Camp Muir is the preferred basecamp for hikers and climbers attempting to summit Mt. Rainier. It is named after John Muir, renowned naturalist and a member of the sixth group to summit the iconic Pacific Northwest peak. Located at 10,080 feet in elevation, Camp Muir is not a campground in any traditional sense. It is made up of an old stone shelter which is open to the public on a first-come basis, and another outbuilding used by professional guide companies. If the shelter is full, climbers pitch their tents on the rocky scree field. A wilderness and climbing permit are required to access this part of Mt. Rainier Park. Reservations for those permits open in March of each year.
The approach to Camp Muir should not be attempted by anyone without significant mountaineering or route finding skills. The National Park Service offers specific compass bearings to travel through the Muir Snowfield. These bearing should be used in tandem with an accurate topographic map. Because snowstorms and fog events can cause whiteout conditions during any month of the year, traversing the Muir Snowfield to reach the camp is one of the most dangerous sections of the trail. There have been multiple fatalities in groups that got off route in this treacherous glacial area.
Because any night spent at Camp Muir is often a part of a much larger mountaineering attempt, campers must be well-prepared for high alpine conditions. Above treeline means that winds are high and cold, and any tent or shelter should be four-season rated. There are stream crossings during the approach, and, while the water must be treated, Pebble Creek is a good source to fill up containers- there is no water at Camp Muir. Use the ‘blue bag’ system for solid human waste- there is a receptacle at the camp.
Views of Adams, Helens, Hood, Jefferson. Highest camp in Washington. Nice solar toilets. The hike up is quite difficult.
There was no other place to discuss Ingraham flats so I put it under Camp Muir. Ingraham Flats is another mountaineering "camp ground" located 1.5 miles passed Camp Muir. This site is generally occupied my climbers attempting to summit Rainier. It's a great place to practice crevasse reacue and general mountaineering skills. From Camp Muir, you will need to be roped up while traversing the glaciers to Ingraham Flats. The views are incredible so if you have extra time before summiting Rainier, I suggest staying overnight at Ingraham.
Camp Muir is located approximately 4-5 miles (depending on snow conditions and route access) from the parking lot in Paradise. It is the typical base camp for those of you trying to summit Mount Rainier. Camp Muir has a first come, first serve climbers hut that provides shelter and a place to sleep. If you brought a tent, there is plenty of space to secure a spot with amazing scenery. It also has very basic pit toilets but be sure to bring your own toilet paper. Currently, the online permit process is down so you will need to secure your permits at the ranger station in Paradise. This is also a first come, first serve so get there early on the day you want to start climbing. Be sure to check weather even if your final destination is Camp Muir as whiteout conditions can make it dangerous to hike in or out of due to multiple crevasses and areas of potential falls. This campsite is a great place to get above the cloud line and dip your toes into mountaineering life.