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Mt. Rainier - Mountaineering School

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Mt. Rainier - Mountaineering School

Mt. Rainier - Mountaineering School

The Mountaineering Day School introduces climbers to the basic, foundational techniques of mountaineering.


  • Efficient climb and travel techniques including pressure breathing and the rest-step
  • Effective crampon use
  • Ice axe arrest
  • Rope Travel
  • Self-care strategies in the mountains


Throughout the day-long course, we use Mt. Rainier's lower slopes to learn and practice various techniques and skills necessary for climbing in glaciated terrain. Experienced and talented guides facilitate the instruction of key skills in mountaineering.

This program is ideal of novice climbers seeking to gain confidence in the mountains. Our Mountaineering Day School, taken in coordination with our Crevasse Rescue School, prepares aspiring climbers to safely and smartly attempt a glaciated climb.


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.


RMI strives to create the safest mountain experience possible. Our experienced team of guides focuses on leading fun and successful programs without compromising safety. Each program 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.

NPS Authorized ConcessionerAuthorized Concessioner

RMI Expeditions is an authorized concessioner of Mount Rainier National Park.

Address comments to:
Superintendent | Mount Rainier National Park
55210 238th Avenue East
Ashford, WA 98304

These services are operated in an area under jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior. No discrimination by segregation or other means in the furnishing of services or privileges on the basis of race, creed, color, ancestry, sex, age, disabling condition or national origin is permitted in the use of this facility. Violation of this prohibition are punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

Climate Change

OffsettersAll of our climbs in Mt. Rainier National Park are 100% carbon neutral. We have partnered with Offsetters, Canada's leading carbon management solutions provider, to purchase offsets for our greenhouse gas emissions. Their projects are verified and validated by third parties to ensure that the emission reductions are real, additional, and permanent, so we know that our contribution is making a real difference.

By supporting this project, we prevent the equivalent amount of greenhouse gas emissions that were generated by our operations from being emitted somewhere else. These offsets allow us to achieve our goal of sustainability and further promote responsible environmental practices.

Contact Us

As you prepare for your upcoming adventure please feel free to contact our office and speak directly to one of our experienced guides regarding equipment, conditioning, the route, or any other questions you may have about our programs. We are available Monday thru Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at (888) 89-CLIMB or info@rmiguides.com.

Climber Reviews

Filter By
Everything was great but the quality of experience and education provided by the guides was tremendous.
Curtis B.

The guides!!! They were excellent and I would llove to do a summit attempt with them. Also, the rental gear was top notch and well maintained!!
Tom W.

Ice axe arrests were crazy fun, I loved practicing efficient travel in the snow, and the team was great.
Christine L.

I enjoyed how organized the trip was and of course the material covered along with the hands-on time was fantastic!
Michael R.

Well coordinated trip with clear objectives and guidelines
Kerlan W.

The confidence I gained in this skill set. I now feel capable of adventuring further than I have before.
Lisa F.

The instructors were amazing and I learned very valuable skills!
Christiana O.

I liked how everything was demonstrated first before we learned a new skill. Instructions were communicated and demonstrated really well.
Sarah P.

I enjoyed the team and the group. I found the training to be most beneficial and I am glad that I was able to take the course as I am new to alpine climbing.
Jeffrey L.

The ability for our guides to answer unexpected questions
Ian G.

This was a great orientation for me as an absolute novice to know the very basics-of what to pack/how to pack, preferred equipment, etc. Just taking that guess work out of what I'll need in the future was worth it. My dream has always been to climb Mt. Rainier, and I wanted to 'get a feel for RMI". Boy was I impressed, and SOLD! You folks are very professional, courteous, FUN, patient. I would feel 100% confident going on an RMI expedition-that I would be getting the best in safety and adventure.
Julie P.

Our guide!
Sarah S.

Great learning, great fun, y'all are the gold standard and you proved why.
Reed L.

