Mount Rainier Fee Increase Announced

Date: 3/17/2011

The Access Fund learned Tuesday that the National Park Service has implemented a $13 increase in the cost of an annual climbing pass (from $30 to $43) to climb Mount Rainier. This increase was effective March 15, 2011. The Park Service will offer a new annual Youth Climbing Pass for climbers 24-years of age and younger for $30.

According to Park Service Superintendent David Uberuaga, “This is the minimum increase required to sustain core management programs and services….We will seek to restrain future cost increases by incorporating recommendations and ideas provided by the public during the comment period.”

In September of 2010, the Access Fund learned that the park was set to raise the mountaineering fee, from $30 to anywhere between $43 and $58, without public notice or input from the climbing community. The Access Fund, along with its partners at the American Mountain Guides Association and American Alpine Club, lobbied to get a public process put in place for climbers and the general public to help the Park Service evaluate the current mountaineering program and identify the best and most cost-effective ways to service climbers.

The climbing community rose to the occasion, submitting comments and attending public meetings to help Mount Rainier National Park identify viable options for streamlining the mountaineering program and ways to pay for it.

Thanks to this open process, the park has implemented the minimum cost increase possible. And Mount Rainier National Park agreed that any future fee increases would not exceed cumulative consumer price index (based on inflation) without another fee proposal and public engagement process.

“The commitments made by Mount Rainier National Park are really positive, and they help to set a framework for the climbing community and the National Park Service to work together in the future to help determine the scope and cost of the mountaineering program,” says Access Fund Executive Director Brady Robinson. “We applaud the open process.”

Thanks to everyone who got involved in this process to make the mountaineering program better and help prevent an even higher fee increase on Mount Rainier.