Mt. Rainier Kautz Route

View from Castle Rock, Kautz Route, Mt. Rainier





















Mt Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the lower 48. At 14,410 feet above sea level.  it is also the fifth highest peak in the lower 48! Join Kling Mountain Guides in July of 2013 on an incredible journey up the flanks of Mt Rainier. This KMG trip will be limited to four climbers so reserve your space now.

Our expedition will climb nearly 9,000 vertical feet from the Paradise visitor center to the crater rim and Columbia Crest. KMG trip's are about the entire journey, not just the summit. That's why we have chosen the less traveled Kautz route.

Kautz Route Expedition Background

The expedition is for mountaineers who want to test their practical skills on one of the most challenging peaks in the lower 48!  If you have climber Rainier before, this is a great second trip.  If you have not climbed Rainier before, then come along on our adventure!  If you are planning on traveling to Alaska, South America, or the even the Himalayas this is a great warm up!


Why KMG?

KMG guides have been leading trips around the world for decades.  Our lead guides are all Certified by the American Mountain Guides Association.  They have lead trips on all seven continents.  However, that's just par for the course in the guiding industry. What sets our trips apart is the experience outside of guiding that our leaders bring to the trips, specifically as educators.  If you want to hire somebody to just drag you up a hill, look elsewhere.  Over half of our guide staff currently instruct for at least one institution of higher learning, many instruct for multiple. If you want to go into the mountains, achieve your goals, have an amazing time and come back with more knowledge then when you left, you have come to the right place!

Price Includes

  • Five days of guiding and instruction
  • AMGA Certified guide (2:1 climber to guide ratio with four climbers and two guides max)
  • Breakfasts and Dinners while on mountain
  • Group equipment (stoves, cooking fuel, technical climbing equipment, equipment, first aid kits)

Price Does Not Include

  • Airfare to and from Seattle Washington from Your location
  • Travel to and from Mt. Rainier National Park from Seattle
  • Rainier climbing permit
  • Items of personal nature
  • Individual travel costs, delays, etc.
  • Excess baggage fees
  • Personal Clothing or gear
  • Alcoholic drinks and personal snacks
  • Hotels before and after tripd
  • Recommended Travel/trip cancelation insurance
  • Guide/ Staff gratuity



    • Approach shoes: These should be comfortable approach shoes.  These will be what you wear up to our base camp.  These should be light weight hiking shoes with a good, durable sole.
    • Mountaineering Boots: Insulated plastic, system, or, heavy leather boots are required. These should be comfortable to temperatures near or bellow zero degrees Fahrenheit. The rigid soles of these boots are great for kicking steps as well as securely attaching crampons to. Plastic and system boots have removable liners so they are easier to dry than leather, and they tend to bewarmer.  We like the Scarpa Phantom Guide.
    • Approach shorts: (1 pair) A light weight pair of shorts to wear while hiking in to base camp.
    • Socks: (5 pairs ) Wool or synthetic socks are most comfortable. Bring four pairs.  Two of these three should be heavier socks for higher on the mountain.  We recommend keeping one pair fresh and unused for summit day.  The Smartwool Heavy Hiking Crew is a perfect sock for the majority of the trip.  The Smartwool Mountaineering sock is great for high camp and the summit day.  Please make sure that your sock and boot combination works together.
    • Synthetic underwear: (3 pairs) Cotton does not dry or insulate when wet.  Underwear should be synthetic.
    • Softshell Climbing Pants: (1 pair) The Patagonia Alpine Guide pants are a good weight.  You will be wearing these above basecamp/ 14,000 ft on the mountain.  Regardless of the brand they should be Schoeller-type fabric.
    • Waterproof/Breathable storm pants: These should have a full side zip.  This allows us to take them on and off with crampons on.  The Patagonia Rain Shadow pants work well

    • Wicking t-shirt: (3)  These will be your go to top layer for most days. Mountain Hardwear and Patagonia both make great ones.
    • Long Sleeve base layer: (2) Mid Weight synthetic, wool, or silk top.  Patagonia Men’s Cap 3 works well.
    • Sweater Layer: (1) This is layer should fit over both of the two previous layers.  The Patagonia R1 hoody is wonderful.
    • Sweater Layer #2: (1) This is layer should fit over both of the two previous layers.  We are big fans of vests.  These allow for freedom of movement and stil keep your core warm.
    • Softshell Jacket: (1) Like the softshell bottoms, this is your go-to jacket that will be worn the most days. 
    • Shell /Rain Jacket: (1) This should be lightweight and packable. Something like the Patagonia M10 is a good choices.
    • Insulated Parka w/hood: (1) This should be a expedition weight parka with a fully insulated hood.  This parka should be able to fit over all of your other layers.  The Mountain Hardwear Sub Zero hooded jacket or Patagonia DAS parka are both good.  IT IS COLD THERE!!!

    • Wool or fleece hat: (1) Make sure it covers your ears.
    • Neck gaiter or Buff: (1) These things are great!  They’re super light weight and great for keeping the sun away.
    • Light weight liner gloves: (1 pair) Light-weight synthetic gloves.  Please not fingerless.
    • MId-Weight Ski Glove: (1 pair) This is a ski weight glove.
    • Heavy-Weight Mitten: (1 pair) This should be an extremely heavy weight mitten or glove for use up high.  The most expensive warmest mitts on the market.