The small group (4 plus 1 guide), the hands-on practice, all the tips for being a more effective hiker.
Mathias R.

This is a difficult question to answer. I Enjoyed Every Aspect of The Trip! Everyone was always positive and went above and beyond. Top Notch Service! The Climb on Rainier was Fantastic! I can't wait to come back next year and attempt to Summit.
Pete K.

I loved being able to experience mountaineering for the first time. I was treated with respect (despite my inexperience) and I am so glad I've got a few new tricks to try!
Katy N.

We had a really fun group of people during this lesson, which made the day a blast. Christina was an excellent instructor, and we all really bonded throughout the day. This was also my first time being close to Mt. Rainier, and it definitely blew my mind to be a part of that environment. From a skillset standpoint, I loved learning about traveling with crampons, ropes, and self-arrest with an ice ax. I'm completely hooked.
MacKenzie R.

Use of avi beacon
Janet V.

I enjoyed the entire trip... the guides were funny, personable, yet strong leaders with significant care for our safety, our enjoyment of mountaineering, and their commitment to maintaining a "leave no trace" regard for the environment. The itinerary was well planned and enjoyable.
Mark E.

Hearing Mike and Chase's experiences and background. They constantly provided us with 'why' you do something that way they explained. They both responded fully to each of our questions. They also provided useful feedback as we were practicing.
Greg K.

Instructors were completely engaged, seemed to love what they do and enjoyed people. Never felt like they were bored, arrogant or distracted.
Cheryl R.

Gaining the necessary knowledge to climb safely in a out door environment. The hands on experience is first rate. Your team did a wonderful job.
Patrick T.

Learning skills in a beautiful place on a nice day with great people.
Bryan C.

Learning how to walk on snow, a crucial thing I never thought about before.
Dakotah F.

The class taught me exactly what I wanted to learn. The guide student ratio was very good and Andrew took time for my husband to help with skill learning when he needed more one on one instructions. He was very patient when the more mature students needed a little longer to catch on. In the end, everyone passed and I feel more knowledgable about how to keep safe in the back country when dealing with snow fields.Andrew also took time to look at my hiking boots and gave me good advise re what would work well on our upcoming Grand Teton Adventure.
Sigrun S.

I really enjoyed the rental process that morning. I can't recall the name of the guys that helped us, but they were very pleasant to work with. I also really enjoyed our instructors/guides that day. Mike and Andrew were a great match and really played off of each other when teaching us different skills. They were a good mix of knowledge and personality. It made for a fun day. We had a couple of older folks in our group that were struggling to keep up/follow along and I thought they also handled that very professionally.
Allison N.

Finally I got some formal instruction after years and years of climbing. I picked up on a few things I can improve on. Many aspects of the program I already was very familiar with though.
Paul K.

The mountain and the weather (blue-bird). Self arresting was fun.
Dan C.

I must say that having two women instructors and other women in the group made my 15 year old daughter very comfortable participating and I could see her looking up to the instructors as inspirational role models after hearing their achievements, she picked up new things very quickly as a result. Very impressive!!
Jason L.


Everything. The class was worth every penny and I learned lots of valuable information.
Amy B.

The guides and training process.
Michael S.

Our guide's knowledge and attention to detail.
Alex G.

I just really liked all of it even though my effort was abbreviated, the mountains are always great.
Walter E.

It was day school so really the pragmatic instruction tips from Josh were the highlight. You can read it, you can hear it, but it's not till you actually do it and get realtime feedback that you understand it.
Keir W.

Valerie C.

I have been mountaineering for years now. But I still walked away with learning a lot. Each guide approaches the mountain different. Always opportunity to learn how to work more efficiently on the mountain.
Monique H.

Being on the mountain and learning some of the key skills for effective climbing. I enjoyed learning to self arrest!
Alex L.

