Mount Rainier: Disappointment Cleaver

Mt. Rainier is one of America’s premier climbing destinations and the perfect training ground for future mountaineering expeditions around the world. Reaching to a height of 14,410 feet, Mt. Rainier gives you a full on mountaineering experience. Our program is five days. We start at Paradise Visitor Center and ascend via Disappointment Cleaver - with two days of mountaineering skills built in. This allows beginners to gain confidence and seasoned climbers a chance to refresh all while acclimatizing to the altitude. Most importantly, it allows time to truly appreciate and enjoy the experience. If you are looking to test your strength and have a big mountain experience, we encourage you to join us on our climb to the roof of the Northwest.

2024 Dates TBD



Price: $1895 Per Person
Length: 5 days
Guide-to-Client Ratio: 1:2
Difficulty: Strenuous
When: 2024 Dates TBD
Type: Mountaineering
Type: Mostly Experiential


2:1 NEM Guide Ratio
½ Day of Mountain Skills
Emergency Gear
MRNP Climbing Permit
MRNP Park Permit
Mountaineering Skills
Crevasse Rescue Experience


Personal Gear
Rental gear


Most of the required equipment [listed below] is available for rent from our affiliate mtnGEAR. NEM climbers will receive an exclusive discount of 20% discount on all rental equipment and clothing.

Day 1: Today, plan to arrive in Ashford, WA by 3PM at the latest. We will meet at 3PM at our campground. Here we will meet and greet our fellow teammates and get a briefing of what to expect for the next 5 days. Following this meeting, we will conduct a full gear check to ensure everyone has what they need to complete the climb safely and efficiently. We will have the opportunity to rent or purchase any missing gear. Overnight Accommodations are included.


Day 2: We will have a team breakfast and begin our 30-minute scenic drive to Paradise at 5,400ft. This is the jumping off point for many Mt. Rainier climbing teams. We will spend the day with a 1-2 hour hike to 7500ft where we will practice mountaineering skills such as crampon technique, self arrest, basic knots and roped travel. These skills will be paramount during our climb. We will then descend and spend the night in Ashford. Overnight accommodations are included.

Day 3: An early start will see us back to Paradise and beginning our climb by 10AM. We will ascend through lush greenery and wildflowers until we hit the Muir Snowfield. Another few hours of climbing will put us at 9,000ft and our home for the night.

Day 4: We will start today with a casual start followed by a short climb to 10,000ft. We will set up camp and continue our acclimatization.

Day 5: We have a "rest day" today but we will take advantage of it. We will have the opportunity to learn crevasse rescue. If interested, you will have the opportunity to be lowered into a real crevasse and then pulled out. This will be our first introduction to glacier travel as we cross the Cowlitz Glacier on our way to our camp on the Ingraham Glacier. We will head to bed before sunset as we will have an alpine start the following morning.

Day 6: Our climb to the summit begins very early and takes us across the Cowlitz and Ingraham Glaciers at night and then onto Disappointment Cleaver. The cleaver gives us access to the upper mountain, which is absolutely stunning. We will experience what it is like to walk under towering seracs, cross large crevasses and photograph breathtaking views of Seattle, Puget Sound and countless Cascade mountains. We aim to summit around sunrise. If the weather is good, we will enjoy up to an hour on the summit before the long descent. Once back in camp, we will relax for a couple of hours before packing up and descending to Paradise and a hot meal. We recommend booking a hotel in Ashford for the overnight.


Day 7: Departure Home

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How Difficult is a Mt. Rainier Climb?

Mt. Rainier is a long climb with heavy backpacks. It can be very strenuous at times. Although it is not a technical peak and only requires travel on moderate snow slopes the weight of your backpack, the length of the days and the high altitude all take a toll on you. You will need to be in top physical condition.

Do I Need Any Prior Experience?

You should have previous backpacking experience. We include two days of mountaineering skills for participants to learn or refresh on crampons techniques, rope team travel, self arrest and crevasse rescue. Participants should be in top physical shape with prior hiking experience.

What Are the Age Limits for This Climb?

We encourage participants to be age 16 or over, although exceptions can be made based on previous experience. Participants under the age of 16 will need to submit a climbing resume for review. As long as you are in excellent physical condition, are approved by your doctor, and are able to legally sign the liability waiver, you are welcome to join us!

How Long are the Climbing Days?

Each day is challenging. At the beginning of the climb altitude is not an issue. However, pack weight is heavy. As we ascend, packs get lighter but altitude takes its toll. Summit day is 14-16 hours long.

