“The Mountain is out.”
No words sound sweeter to the ears of a Rainieraholic like me. It’s a favorite phrase in the local lexicon, because any day Mount Rainier is out means cloudless blue skies from here to eternity. And it’s going to be a good day!
Why is this snowy colossus so special? Read on for 15 fast facts about Mount Rainier.
- Mount Rainier is one of the largest and most dangerous volcanoes in the United States.
- The highest peak in the Cascade Range, Rainier’s summit is 14,411 feet above sea level amid some of the thinnest air in the nation.
- Mount Rainier is the tallest singular peak in the contiguous United States, with more than 25 miles of permanent ice and snow wrapped around it.
- Established in 1899, Mount Rainier National Park comprises over 235,000 acres, 97% of which are designated “wilderness.”
- Mount Rainier is a stratovolcano that last erupted in 1894.
- Rainier soars almost a mile and a half above the Puget Sound basin. Her glistening crown stretches nearly three miles above sea level into the sky.
- Mount Rainier’s snowy skirts cover approximately 100 square miles or nearly one-third of the total area of the park.
- Located in an essentially temperate coastal region, Mount Rainier has been called “an arctic island in a temperate sea.”
- Rainier’s glaciers contain enough snow and ice to provide nearly 200 years of water use by the city of Seattle.
- Mount Rainier boasts the largest single peak glacier system in the contiguous United States.
- Standing nearly 250 feet higher than Mount Shasta, her closest rival in mass and grandeur, the Mountain is overwhelming, both in size and sculpture.
- From Mount Rainier’s summit one looks down upon several other mountains: The Tatoosh Range to the south; Mount Wow to the southwest; the Mother Mountains to the northwest; and upon all the ridges of the Cascade Range.
- A giant among giants, the Mountain reigns as mountain sovereign of the Pacific Northwest.
- Naturalist John Muir said of her: Of all the fire mountains which, like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest…
- More than two million people visit this spectacular mountain every year (over half of them are from Washington State). About 10,000 try to climb it. A little more than half succeed.
What would you add?