Planning for Mount Rainier isn’t just about gear, food, people, and conditions; we also have to think about permits.
Summertime within Mt. Rainier National Park is truly stunning - from lowland forested trails to the massively glaciated alpine - it offers exceptional recreational opportunities. Being so close to Seattle, however, things get a little complicated if you are looking to experience the beauty by exploring the high mountain or staying overnight.
Most years, getting camping permits to the most sought after locations within the park can test the will of most folks. Large chunks of the allocated spots are reserved months in advance, and the few that remain are left to a first-come first-served battle of the early birds.
2016 is unique, however. ALL wilderness camping and climbing permits will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis (aka walk-in). Usually you put in a request for a climbing date or a Wonderland trail trip plan, and then reservations are processed by hand. Earlier this year, however, the old reservation system experienced a critical failure resulting in the loss of 2,000 odd reservation requests. The result is an atypical permit season - a great opportunity to get out on a whim! With that in mind, it is important to understand the passes, permits, and registrations needed.
Climbing Mount Rainier involves glacier travel and spending a night on the mountain. If this applies to you, then you will need the following: a Wilderness Camping Permit and a Climbing Pass, which you use to obtain your Climbing Permit for specified dates.
Climbing Pass & Permit
According to the National Park website, a “Climbing Pass is required for anyone who plans to climb above 10,000 feet or onto any glaciers.” In other words, if you plan to go to go beyond camp Muir or Camp Schurman, or on a glacier, you’ll need a pass. Each pass covers your climbing fees for the rest of the calendar year and you can use it to register for an unlimited number of climbs that year.
Once you have a Climbing pass, the day before or the day of your climb you go to a ranger station and use it (along with Photo ID) to reserve your climbing permit. The permit should go up the mountain with you. One way to think of it is the climbing pass is your admission fee for the year, and the climbing permit reserves your spot on the mountain during a specified time frame.
Permits are first come first serve. Wherever you plan to go on the mountain, there is a set number of climbing permits allowed each day for each location, which means on the most popular weekends you would be best off going the day before to help ensure that you are not turned away empty handed. A climbing pass does not guarantee a climbing permit for the time that you want.
The fees associated with the climbing permits support a variety of programs on the mountain that ensure the health of the ecosystem and the safety of human visitors. These include supporting the climbing rangers at the high camps, staffing ranger stations, flying human waste off the mountain to be disposed of properly, and protecting the alpine environment.
In addition, According to the NPS website, “Climbing permits for Paradise area routes require registration at the Climbing Information Center at Paradise. Emmons/Liberty Ridge route climbs require registration at the White River Wilderness Information Center at the White River Entrance. Climbs initiated from the northwest corner of the park (Carbon River & Mowich Lake) must register with staff at the Carbon River Ranger Station.”
For more information, check out these pages from the National Park:
Wilderness Camping Permit
Planning to camp? Then you need a wilderness camping permit. These can be issued IN PERSON the day of or the day before your trip.There is also NO fee for these camping permits.
Unlike the climbing pass, there are quotas for backcountry camping in the national park. During peak (ha) season, popular camps and zones can and do fill up. Suffice it to say: the early bird gets the worm. Pro tip: avoid the lines at 7am Saturday morning and claim your spot Friday afternoon. Heading out midweek? Chances are you will have far more options available, but it is still busy, so having a contingency camping plan is always a good idea.
Get an overview of camping zones and zone capacity: Rainier Climbing Zones
This means that if you plan to go over a glacier and camp, you need to have obtained three things: Climbing Pass, Climbing Permit, and Wilderness Camping Permit.
As we celebrate the 4th of July, we bring you a little reflection on what it means to design and make our gear in the USA.
Seattle has been our home from the beginning. It all started in the basement of our founders’ home, and continues in our factory in the SODO neighborhood of Seattle and our retail space in South Lake Union. While the city has gone through major changes since we started in 1972, our philosophy hasn’t.
To the greatest extent possible, we create each garment, sleeping bag, and comforter at our Seattle facility. Some of our pieces, like the Snowy Owl sleeping bag, take years of training and are completed by only one or two of our specialized sewers. Other items may take less time to sew, but every piece that comes out of our factory receives the highest level of care and attention to detail.
In most cases, each piece is finished with a specific person in mind, their name scrawled across a tag as the item moves from the cutting room to the sewing floor, on to the stuffing station and through inspection.
We want to make sure you’re getting the highest quality and longest lasting garment, bag, or comforter possible, and to do so we hire some of the best sewers and production staff out there. In a time when the average American changes jobs every four years, many of our production folks have been with us for decades.
As an independently owned and operated company led by the original founders, we have oversight and control over all aspects of your down gear’s production, from design to final inspection. In addition to excellent quality control, we also strive for a minimal carbon footprint by limiting the shipment of materials before and after construction. As a result, we are are able to guarantee excellent quality and maintain a commitment to ethical treatment of our employees and the environment.
We take great pride in what we create, and are humbled to be trusted by adventurers, explorers, and sleepers across the world.
Our favorite non-essentials
You know how it goes. Ounces turn to pounds, and those pounds are what you have to carry when you’re hiking, backpacking, or climbing. We are constantly looking to shave the weight: balancing need and want, safety and convenience. While we are big proponents of lightening the load, there are some items, luxuries if you will, that we like to have with us if possible.
A little extra weight? Meet our favorite non-essential items
Ibex Night at Feathered Friends
Please join us on Thursday, December 5th for Ibex Night! Check out the best in wool apparel and accessories at our Seattle store and receive 20% off ALL Ibex items - including special orders! Ibex representatives will also be on hand to show what makes Ibex special. Refreshments and snacks will be provided!
Don't miss it!
Where: Feathered Friends
What: IBEX Night
When: Thursday, December 5th
Time: 3pm to 8pm
Bonus: Refreshments, snacks, 20% Off ALL Ibex
20% off applies only from 3pm to 8pm on December 5, 2013. In-store Purchases only.