The National Park Service announced last week that the cost of a climbing permit on Washington’s popular Mt. Rainier will increase next year. But before anyone gets too upset over this price hike, it should be noted that it is only going up $1. The price of an adult permit will now cost $44, while a youth pass for those 24 years of age or younger will be priced at $31.
The Park Service is quick to point out that the extra money will go directly to the climbing cost recovery fee, which is used to manage and support climbing on the 14,411-foot mountain. All funds generated by the fee are specifically designated to keeping Mt. Rainier clean, staffing the mountain with experienced rangers and information center personnel, and providing gear and other equipment for safe expeditions up the peak.
Rainier is amongst the more popular mountaineering destination in the U.S., drawing approximately 10,500 climbers on an annual basis. Most spend 2-3 days going up the popular Camp Muir route on the mountain’s southeast face. It is a challenging technical ascent that requires experience in glacier trekking, some rope skills and the use of crampons for success. Many climbers view Rainier as a good place to build such skills, particularly if they have plans to attempt larger mountains such as Denali or one of the big Himalayan peaks.
The most common cause for a failed attempt on Rainier is most likely the weather. The mountain is known for its fickle conditions, which can change very quickly. More than one climber or hiker has to be rescued from its slopes each year because they are caught off guard by sudden snow or rainstorms. Because of this, it is always advisable that hikers and climbers carry extra clothing, food and water with them, even if they are only planning a day hike.
For those interested in climbing Rainier, there are a number of good guide services available. I’d personally recommend the very experienced and reliable crew at RMI Expeditions. The may cost a little more than some of the competition, but they are most definitely worth it.
[Photo credit: Daniel Keebler]