A Fall Hike on Rainier to Camp Muir should be on everyone’s list of climbing objectives as a shakedown cruise for your other adventures. Mount Rainier is a 4,000 meter volcano in the Pacific Northwest of the USA near Seattle Washington. The snow and ice can vary quite a bit from the Pebble Creek area all the way to Muir. You need a free overnight use permit to spend the night in Muir, and a climbing permit to go above Muir. Both can be gotten quite simply and quickly at the Paradise Ranger Station – not the visitor center – the climbing center across the parking lot in what looks like an old ski resort building.
The path up to Pebble Creek is pretty simple, just look at one of the maps posted at the trail heads. After Pebble Creek you might be on snow pretty quickly, and in general, there should be plenty of foot paths to follow in the snow up toward Camp Muir because of how popular this trail is. Up to Pebble Creek it’s sometimes dry and dusty, with mud and rocks and loose surface on some of it, and is easy to do in running shoes. The snow can be soft and easy enough to do in running shoes, or sometimes light boots and micro-spikes. Many climbers going for the summit will just use their heavy boots and crampons on the occasional icy spots.
We took a tent to camp in the snow near Camp Muir, though there is a hut and I’ve stayed in it, as well as in the old Guide’s Hut before they stopped letting clients and climbers use it. Camp Muir is a relatively low risk way to test your glacier clothing and gear, tents, sleeping bags, as well as your eating and drinking systems. It’s a good idea to find out ahead of time before you do any of the Seven Summits. Many of the American climbers will do Rainier first for training and experience. The authorized guide companies have quite a few training courses, including sessions during April and May that will help you learn how to climb on Denali and other very cold mountains.
Fall Hike on Mount Rainier to Camp Muir Photo Gallery
These photos are from 2009