What are the Sleeping Arrangements on the Mountain?

We will provide tents. Due to COVID precautions, climbers will not be sharing a tent unless it is with a family member or someone who they have been in quarantine with. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

How Heavy Will My Pack Be?

You can expect a 45lb-55lb pack for the first two days. Summit day will require 10lb-15lb packs.

Why Do We Begin Our Summit Attempt in the Dark?

We get an alpine start for many reasons. In general everything is safer at night when the temperatures are cold and the sun has not begun to melt the snow and ice. The terrain is firmer for easier climbing, snow bridges over crevasses are frozen, the snowpack is more stable and rock fall is less of a hazard.


NEMs Adventure itineraries are subject to change or be adjusted based on a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to, route conditions, weather, terrain, group dynamics and many other factors. NEM has complete discretion to change plans to accommodate any of these or other factors, including the discretion to change program schedule or itinerary, and change guides or staff, as necessary for the proper and safe conduct of the program. We reserve the right to cancel any program due to inadequate signups, weather or route conditions. In such a case, an NEM credit for the full value is given; however, NEM cannot be responsible for any additional expenses incurred in preparing for the program (i.e., airline tickets, equipment purchase or rental, hotel reservations). NEM reserves the right to dismiss the Participant from a trip at any time if NEM determines, in its sole discretion, that the Participant is not physically, technically, or psychologically prepared for or capable of participating in the program. This includes being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.


Northeast Mountaineering cannot guarantee that you will reach the summit or complete the objective you have signed up for. Weather, route conditions, your own abilities or the abilities of others may create circumstances that make an ascent unsafe, and you or your entire party will have to turn around without reaching the summit. Your program fee entitles you to one mountain experience on your specified dates.


Most of our programs do not have a minimum enrollment. If you are the only one registered, it will likely become a private outing. For our Waterfall Rappelling adventure, we must have at least 50% enrollment (3 people) to run the adventure. In the event of low-enrollment, we will reschedule your adventure to another date. If another date cannot be accommodated, you will receive an NEM credit.


Safety is NEM’s number one priority. Our guides manage significant hazards inherent in the mountains but they cannot eliminate them. NEM guides draw from their wealth of experience and training to make sound decisions that maximize your experience without compromising the necessary margin of safety. Please clearly understand that mountaineering and all other mountain adventures are inherently hazardous sports. You are choosing to engage in an activity in which participants have been injured and killed. While those accidents are indeed infrequent, they may occur at any time and be out of our control. We ask that participants acknowledge the risk and hazards of these sports, and make their own choices about whether or not to engage in these activities.


Payment in full is due at the time of booking. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check.


A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person secures your reservation but may vary - please check your specific adventure. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check. Final payment is due 1 month [30 days] before departure. For your convenience, we can work out a monthly payment plan.


A non-refundable deposit of $200 per person secures your reservation but may vary - please check your specific adventure. Payments may be made via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or check. Final payment is due 1 month [30 days] before departure. For your convenience, we can work out a monthly payment plan.


Up to 30 days before your adventure: Full Refund will be issued 29 days - 72 hours before your adventure: Full Refund in the form of NEM credit Within 72 hours of your adventure: No refund will be issued* In the event that you have a positive COVID-19 test and need to cancel within 72 hours, you will be issued an NEM credit for your adventure.


Up to 90 days before your adventure: Full Refund will be issued 89 days - 30 days before your adventure: Participant will be responsible for paying 50% of the total balance. If the balance is paid in full, participant will receive a 50% refund in the form of NEM credit. Within 30 days of your adventure: No refund will be issued and participant will be responsible for paying the full balance.* *Travel Insurance is highly recommended to protect your investment. If NEM cancels your adventure due to weather or another unforeseen reason, you will receive an NEM credit.


Date changes are subject to availability. Date changes may be requested at anytime up to 7 days prior to your adventure without incurring a date change fee. Date changes may be requested between 7 and 3 days prior to your departure date for a $25 fee per person. There are no date changes allowed within 72 hours before your adventure.


In the event your guide or a fellow NEM guide or staff has reason to believe they have been exposed to COVID-19 or they are otherwise feeling unwell they will attempt to get a COVID test in time for your adventure or course. In the event of a positive test or the absence of results,  your course or adventure will be rescheduled or you can opt for an NEM credit to use at your discretion. Refunds for travel, lodging or other costs associated with your adventure will not be refunded or reimbursed.