Mt Rainier: Emmons Glacier Route
Pierce County, Washington
Uploaded by Bivy Team


27 :21 hrs
8.1 mi
9940 ft

The Emmons Glacier Route is probably the least technical route to the summit and the second most popular, but certainly has its share of challenges and hazards. The Emmons is the largest glacier in the lower 48 states, and the route travels on it for nearly 3 miles. Avalanches, ice fall, and especially crevasses are all hazards on the glacier, especially late in the season. The approach is long and involves a hike on a trail for about 3.5 miles followed by a rough climber's path to the base of the Inter Glacier near 7,000 feet. Rock fall is common here in the summer. Attain the ridge southeast of the Inter at 8,650 feet and climb to Camp Curtis near 9,000 feet before descending/traversing onto the Emmons. The Emmons can be heavily crevassed between here and Camp Schurman, the usual camp at 9,500 feet at the wedge where the Winthrop and Emmons Glaciers split. Emmons Flat at 9,800 feet is another popular spot to make camp. From Emmons Flat, the normal route angles left to the base of The Corridor, which usually offers about 2,000 vertical feet of relatively crevasse-free climbing. When crevasses begin appearing more frequently, generally around 12,000 feet, the usual route swings right onto the upper part of the Winthrop Glacier. The steepest sustained climbing, about 40°, is here. The bergschrund at the top of the glacier can be a formidable obstacle. An alternative is to swing left and join the upper part of the standard south approach above Disappointment Cleaver. From above the bergschrund near the Liberty Cap saddle, head south to the summit. This route is a long one, and most injuries happen on the descent. Plan on 5-8 hours each way. In addition to standard glacier and climbing gear, a second ice tool, ice screws, and wands are recommended. The weather on this side of the mountain is not as easily predictable and storms can roll in with little warning. See MNRP website for more info on climbing permits. II AI1.

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