    • Trekking Backpack: A 75 liter pack is the recommended size for this trek. It is imperative that your backpack is large enough and tough enough to handle the load. A separate summit pack is not needed.  We recommend the Cilo Gear 75 Worksack.  This is a true alpine climbing pack. It is extremely lightweight and versatile for it’s size.  An added bonus, Cilo also stitches all their packs in Portland, Oregon!
    • Ice Axe: A standard mountaineering axe will suffice.
    • Crampons: Standard mountaineering crampons.
    • Travel Backpack/Shoulder bag: This will be your carry on bag for the travel and flight days.  Make sure it is large enough to hold everything you would need for an overnight stop.  Backpacks are nice so you do not have to put them down while in airports.
    • Duffels: You will need one large capacity duffels for this trip.  The Black Diamond Huey 100 and Patagonia Black Hole 90 or 120 are great duffels.
    • Travel Locks: You will want travel locks for this trip.  Make sure they are TSA approved!
    • Sleeping Bag: Down or synthetic rated to 0 degrees F.  Make sure it has a compression sack.  Down is preferred.
    • Sleeping pad: Full length inflatable or closed foam.
    • Personal Toiletries & Medications: Prescription medications, ibuprofen, small package of moleskin for blisters, etc.  Ear plugs are great for in the tent.  Once you have registered, we will supply you with a small list of medications that you will need.  These are easily obtained from you family doctor.
    • Headlamp: Bring one set of extra batteries.  The Petzl Tikka XP2 and Black Diamond Storm with both light up your night.
    • Pocket Knife: A Leatherman or Swiss Army knife work great.
    • Trekking poles: Three section ski poles such as the Black Diamond Expedition poles tend to fit in luggage better.   Please have snow baskets on them.
    • Insulated Mug: Some sort of insulated mug for coffee, coco, etc.  Check out either the Aladdin insulated mugs. or the Klean Canteens with the cafe cap.
    • Camera: We’re climbing Mt. Rainier.  Enough said….!


  • Prior basic mountaineering experience
  • Be comfortable with self and team arrest
  • Have experience with crampons
  • Basic roped climbing experience.
  • Be comfortable carrying a 55 lbs pack
  • If you do not possess these skills or need review, we recommend doing a skills course with us in Colorado prior to your expedition.


  • July 18, day 0: 

    • Kling Mountain Guide's staff will arrive at the Nisqually Lodge at 5:00 PM the day before our Kautz Glacier Climb. We encourage our guests to join us for dinner and drinks at the Copper Creek Inn, and to book rooms at the hotel.
  • July 19, day 1:

    • Breakfast will be at the Nisqually Lodge, and immediately followed by gear check at 7:00 AM. Please arrive prepared and with all necessary gear outlined in the Kautz Glacier Equipment List. Gear check should take no more than 2 hours. We will carpool to the Longmire Ranger Station. Climbers will need to purchase Mt. Rainier Climbing Permits from the Park Service at this time.  This is an additional cost and not included in the KMG fees.  Please see Mt. Rainier National Park's webpage for current pricing.  After all park passes have been purchased, we will continue to Paradise and the start of our climb. 
    • Our approach will follow the Skyline Trail to Glacier Vista, where we will descend to the Nisqually Glacier and rope up. Our route crosses the toe of the glacier and climbs the Wilson Ice Fall. Camp will be on the a at 8,500 ft.
  • July 20, day 2:

    • Breakfast will be followed by snow school on our way to camp.  Topics will include cramponing, ice axe arrest, and roped glacier travel. Afterwards we will pack up camp and continue up the ridge towards the Lower Castle and our camp at 9,600 ft.
  • July 21, day 3:

    • Today is our rest day.  We'll spend the day acclimatizing and relaxing at our advanced base camp.  If weather permits, we will go for a day climb up onto the Turtle Snowfield.  This is a perfect school location for furthering our mountaineering skills.  Weather depending, we might get the opportunity to go ice climbing in a crease.  Other topics to be covered will include roped glacier travel and crevasse rescue, snow school, self and team arrest, snow anchors, and mechanical hauling systems.
  • July 22, day 4:

    • SUMMIT DAY!!  Weather permitting we will make our successful summit attempt. From our high camp, we cross the Kautz Glacier to the Ice Chute. The Kautz Ice Chute is the crux of the route and involves steep snow and ice climbing up to 55 degrees. Around 12,000 feet the Ice Chute eases and the route follows moderate terrain to the edge of the Upper Nisqually Glacier. We'll continue up the Nisqually, cross the 14,000 foot threshold, and gain the crater rim. From there, the summit is steps away. This is a long day. Expect to spend upwards of 12 hours on the move.
    • Depending on conditions, we may spend an hour on the summit. The descent will follow our tracks back down the route. Descending the Kautz Ice Chute will likely involve several lowers down steep, icy terrain. We will arrive back in camp mid afternoon.
  • July 23, day 5:

    • After packing up our camp we'll begin our hike out to Paradise.  What an adventure!  A celebratory dinner is a must!

Note: Remember, this itinerary is approximate. We might have to adjust it slightly according to weather, how the group is acclimatizing, and group speed and ability.

Registration and cancelation:

  • Unfortunately, due to extremely high demand we have a very strict registration and cancelation policy. We can not transfer you to an other program. WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND PURCHASING TRAVEL INSURANCE! We recommend the TravelEx Insurance Travel Select plan with the Adventurer Plus Pak upgrade.
  • Program fees are non-transferable.
  • If notice of cancellation is given in writing at least 60 days prior to the trip start date, you will be refunded your fulldeposit except for a $50 processing fee.
  • If notice of cancellation is given in writing within 59 - 30 days prior to the trip start date, a cancellation fee equal to the deposit amount will be charged.
  • If notice of cancellation is given in writing less than 30 days prior to the trip start date, a cancellation fee equal to 100% of the program fee will be charged.

2015 Schedule


July 19 - 23, 2015


five days


Mt. Rainier National Park, Washington


$1950 per climber

Client to Guide Ratio

2:1 max


intermidiate mountaineering

Mt Bona sunrise

sunrise with the Mountain's shadow

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