It was truly an extraordinary experience to be on the mountain in the snow and sun with the right gear and a worthwhile objective. Every minute of the training class was exciting and fun. The instructors and my classmates were great. I wish it could have lasted longer. I'll be back for more!Besides the class itself, I enjoyed staying at Whittaker's Bunkhouse.
Gregg T.

The people! The folks of RMI. Positive, upbeat and very helpful!
Ken A.

I enjoyed the portion where we learned how to self arrest. That was good practice and very helpful.
Tristan R.

Learning from the guides, learning techniques, learning what poor physical condition I am in :)
Robert D.

Uncrowded time on Mount Rainier with great guides. Got some stunning photos.
Andrew M.

Watching the guide simplicity in action - there is no wasted effort; how the manage/handle their gear, etc. For a beginner it presents an example of not only what you need to do, but the broader perspectives you need to bring to your preparation for and time on a mountain.
Michael S.

  • Upcoming Climbs

    • Please call our offices at 1-888-892-5462 to inquire about availability.
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  • Price
    1 days
    Level 1
Table of Contents
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Day 1


8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.: Meet at 8:00 a.m. at Rainier BaseCamp. Please arrive dressed for hiking and packed with your Mountaineering Day School gear. *Rainier BaseCamp in Ashford opens at 7:00 a.m. Climbers may register with RMI, pick up rental equipment and purchase last minute items from Whittaker Mountaineering during this time.

We begin the morning with a welcome and introduction of team members and guides. Guides offer final packing and clothing suggestions before a shuttle takes our team to the trailhead at Paradise.

We ascend to our training area just above Paradise on the lower slopes of Mt. Rainier between 6,000' and 6,600'. We introduce a number of skills, from basic techniques of efficient mountain travel (rest-stepping and pressure breathing) through cramponing, roped travel, and ice axe arrest practice. The training is a great introduction to mountaineering for novice climbers as well as refresher for those with previous experience, ensuring that all climbers have the basic skills to climb safely and comfortably on the mountain.

Following the day of training, the shuttle takes our group back to Rainier BaseCamp.

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This trip is open to all individuals in excellent physical condition. There are no technical climbing prerequisites to join this program.

  • Get In The Best Shape Of Your Life
    And Then Go
    Climb A Mountain

    Create A Fitness And Training Program

    Go To Fitness Resources

Physical Fitness Training

Mountaineering requires a high degree of physical stamina and mental toughness. Even for the healthiest and fittest individuals, climbing mountains qualifies as an extremely challenging endeavor.

  • Start immediately. Start a rigorous fitness and training program now with the goal of arriving in top physical condition and confident in your skills.
  • Be intentional. Focus on gaining the necessary strength, stamina and skills to meet the physical and technical demands of the climb.
  • Be sport-specific. The best fitness and training program mimics the physical and technical demands of your climbing objective. The closer you get to your program date, the more your training should resemble the climbing.

For the Mountaineering Day School, you are preparing for:

  • Hiking with a 20-25 lb load
  • Mountaineering techniques requiring core strength and flexibility

Nothing ensures a personally successful adventure like your level of fitness and training. Bottom line: Plan on being in the best shape of your life and ready for a very challenging adventure!

Below are approximate outlines of the program's physical demands that will be helpful in planning your training schedule and goals:

Total Hiking Time
Elevation Gain / Loss
Total Distance
Pack Weight
2 - 2 ½ Hours
Round Trip
Gain = 1,000'
Loss = 1,000'
4 Miles
Round Trip
20 - 25 lbs

Please refer to our Resources for Mountaineering Fitness and Training for detailed fitness and training information.

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What You’ll Need

A list of required personal equipment accompanies every RMI program, and the thought process behind each item is much greater than simply “preparing for the worst and hoping for the best.” The list for your program takes into account factors such as: seasonality, route conditions, weather, elevation and more. As such, this list is framed within the broadest of contexts and is dynamic by its very nature. Therefore, certain variables (additions and/or subtractions) are inherent within such an all-encompassing list. We make every effort to recommend only top of the line clothing and technical gear and it is never our intention for you to buy or rent unnecessary gear.

