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Words By
Matt Miller

"Of all the fire mountains which, like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest." - John Muir

Mount Rainier towers over the Puget Sound, alternately shining with fresh snow in winter or glittering with the long icy stripes of her 25 massive glaciers in summer. As Alpine Ascents guide Craig Van Hoy (432 summits of Rainier!) often says, “Rainier needs few introductions. More people know Rainier than Kanchenjunga, which is the 3rd highest mountain in the world!” With more than 13,000 feet of bulk rising in prominence to a 14,410 foot summit, this titanic stratovolcano is visible for many miles in any direction.

The history of climbing on Rainier is storied, with a hazy beginning. Rumor has it that climbers reached the summit as early as 1852; the earliest documented ascent came in 1870 - yet neither record speaks to native residents, living beneath the mountain for an untold number of years - who perhaps scaled the peak. In more modern times, Rainier has served as a launching pad for US-based climbers to the Greater Ranges. It is a sublime experience to watch alpenglow descend on the mountain to the soundtrack of the booms, cracks, and rumbles of Rainier’s living glaciers.