Forums Splitboard Talk Forum Splitboarding Mt. Rainier
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  • #567783
    17 Posts

    Has anyone out there climbed Rainier?

    I am planning a trip to climb Rainier and we are wondering if we should bring the splitboards alon, at least to get us up to base camp and through all the lower elevations (snowfields.)

    We have read accounts of people skiing off the summit in Early July after they climbed the Emmons Route. Does anyone know anything about this. Our idea is to skin up to base camp (Emmons Route) and then crampon it to the summit with out boards on our back.

    Any advice would be welcome.


    2068 Posts

    I don’t know much about Rainer but you won’t find me on top of any high peaks without a board. Riding down is fun.

    2486 Posts

    Go for it. I second eco’s comments. I climbed Shasta through the Hotlum Glacier. Splitboard was on my back all the way up because I went with a climber and he wanted to go directly through the glacier field. I carried an extra 12 pounds ( splitboard) . I was a true joy riding down as he walked, and walked , and walked. Only drag was I had to stop and wait for him every 1000-1500 feet.

    79 Posts

    i skied off the summit of rainier a few years back. some of the worst snow i ever skied. it helps to do it on a really warm day so the snow softens up high, and plan on skiing down a little later in the day than you would if you were hiking. be prepared for some very variable conditions, but yeah i would bring the board – i think it would be fun and have been thinking of going back with my mtn gun sometime.

    35 Posts

    If you’re thinking about the Emmons, you might as well ride of the summit. I’ve been up Rainier a few times, on the Emmons once, but never with my board, although i’ve wished i had it. The Emmons route isn’t particularly steep. It feels very exposed though, with crevasses being the obvious danger. I was on the Emmons mid-August last year, and I feel like the crevasse danger could be somewhat mitigated with solid route finding skills.
    I would however, second the comment on variable conditions. Sections of that route had developed some of the biggest and weirdest looking sun cups i have ever seen, probably developed some time in July. One of the rangers had recently telemarked from the col between Columbia Crest and Liberty Cap, and he said despite the time of year, the worst crevasses and gnarly suncups could be avoided.
    I would spend a few days up there and scout it out. At the very least, the split would ease the appraoch from White River CG (which is considerably longer than any other approach for more popular routes on the south side). How far you can ride out will certainly depend on snow conditions at that time of year. You could certainly make it down the Interglacier, probably a good ways down Glacier Basin.
    Brush up on your crevasse rescue and roped travel skills. I would recommend PMBs or AT boots. Probably doable with soft boots, but I dont think i would be comfortable in them on the Emmons.
    A descent of the Emmons is certainly on my list. Go for it, and be sure to post a TR.

    17 Posts

    Thanks for the info! I am really stoked about the climb. The way I figure it, we are going to split up the Interglacier and then see how the conditions are higher up.

    We are concerned about the snowpack though, and were wondering how thick it is this year. Any info on that? Or is there a link for that?


    affix snow
    521 Posts

    Routes, Trip Reports, and other goodies….

    If you go to the home page you can check on snow levels…..

    203 Posts

    It is Really deep up here this year. Here is some WA data…

    Best of luck to you on your climb

    10 Posts

    Also, be aware that if you go the route of the Emmons that the first 3 miles may very likely be dirt trail. So, you’ll be shouldering your boards for that section. Yep,yep,yep.

    Jon Dahl
    384 Posts

    I can vouch for sun cups of tremendous size in the late season. A few years back I did Adams in late July and found the sun cup from hell on my way down, exited it upside down, and did my only ice axe self arrest boarding. I’d watch conditions and plan on moving my trip up a few weeks myself if possible, especially if you are dead set on the split. Otherwise you may be better served with a solid board (lighter) on your back. And be aware of the weather here, unlike other fourteeners Rainier can become quite nasty. Well know fact is that the weather on her can be the closest you can get to the Himalaya’s w/o actually leaving the continent!

    24 Posts

    All these posts on Mt. Rainier made me wonder if anyone knows about this website they pioneer many routes in the NW and provide great info on conditions and current routes taken. Please check my website if you need mail order splitboard or wax/repair service.

    17 Posts

    When did you encouter the sun cups of death? We are planing on starting our climb on June 30, and ending around July 3.

    We are hoping that this way we can still get into good snowpack, but not have the really bad snow.

    35 Posts

    When did you encouter the sun cups of death? We are planing on starting our climb on June 30, and ending around July 3.

    The bigger suncups i’ve seen probably didnt get to be that size until late July, a week or two before August. You should be fine with your plans for late June/early July. But my understanding is that primo conditions for skiing from the top are earlier in May and June. Hit up the TAYers, they know whats up as far as what to expect for conditions. Plenty of collective knowledge on the PNW over there.

    5 Posts

    Also check out the forums at for good beta.

    178 Posts

    Hammbone I would usually plan a climb right after the White River campground (4,250) opens. Most years its in May. That way you might be able to skin some of the 4 mile / 2k elevation gain to Glacier Basin. Nice thing is the 4 miles is shaded by trees.

    The Interglacier is full of gapers so the earlier the better. Ya never know how long the snowpack lasts around here with our weather. Are you planning on camping at Curtis (8,600) or Schurman (9,300)? Either way its a long haul with overnight packs and splits. There’s also tons of terrain options if conditions up high are bad. Dog Leg chute off Ruth, St Elmo’s Pass, and your pick at a variety of chutes leading into Glacier Basin.

    Plan on encountering variable snow conditions on your way down. You maybe riding on everything from windpacked powder at the top, to ice, crust, corn, suncups and wierd spiraling snow/ice formations.

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