The Guide Pick is an example of the listed item, giving you an idea of the material and specifications of the item. This exact item does not need to be purchased or used; however, any item you choose must have similar characteristics and performance abilities to the Guide Pick.

RMI Guides concur on the potential necessity of every item, thus every item on the list is required at gear check. However, guides may also have suggestions derived from their experience, some of which will vary from a given list. The guides’ recommendation whether to bring along or leave behind certain item(s) comes during the gear check, when the team first meets. Occasionally this recommendation comes at the expense of having previously purchased an item. If a guide presents the option of leaving behind certain item(s) on the list of required equipment, it is for a reason. Their recommendation may be related to the weather, route conditions, freezing level, perceived strength of the party, or desired pack weight.

Ultimately, there will never be a consensus for a “perfect” equipment list for an ascent. It does not exist because of the multitude of variables faced by climbers throughout the climb. Please follow this equipment list closely so that you will arrive for the gear check with all the required items. Keep in mind the list is not black and white, fine tuning will occur once you meet with your guide. Have a great climb!

  • Most of the required equipment is available for rent or purchase from our affiliate Whittaker Mountaineering. RMI climbers receive a 10% discount on new clothing and equipment items ordered from Whittaker Mountaineering when they use code RMI2019 at checkout. This offer excludes sale items, rentals, meal packages, and Feathered Friends.

Shop Your Equipment List // Rent new equipment for your climb

Equipment List

    • ICE AXE

      The length of your axe depends on your height. Use the following general mountaineering formula: up to 5'8", use a 65 cm axe; 5'8" to 6'2", 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. We highly recommend anti-bot plates to prevent snow from balling up underfoot. Rigid frame crampons designed for technical ice climbing are not recommended.


      A digital transceiver is preferred; analog will work as well. If you rent a transceiver, one set of new batteries will be provided.


      You will need protective sunglasses, either dark-lensed with side shields or full wrap-around frames. Almost all sunglasses block UV-A, UV-B and infrared rays adequately. Pay attention to the visible light transmission. The darkest lenses (glacier glasses) only allow approx. 6% visible light to get through, while lighter lenses (driving glasses) let in as much as 20+ %. A good rule of thumb is that if you can see the wearer’s pupils through the lenses, they are too light for sun protection at altitude.


      Insulated mountaineering boots with completely rigid soles are needed to climb Mt. Rainier. While both leather and plastic boots will work well, each has strengths and weaknesses. Plastic boots (or double boots - a boot with a removable insulated liner) will work all season. Appropriate leather boots (stiff-soled, insulated and designed to hold a crampon) are suitable only for warm weather climbs.
      The freezing level forecasted for the time of your climb will be the best guideline for which boot to wear.  A freezing level below 10,000' will dictate the use of plastic or double boots.  A freezing level above 10,000' will provide the option for either plastic boots, double boots or single leather boots. Freezing levels above 10,000' are only seen on a consistent basis between July 1 and August 15 on Mt. Rainier.  We strongly recommend plastic or double boots outside of this time frame.
      Whether leather or plastic, mountaineering boots are designed to remain stiff for kicking steps and working with crampons. To ensure that your feet do well, mountaineering boots must be comfortable right from the start. If renting boots, consider bringing personal orthotics or foot beds.


      We recommend small tubes of SPF 15 or higher, which can be carried in pockets for easy access and to prevent freezing.

    • 1 - 2 WATER BOTTLES

      Hard-sided, screw-top, one-liter water bottles with wide mouths are required. Plastics made with high post-consumer recycled content and BPA-Free are recommended.


      Please use the Zip-Lock as your personal trash bag.

    • CAMERA
    • Purchase travel insurance.

    • Arrange lodging in Ashford.

    • Reserve rental equipment.

