This will be a climb you'll not forget for many years, and to begin sounds too easy. Start at the trailhead near the lodge and make your way on the easy paved Skyline
trail heading for Panorama Point
. Just before you reach that you'll pass Glacier Vista
, a place to get some very nice views to the south. Keep going past Panorama Point
after you fuel up on a snack and you'll notice the crowd has dwindled as day runners usually turn back here.
Once you reach McClure Rock, take a look up the hill at the path other runners have taken and use it to keep on course. The snowfield is wide and open giving awesome views on a clear day. Depending on the conditions, consider bringing crampons and possibly ice axes. Be sure to bring plenty of food and warm clothes. The weather has a way of changing without notice and people have died in June on the Muir Snowfield.
From the National Park Service:
Only experienced hikers and climbers should attempt this unmarked route.
Mistakes in navigation while traveling to or from Camp Muir during storms and white-outs have resulted in lost climbers and hikers and fatalities. To decrease the possibility of this happening to your party, this map shows compass bearings to and from Camp Muir (true and magnetic north) as well as the coordinates (latitude/longitude) of landmarks along the route. This map will not substitute for a USGS topographic map.
Proper bearings alone will not ensure a safe trip. Camp Muir and the Muir Snowfield are nearly surrounded by glaciers: the Nisqually Glacier to the west, the Cowlitz Glacier to the north and east, and the Paradise Glacier to the south and east. A minor error in navigation may lead you onto these glaciers where there are numerous crevasses and other hazards. Stay on course. You may have to correct your direction of travel to the windward due to strong winds, usually out of the west or southwest.
Always beware of steep cliffs to the east of Camp Muir and Anvil Rock and to the east of McClure Rock. These cliffs, obscured by snow and cornices in the winter, have been the sites of mountaineering tragedies. Panorama Point
is a dangerous avalanche area.
to view a Mount Rainier National Park document detailing the dangers, requirements, and bearings for this unmarked route to Camp Muir.