventure.

*We do not recommend scheduling an airline flight before midnight on the last day of your program.

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