    • Arrange transportation to Ashford.

    • Be in the Best Shape of Your Life!

Provided Equipment

RMI provides the following equipment for your program: climbing ropes and blue bags (for solid waste disposal). Every guide will carry a first aid kit and two-way radios.

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Payment in full is due at time of reservation.*

*Payments $2,500 or less may be made via MasterCard, Visa, e-check, check, or wire transfer. Payments over $2,500 must be made via e-check, check, or wire transfer.


$50 of your program fee is non-refundable. Written notification is required for all cancellations.

Once RMI receives written notification of cancellation, the following apply:

  • If you cancel 60 or more days before the start of your program, the program fee will be refunded less $50 per person.
  • If you cancel less than 60 days before the start of your program, no refunds will be issued.

Unfortunately, due to the time-sensitive nature of our business, and the difficulty in re-booking a trip close to departure, we cannot make exceptions to this policy.

Cancellation Insurance

We strongly suggest that everyone purchase travel insurance. Please see our Travel Page for details.

Change of Date

Date changes are subject to availability and apply only to the current climbing season. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 30 days prior to your departure date for a $25 fee per person. There are no date changes allowed less than 30 days before departure.

Risk Management

Managing risk is RMI's number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in mountaineering such as avalanches, ice fall, rock fall, inclement weather, and high winds, but they cannot eliminate them.

Please clearly understand that mountaineering is inherently a hazardous sport. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of mountaineering, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in this activity.

Climber Responsibilities

Mountaineering is both an individual challenge and a team endeavor. Some of the responsibility for the team is carried by the individual climbers. For this reason, we ask that each participant:

  • is physically and mentally fit, properly attired and equipped, and continues to self assess throughout the program to ensure as safe a climb as possible. If a climber's own physical fitness limits his or her ability to safely continue upward, that can have a negative impact on the summit experience or opportunity of other climb participants.
  • honestly and accurately describe themselves, in terms of fitness, health and skills, and their equipment to their guides, and that they adhere to the advice of their professional mountain guide.

If the Participant decides to leave a trip at any time after the start of the trip and prior to its conclusion, he or she will not be entitled to a refund.

RMI reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip or to send the Participant to a lower altitude at any time if RMI determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program.

Age-Appropriate Guidelines & Restrictions

In the interest of the safety and well-being of all participants, RMI adheres to the following age-appropriate guidelines:

  • Ages 15 & under: No participants age 15 & under
  • Ages 16 & 17: Accompanied by parent or legal guardian
  • Ages 18 & above: No restrictions 

An individual’s birthday must precede the departure date of the program. For example: a 15 year old who turns 16 on July 1 may participate on a program beginning July 2.

Under-aged participants on Private Climb or Group Climb programs are assessed on an individual basis.

Both the parent or legal guardian and the Participant must sign all forms. A minor climber must be accompanied by their parent/legal guardian throughout the entirety of the program. If either climber must descend at any time during the program, both climbers must descend together. 

General Policies

RMI's program schedule and itineraries are subject to change or adjustment based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, or other environmental factors, currency fluctuations, changes in outfitting costs, government instability, and many other factors. RMI has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including but not limited to increases in program fees, changes to program schedule or itinerary, and changes to guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program.

We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions, or other environmental factors, government instability, unpredictable social, political or military conditions in countries that we travel. In such a case, you will receive a full refund of program fees paid to RMI, less any non-refundable payments that have been paid to our outfitters prior to the cancellation of the trip. When a trip is cancelled, RMI cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations).

The Participant understands and agrees that RMI assumes no responsibility or liability in connection with any travel and hospitality service provided to the Participant by others in connection with the trip, including but not limited to the services provided by airlines, hotels, and motor vehicle operators, and that RMI is not responsible for any act, error, omission, or any injury, loss, accident, delay, irregularity, or danger by a supplier of travel or hospitality services to the Participant in connection with the RMI program.

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