High-altitude mountaineering requires skills that can only be harvested on the unforgiving face of a glaciated mountain. Learn the skills necessary to cross gaping crevasses and climb to the summit Mount Rainier 14,411 feet (4,393 meters) under the guidance of SummitClimb volunteer leaders, such as Dan Mazur. Members spend a week with the SummitClimb staff preparing gear, learning, and practicing glacier travel skills in the Mt. Rainier National Park. This course is ideal for those looking to meet new climbing partners, practice skills, and learn both classic and modern techniques.
We provide a school free of charge in order to encourage people to join the climbing community and be inspired by the mountains. We also want to get people who might already be familiar with the sport of mountaineering to come out and share their knowledge with the group. This school serves as a steppingstone for perspective climbers to see how they feel at altitude and test out their equipment. Feel free to come out, ask lots of questions, meet and climb with the expedition leaders of SummitClimb.
What is included?
What is not included?
Day 1 - Arrive at Sea-Tac International Airport and make your way to Olympia Washington. Members may choose to camp in the expedition leader’s backyard/ garden, or we can advise members on a local hotel at your own expense.
Day 2 – We start the day with some of the coffee or tea, and then meet the group for a mandatory meeting at 8:30. After breakfast at a local café, the expedition leader will check the members’ equipment and clothing. Next, the group carpools up to Seattle where participants can buy, try out, or rent equipment at many of the reasonably priced shops like Ascent Outdoors or REI. We will finish the day with dinner at a local restaurant before making our way back to Olympia.
Day 3 - We pack our rucksacks and cars in Olympia and caravan to the Mount Rainier National Park. Along the way, we will stop at a grocery store for last minute food shopping. At the park, we start by getting group gear sorted and permits organized. After learning and practicing snow travel techniques, we will arrive at the glacial moraine where we set up camp, cook dinner, and get a good night’s rest for school the next day.
Day 4 - After an early breakfast, we go over roping up and walking as a team on a glacier. We climb some of the hills surrounding camp and practice building snow anchors. We finish the day by practicing self arrest and glissading with our ice axes as we descend back to camp.
Day 5 - After a morning breakfast, we pack up our camp and spend the day moving through the clouds to the upper mountain where we will build a high camp in preparation for our summit attempt. The path is up a variety of non-technical snow terrain with excellent views of the surrounding glaciers.
Day 6 -We use the technical icefall near camp to teach crevasse self-rescue techniques in the morning. We end the day early so that we can melt snow and fill water bottles for our evening climb. The leaders spend the rest of the day answering any questions that have come up over the week.
Day 7 - We will walk through the night, taking advantage of optimal snow conditions as well as using all hours in the day, hopefully arriving at the summit before lunch. The route has steep snow to 40 degrees and includes portions of volcanic rock that we will scramble over to gain the summit ridge. After arriving at the summit, we can celebrate, and rest in the crater for bite to eat. We walk back to camp while enjoying the alpine vistas, pack up our high camp, and head back to the parking lot for the drive to Olympia. Some members choose to head back to Seattle this day, but do not schedule a flight on day 7 as we may get in very late.
Day 8 - We have a final group breakfast in Olympia, and we say goodbye to new friends, then make our way to the airport for our journey home.
The expedition leaders of the Seattle Glacier School have teaching experience on all seven continents, have organized multiple Himalayan expeditions, and are happy to share knowledge with people of all abilities. During the glacier school, leaders will be close at hand to help you with alpine cooking, building a comfortable home in the snow, explaining technical mountaineering skills, and answering any questions that you may have. Throughout the school, you will be climbing with the leaders of Summitclimb, but you will also be close to some experienced climbers that have come out to join us as well. With so much knowledge around even the most experienced of climbers are bound to get new useful tricks out of the school.
Dan Mazur, senior expedition leader, will be leading the glacier school. Dan is a relaxed, friendly and organized person, and a highly-skilled professional with years of experience in getting people to the summit and back down with the highest attention to safety. He has been leading and organizing successful and safe overland, trekking, and mountaineering expeditions for 20 years, to Tibet, Nepal, Tadjikistan, Pakistan, India, China, Africa, and North America.
SummitClimb will provide group gear to use throughout the school. You may borrow one of our expedition tents. Participants may borrow stoves from SummitClimb, however fuel may need to be purchased. Leaders will organize climbing equipment like pickets, flukes, and ice screws to experiment with during classes.
No previous technical mountaineering experience is required for the school, but previous camping experience is necessary. Members should be comfortable living outside for the week, staying in a tent, and cooking their own food.
Participants will carry their personal gear as well as some group gear. Stronger participants will carry more of the group gear than smaller members, but you should expect to carry around forty to fifty pounds. If you enjoy walking outside with a backpack for three to six hours with twenty minute breaks thrown in, then you should have no problem on this trip.
It is important to exercise regularly 60 days before the trip begins, at least 4 days per week, in order to get in the best physical condition possible and truly enjoy the trip. Please contact us if you are at all skeptical about your fitness for this trip as we are happy to advise and explain.
Please fill out an application and return it to us with your refundable ten-percent deposit to hold your place on the team.
In addition to your application, we will need the following at least two months before the trip begins:
Please contact us with any questions you may have.
Fill out the application as soon as possible and send it back to us to be put on the waiting list. We will contact you to let you know 60 days before the school begins if you have been accepted into the program.
Here is what Lenchik has to says: Great to see the pictures from our Glacier School! The skills I learned were pretty handy on my recent climb. Thank you to SummitClimb - you are an amazing leader, role model, mentor! Highly recommend. -Lee
Here is what Scott says:
What an adventure! Thank you for your tremendous hospitality and hope to see you soon. -Scott
Here is what Sarah has to say: Hello Dan! I just wanted to say thank you so much for teaching me for a WEEK long... for free. It was an incredible trip, and I am so happy that I got to learn about glacier travel from you. I will sign up for one of your other trips sometime in the future:) Here are some of the pictures that I took. Sarah
Here is what Harry has to say: Dear SummitClimb, Thank you very much for leading our Glacier School. I appreciate all the experience you shared with us, and your leadership on the climb. Best Regards, Harry
Here is what Stephen says: Thank you SummitClimb for the incredible experience and friendship. I can't wait to do it again. –Stephen
Here is what Brent has to say: Everyone, It was great climbing with everyone and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. If anyone wants to climb out here in the Great Northwest in the future, contact me and I will be happy to climb with you or just get you the latest route beta. That goes for rock, snow, ice and alpine routes.
As to www.SummitClimb.com , I plan on joining some of their trips to Nepal and China in the future. If anyone else has these aspirations, please let me know. Stay clipped, Brent