Mount Rainier

Elevation (feet): 14,411
Elevation (meters): 4,392
Continent: North America
Country: United States
Range/Region: Cascade Range
State: Washington
Latitude: 46.8528
Longitude: -121.759
Difficulty: Basic Snow/Ice Climb
Best months for climbing: May, Jun, Jul, Aug
Volcanic status: Dormant
Most recent eruption: possibly 1894
Year first climbed: August 17, 1870
First successful climber(s): Hazard Stevens and P.B. van Trump
Nearest major airport: Seattle, Washington
Convenient Center: Paradise (south) or Sunrise (northeast)

Mount Rainier is a huge dormant volcano, towering in isolation above the surrounding forested highlands. It is the largest mountain of the Cascade range, and it is more glaciated than any other peak in the contiguous United States. Five glaciers originate on the summit, and there are many others that have developed in cirques on the mountain's slopes. The Emmons Glacier is the largest glacier in the contiguous United States, flowing six miles from the summit down the northeast slopes. Rainier's giant ice-cap often seems to float above the horizon when seen from Puget Sound, sixty miles away. Rainier's two ice-filled summit craters each support a network of ice caverns, carved by heat and volcanic emissions from inside the mountain. Mount Baker and Mount Wrangell are the only other peaks in North America who are known to support such phenomena. Despite the enormous amount of ice on Rainier, however, this is only part of the beauty. The slopes hold lush conifer forests, and above treeline, the glaciers are surrounded by alpine meadows that are decorated with vast stretches of wild flowers. A fifty-mile wildflower belt encircles the mountain at around 5,400 feet. The rock on the mountain tends to be friable, so most climbs are glacier climbs. Mount Rainier was named by Captain George Vancouver who reached Puget Sound in early May 1792 and became the first European to see the mountain. On May 7, Vancouver named it in honor of his friend, Admiral Peter Rainier.