Ranger-written "route guides" for Rainier


The hard-working and highly skilled climbing rangers at Mt. Rainier National Park maintain a great blog on current route conditions.

Now, they've taken things a step further, writing essentially mini guidebooks on four of the most popular routes - Disappointment Cleaver, the Emmons-Winthrop Glacier, the Kautz Glacier, and the Liberty Ridge routes. They have the somewhat pedestrian name of “In Depth Route Descriptions”, and each one is between 20 and 30 pages.

Every climber attempting one of these Rainier routes will benefit by having a close look at these documents.

Each route description is a downloadable PDF file, and you can get them here.

(And, in case the National Park Service ever decides to take down these route guides, I downloaded the PDFs, save them to a Google Drive, and you can see the same files here as well.)

Now, to be honest, my expectations for these descriptions were pretty low before I started to read them. We’ve all seen the plain vanilla climbing advice from government entities before, “Be sure you have adequate fitness, take the 10 essentials, leave no trace”, blah blah blah. But, I was pleasantly surprised at the level of quality writing and helpful information in these descriptions.

You’ll see:

  • detailed climbing and weather stats

  • case histories of Search and Rescue (SAR) missions

  • very detailed route descriptions

  • gear list

and great graphics! Here are a few examples from the Disappointment Cleaver route description.

All images below are from: http://mountrainierclimbing.blogspot.com/2017/03/in-depth-route-descriptions.html


How about a three-year average of weekly distribution of climbers?


Or maybe a chart of average and extreme summit temperatures during climbing season?

Screen Shot 2019-06-13 at 4.20.43 PM.jpg

or maybe a “go, no-go” decision matrix, a more objective way to make choices on the mountain:

decision matrix 1.jpg
decision matrix 2.jpg

You get the idea. Lots of solid information that will be a real benefit to most climbers. Check it out, and be thankful for the professional Rainier climbing rangers that are trying to help you have the best trip possible.