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camping above "traditional" high camps on Rainier

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If the Rangers notice you camping outside of the established and approved campsites they will probably make you move back down. I think Ingraham Flats is your highest "official" bivy.


Enjoy. fruit.gif

Nope. You just have to tell the rangers where you will be camping, when you sign in at the ranger station. There are various "alpine zones" each of which has a limit on how many can camp there. Even the summit is considered an alpine zone, and has a quota (though I doubt it often fills up). When we got our permit for the Kautz Glacier route, we were allowed to camp anywhere in the "Kautz Alpine Zone", or some such. RMI expedition seminars sometimes camp above 12k on the D.C. route, and presumably they are well aware of the regulations.

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Bronco, once you're on the glacier or above 10,000' you're allowed to camp anywhere you want.

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i miss these rainier questions when they aren't in the rainier thread...


lots of great advice here.


mountaineer38, if you prefer to camp higher than ingraham flats, and have a really short summit day, there are a few options. but you're going to introduce a few problems (rodchester caught on here) too.


for the most part, with a strong back and shovel, any climber can probably make some sort of camp just about anywhere on the mountain. you can camp in crevasses, carve out platforms on ice, and dig flat spots on steep glaciers... it's all a matter of what you want and how hard you’re willing to work. keep in mind, the winds can be bad just about anywhere on the hill, but they tend to get worse up high. furthermore, you're spending more time up high and on the hill. That means you’re taking the chance that something (i.e the weather, your health, your resolve, your partner, etc...) could change. yes, it's completely possible to get a week of wonderful weather. If that’s the case, you'll have few regrets, but... you may spend 3 lovely days basking in the sun below 11K only to walk into a storm on day 4. you need to measure these factors and your goals.


if you really want to spend 4-5 days climbing. here is "one" suggestion.


day one: hike up the muir snowfield to say 8K or so.


day 2: hike to camp muir (10K).


day 3, go to ingraham flats (11K). there, take a rest day and enjoy the view of little t and the sunrise.


day 5: climb to the summit. yes, its roughly 3K of elevation gain, but you'll feel really good after taking a day off and spending that much time on route.


this is a VERY conservative approach, but you wouldn't be the first to do this and many folks have a good time doing so.


benefits, lots of time in the field, enjoy the trip, etc, etc...


bad side, weather could change, could get sick of your partner (choose well!) and your packs will be heavier.


if you want to carry your pack above 11K, i would say, camp on the summit instead and spend a day off there. explore the caves, enjoy the view, etc. that’s probably more fun than some bivy on route above the ingraham flats (IMO.)


ramsey and mtnfreak are pretty much right... you can get permits for the upper mountain. i doubt (really hope) that anyone will yell at you!


have a great trip.



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I'd just like to add a little. I agree with the comment that if you spend 3+ days on the Mt you will enjoy your experience more, and have less symptoms of altitue illness. But some ppl like me, have a very dificult time sleeping at all above 10,000 ft. So when I do it, I'm more aclimated, but I'm a lot more tired. I end up trying to do a summit attempt feeling better suited to the altitude, but like I haven't slept in 3 days, and the 3 days feel like 5 since I haven't slept. I guess the only way to know this about yourself, it to try it. Some ppl can snore away.

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Do you have any stats or perhaps a general impression as the the relative success rates of parties that go for the "traditional" 2-day itinerary as compared to, say, a 3-day plan? How 'bout the 1-day'ers?

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