Mt. Rainier Climbing Fees Increasing For 2013 … But Only By $1

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]

2012 Summit For Someone registration is now open

Big City Mountaineers, the non-profit organization that provides urban youth with opportunities to build life skills through wilderness mentoring experiences, has announced that registration is now open for their 2012 Summit For Someone program. SFS gives adventurous travelers the opportunity to climb some of the world’s most iconic peaks, while raising funds to support the Big City Mountaineers program.

The process is simple. First, you select a mountain that you’d like to climb, such as Mt. Hood in Oregon or Mt. Whitney in California. Each of the mountains has a pledge value assigned to it ranging from $2400 for alpine rock climbs up to $8500 for a full blown mountaineering expedition. By signing up to climb a particular peak, you agree to raise the pledge amount for Big City Mountaineers. Once you’ve reached that goal, you’ll join a Summit For Someone climb on that mountain.

The SMS website has a full list of 2012 climbs which can be viewed here. Some of the mountains available include Grand Teton in Wyoming, Mt. Rainier in Washington, and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Difficulty levels range from beginner, meaning no mountaineering experience at all, to advanced, which is reserved for those who already have a variety of technical climbing skills. There are a number of intermediate options as well, offering something for everyone.

The beauty of the Summit For Someone program is that it gives travelers an opportunity to take part in a true mountain climb and a real adventure, while also raising funds to support a fantastic youth program. If you’re considering options for travel in 2012, perhaps an SMS trip would be the perfect opportunity for you.

[Photo credit: Walter Siegmund via WikiMedia]

Big City Mountaineers begin early registration for 2011 adventures

Big City Mountaineers, an organization dedicated to changing the lives of urban youth through outdoor, wilderness encounters, has announced that early registration for the Summit For Someone program is now available, allowing altruistic and adventurous travelers to take part in one of their 2011 expeditions simply by paying a $50 early application fee. This reservation earns them one of just 150 slots on their 2011 roster of mountain climbs, giving participants the chance to scale such famous peaks as Mt. Rainier, Mt. Shasta, or even Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.

The Summit For Someone program is the number one mountaineering fund raiser in the U.S., and a primary source of funding for the Big City Mountaineers. Those that choose to join a climb pledge to raise a certain amount of money for the organization, and in return they receive an adventure of a lifetime, and a gift card to help them purchase gear for their adventure. The amount of money that they pledge to raise varies depending on the climb, for instance, on a four day expedition to the top of Rainier, they’ll need to earn $4000, while a seven day ascent of the Alaskan peak Denali requires a pledge of $7500.

This year, the Summit For Someone program is more accessible than ever. In years past, a $1000 deposit was required by October 1st for participants to claim their spot. This year, they have been given the option to either pay a $450 deposit or raise $1250 in funds that will serve as the deposit instead.

Some of the other climbs that are included on the 2011 schedule for Summit For Someone include the 14,505 foot tall Mt. Whitney in California or the 13,809 foot Gannett Peak in Wyoming. There is also an expedition planned to climb volcanoes in Mexico, a beginner mountaineering seminar in Rocky Mountain National Park, and a full traverse of the Presidential Range in New Hampshire as well. For a complete list of the planned expeditions click here.

For adventure travelers, the Summit For Someone program is a great opportunity to not only experience a true wilderness adventure, but also give something back in the process. The money they raise goes directly to the Big City Mountaineers program, which in turn uses the funding to create meaningful experiences for at-risk urban youth who would normally never receive the opportunity to explore the outdoors in such a way. Each year, BCM helps hundreds of kids to build self-esteem, confidence, and communications skills through their program.

Travel, adventure, the great outdoors, and a chance to help a great organization. What more could you ask for?

[Photo credit: Walter Siegmund via WikiMedia]

Outdoor Research invites you to climb a northwest icon

Outdoor Research, manufacturer of a full line of great outdoor gear, is giving adventurers the chance of a lifetime with their Climb A Northwest Icon sweepstakes. The contest will send one lucky winner to Washington state, where they’ll have the opportunity to climb Mt. Rainier, led by one of the best mountain guide services in the business.

To enter the contest simply click here and fill out the online entry form any time between now and September 30th. Later this fall, the winner will be announced, and sent off on a 3-4 day guided climb of Rainier, led by International Mountain Guides, a company that has experience on peaks from the Himalaya to the Andes and beyond. The contest includes round trip airfare to Seattle, and $1500 worth of gear from Outdoor Research as well. The prizes don’t end there however. Two second place winners will each receive a Mithril Jacket courtesy of OR, while five third place winners will each get a pair of Outdoor Research Arete Gloves. The contest is is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.

Standing 14,411 feet in height, Rainier is the tallest mountain in Washington, and one of the top climbs in all of North America. To reach the summit, climbers will have to cross a massive glacier, the largest in the contiguous United States, and ascend a vertical prominence that is taller than the legendary K2. Depending on their experience, and the weather conditions, most people will reach the summit in three days, where they are treated to an outstanding view of the landscapes around them, including two massive craters that are remnants of the mountain’s volcanic past.

On a personal note, I have a number of gear items from Outdoor Research, and after months of use, they continue to impress me. They may not be as well known as some of the other, larger, gear manufacturers, but they do produce high quality gear for all kinds of activities. I highly recommend them for your next outdoor adventure.