Top Ten Less-Extreme Rock Climbing Routes

Disappointment Cleaver/Ingraham Glacier Route, Washington
By Cameron M. Burns
  |  Gorp.com

Disappointment Cleaver / Ingraham Glacier Route: Mount Rainier, Cascades, Washington

Mount Rainier is the most sought after goal of mountaineers who live in the Pacific Northwest, as well as those who are visiting the region. This massive, hulking, dormant volcano towers above Seattle and, with an estimated 35 square miles of ice, boasts the largest system of glaciers in the United States outside Alaska. It's an exceptional place for those who want to learn glacier travel and ice climbing techniques, in a very accessible setting.

Considered the easiest route on Mount Rainier, the Disappointment Cleaver/Ingraham Glacier Route is not without its challenges. It requires roped glacier travel, roped snow and ice climbing, and route-finding in that often foggy/rainy/snowy weather that characterizes the Pacific Northwest.

The climb itself follows the Muir Snowfield to a flat area (Camp Muir), where most parties spend a night. From Camp Muir, the route crosses the Cowlitz and Ingraham Glaciers before following the aptly named Disappointment Cleaver. The climb is interesting and varied, but never extreme.

This route has had some endorsements from some well-known people. Former VP Al Gore climbed the route in August 1999 with American Alpine Club president Jim Frush. He summitted with his son Albert and considered the climb an exceptional experience. (His Secret Service guys did not summit.)

Just the Facts

First ascent: Unknown.

Time required: 2 to 4 days; 6 to 10 hours from Muir Camp to the summit

Technical grade: Alpine Ice III, with snow and glacier travel

References: Selected Climbs in the Cascades, by Jim Nelson and Peter Potterfield

More on Mount Rainier National Park


Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 3 Dec 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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