Mount Rainier National Park

Old growth forest near Carbon River.

Northwest American Indians knew Mt. Rainier long before European explorers reached the waters of the Pacific Ocean. For generations, the mountain known as Takhoma, Tahoma, or Ta-co-bet inspired awe and humility.

On May 8, 1792, Captain George Vancouver of the British Royal Navy anchored his ship near today's Port Townsend, Washington, and gave the mountain the name we use today. He wrote in his log, "...the round snowy mountain...after my friend Rear Admiral Peter Rainier, I distinguished by the name of Mount Rainier...". In 1833, Dr. William Fraser Tolmie of the Hudson's Bay Company became the first European known to have traveled into what is now Mount Rainier National Park.

Established as a National Park by Congress on March 2, 1899, Mt. Rainier became the fifth national park in the country.

History of Climbing

In August 1870, Yakama guide Sluiskin led Hazard Stevens and Philemon Beecher Van Trump to the southern slopes of Mount Rainier. Although Sluiskin refused to accompany them, Stevens and Van Trump climbed to the summit. They were the first people known to have reached the top of Mount Rainier.

In 1890, Fay Fuller, a school teacher from Yelm, Washington, became the first woman to climb to the top of the mountain. Susan Longmire followed her in 1891, at the age of 13!

Today about 10,000 men and women attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Rainier each year. About half are successful; many of those who do not reach the summit are forced to leave the higher elevations because of inclement weather and strong winds.


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