Southern slopes of Mount Rainier as viewed from Paradise. Sunset view of Mount Rainier from one of the busiest places at Mount Rainier. Nisqually Glacier is in the foreground and Gilbralter Rock is on the right. Columbia Crest at 14,410 feet tops the view.
Mount Rainier is an active volcano that first erupted about half a million years ago. Because of Rainier's great height (14,410 feet above sea level) and northerly location, glaciers have cut deeply into its lavas, making it appear deceptively older than it actually is. Mount Rainier is known to have erupted as recently as in the 1840's, and large eruptions took place as recently as about 1,000 and 2,300 years ago.
On August 17, 1870 Hazard Stevens and Philemon Beecher Van Trump accomplished the first recorded ascent of Mount Rainier. Twenty years later Fay Fuller, a teacher from Yelm, Washington became the first woman to climb the peak. Today nearly 10,000 people attempt to climb to the summit of Mount Rainier, with less than 50% successful. Each climber must register with the rangers and pay a climbing fee. The round trip climb usually takes two days from Paradise to the summit and back.