A mountain climbers pack can weigh anywhere from 45 lbs to 75lbs,
based on the conditions of the mountain and the amount of time
they are there. Our trip will consist of 5 days, living out of
the pack on your back, in extreme cold, snowy, winter conditions.
A 4,000-5,000 cubic inch pack is the recommended size for this
climb. A separate summit pack is not needed.
A bag rated to 20° F will keep you warm. A small deviation
is fine. You may use either goose down or synthetic.
TRANSCEIVER: A climb of Rainier involves travel in avalanche terrain.
A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well.
are required for glacier travel and on the upper mountain.
A comfortable, adjustable harness is necessary for training and
while climbing on the upper mountain.
ICE AXE: The
length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general
mountaineering formula: up to 58, use a 65 cm. axe;
58 to 62, use a 70 cm. axe; and taller,
use a 75 cm. axe. If you hold the axe so that it hangs comfortably
at your side, the spike of the axe should still be a few inches
above the ground.
The 10 to 12 point adjustable crampons designed for general mountaineering
are ideal. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing
are not recommended on Mt. Rainier. If you bring your own crampons,
bring the appropriate repair kit/replacement parts and adjusting
SKI POLES: Trekking poles are used on the approach and to provide
additional stability in adverse weather.
A wool or synthetic hat. It should be warm, but thin enough to
fit underneath a climbing helmet.
NECK GAITER: Required for cold and windy days.
A lightweight ball cap, bandana or sun hat works very well.
: A pair of dark-lensed sunglasses with side shields or full wrap-type
sunglasses is required.
Amber or rose-tinted goggles are required for adverse weather.
Additionally, contact lens wearers may find a clear-lensed goggle
very useful on windy, dusty nights.
With an alpine start, we will travel approximately
four to six hours in the dark. We strongly recommend Lithium batteries
as they perform well in a cold environment. If you choose alkaline
batteries, bring an additional set, and ensure that they are kept
in a warm pocket while climbing.
A good glove
/ mitten combination is important because of the variety of weather
conditions experienced throughout your climb. Below are some recommendations.
Your glove combination should include three separate layers that
work well together.
GLOVE: One pair of fleece or wool gloves.
INSULATED GLOVE: One pair of wind/water resistant ski gloves.
INSULATED GLOVE or MITTEN: One pair of wind/water resistant, insulated
gloves or mittens for protection against wind, snow and cold.
These also serve as emergency back-ups if you drop or lose a glove.
: One long-sleeve, light or medium weight top will be used as
your base layer. Light colored tops are ideal, since dark colors
absorb heat from the sun, and neck zippers will provide extra
LAYERS : A variety of insulating layers work well on Mt. Rainier.
Your choice of garment (fleece or soft-shell) and the number of
garments (one or two) should be based on how well you do in the
cold. Generally speaking, we recommend two layers that work in
combination with each other.
You will need a jacket made of rain/wind resistant material with
an attached hood.
PARKA with HOOD: This item becomes of highest importance when
we are faced with poor weather. Additionally, this oversized,
insulated parka traps heat at rest breaks. The parka may be either
goose down or synthetic fill and should have at least two inches
of insulation thickness. It should fit over all of your clothing
layers, including your wind shell. We do not recommend wind jackets
with zip-in liners or down sweaters as substitutes as they are
not warm enough for this climb.
One pair light or medium weight bottoms will be used as your base
LAYER : One pair of fleece or windstopper pants is required for
the upper mountain. Full-length side zippers are recommended for
making quick clothing adjustments, and for ventilating options.
A pant made of rain/wind resistant material will be needed for
the climb. Full-length side zippers are a great option, facilitating
quick clothing adjustments over boots and crampons.
TREKKING PANT OR SHORTS - OPTIONAL:
BOOTS: Insulated plastic boots are the preferred choice for ascents
on Mt. Rainier. They provide the best insulation as well as a
more rigid sole for kicking steps and holding crampons. Some leather
boots that have Vibram soles and full shanks are also adequate,
but they will need to be a stiffer design and might still result
in cold feet on summit day. Lightweight hiking boots are not acceptable
as they dont work well with crampons, or in very cold or
knee-length pair of gaiters, large enough to fit over your mountaineering
boots, will be needed. This will protect you from catching your
crampons on loose clothing.
SOCKS : Two
pair, either wool or synthetic. Some people find liner socks useful
for reducing friction.
and LIP PROTECTION:
EATING UTENSILS: Four trail lunches (that includes a trail lunch
for the School), two dinners and two breakfasts are needed. See
Food Recommendations on the website. Utensils consist of a bowl,
insulated mug and spoon.
2 - 3 WATER
BOTTLES: Two or three sturdy one-quart water bottles are required.
Wide mouth bottles are ideal since their opening is less likely
to freeze. If you bring a hydration system, also bring two one-quart
water bottles as back up.
2 LARGE GARBAGE
BAGS and a 1 GALLON ZIP-LOCK BAG: We recommend lining your backpack
and sleeping bag stuff sack with garbage bags to keep items in
your backpack completely dry. Please use the Zip-Lock as your
personal trash bag.
Toothbrush, toothpaste and a few hand/sanitary wipes. Bring some
personal toilet paper for your climb.