The Emmons Glacier Route on Rainier is the second most climbed route on the mountain, and may well be the least technical. It receives about 15% of the around 10,000 annual summit attempts. This is a long strenuous climb (10,000 vertical feet) and demands solid aerobic conditioning. The climb requires a climbing permit. See the NPS web site for the latest permit regulations.

Activity Notes

NOTE : ICS graduates and BCEP graduates with Crevasse rescue training ONLY


The Emmons-Winthrop route is the ‘next step up’ from the Disappointment Cleaver route. The character of climbing this route is more independent in nature. There is a greater need to be self-reliant and skilled in crevasse rescue, route finding, belay systems, and crampon technique.


From White River Campground (4,400 ft), hike 3.5 mi to Glacier Basin (5,935 ft). Continue on way trails for another mile to base of the Inter Glacier (7,000 ft). Rope up here.


Ascend 1,500 feet up the middle of the Inter Glacier, bearing slightly southeast to reach the glacier rim (9,000 ft) at Camp Curtis. Do a traversing descent to the Emmons Glacier and ascend the Emmons to Camp Schurman (~9,500 ft) at the base of Steamboat Prow.  We plan to arrive early for good campsite at Emmons Flat (~9,800 ft), a few hundred feet higher than Camp Schurman.

Updated 7/9/19 - We have secured permits for Emmons Flat/Camp Schurman. 

Dates - 8/15/19 – 8/18/19

Party Size - 8

Entry trailhead - White River CG Trailhead

Itinerary -

8/15 - Emmons Glacier Alpine Zone (Group) - Meet at White Water CG at 9 am. Packs-up and ready to go at 10 am latest. Start ascent. Overnight acclimatization at 9,800 ft 

8/16 - Emmons Glacier Alpine Zone (Group) - Acclimatization, crevasse rescue review and rest day. Early night. 

8/17 - Emmons Glacier Alpine Zone (Group) - Alpine start. Summit Attempt. Descent - Rest at Emmons flat.

8/18 - Descend to White Water CG - Drive home

Exit trailhead - White River CG Trailhead.

From Emmons Flat, we will follow a smooth snow slope called "The Corridor" slightly east, to about 12,000 ft. Here the glacier becomes heavily crevassed and offers many variations in routes to the crater rim. The usual routes go straight up and left, or bear right and across to the saddle between the true summit, Columbia Crest, and Liberty Cap.

The actual summit (14,411 ft) is on the far west side of the crater rim. 

Other Information
Driving Distance from Portland 180 miles
Driving Time from Portland 4 hours
Expected Duration Car to car in two or more days
Relevant Books Climbers Guide to the Cascade Volcanoes by Jeff Smoot Cascade Alpine Guide: Columbia River to Stevens Pass by Fred Beckey Selected Climbs in the Cascades by Nelson and Potterfield
Relevant Maps USGS 7 minute series, Sunrise and Mt. Rainier East <href="http: "="" adventure="" c463="" starts-here="" title="On the Mazama Climbing and Hiking map page """ your="">On the Mazama Climbing and Hiking map page <href="http:"" maps?f="q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Mt.+Rainier&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=40.732051,93.164063&ie=UTF8&ll=46.849802,-121.757483&spn=0.017229,0.04549&t=p&z=15&iwloc=A"" title="Google map">Google map</href="http:></href="http:>
Awards Qualified 16 Major NW Peaks
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