Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier


Mount Rainier [ maʊnt rənɪər ] is a stratovolcano and the center of Mount Rainier National Park, 87 km southeast of Seattle in Pierce County, Washington State. With 4,392 meters it is the highest peak in the Cascade Range and the State of Washington.


Mount Rainier is about 500,000 to 1 million years old volcanic layer. Due to its tremendous growth to a height of about 4800 meters glaciated its peak. During the last 65,000 years Mount Rainier has undergone at least three extended periods of glaciation. The last extensive glaciation was in front of about 25,000 to 10,000 years ago. During this time the Mount Rainier was completely covered by ice. Some of these glaciers stretched up to a distance of 60 kilometers from the mountain. The glacial cirques and ridges destroyed the smooth, symmetrical shape of the volcano. Rock slides, avalanches and lahars resulted in the Mount Rainier lost about one-third of its volume. The collapse of the Bergipfels about 5800 years ago triggered a devastating lahars of the story. More than 300 square miles of the White River Valley and the adjacent lowlands were devastated. The volume of this Osceola mudflow called lahars was calculated to be about 3.8 cubic kilometers. He has filled valleys with up to 200 meters of sediment, a distance traveled up to 120 km and still flowed 20 kilometers of water at the bottom of Puget Sound on.

Before about 2500 to 2000 years ago changed a number of outbreaks of the image of Mount Rainier again. A new, 300 -meter-high summit cone grew on the ruins of the destroyed old crater up. A brief eruption created a second crater east of the first. The place where the two overlap crater is called Columbia Crest and is now the highest point of Mount Rainier.

The last recorded eruption was 1820-1854, but there are eyewitness accounts of several outbreaks in the late 19th century (Harris, 1888). Although currently there is no danger of an eruption, geologists expect him to dormant volcanoes and assume that the volcano will erupt again. Lahars are the greatest threat posed by Mount Rainier, but he is also able to cause, pyroclastic flows and expel hot lava. 1947 went down a mud flood the Kautz Creek and devastated the low-lying forest. 1963 was probably caused on the north side of Little Tahoma Peak by a volcanic steam explosion, a stone avalanche that up in the White River Valley went down six kilometers wide and only got one kilometer away from a campsite to a halt.



Today the Mount Rainier glaciers form covering an area of ​​over 90 square kilometers, the largest contiguous area of a single mountain in the U.S. outside of Alaska. The annual rainfall of up to 28 meters of snow feed the glacier, so that they are now considered stable. The glaciation leads to the mountain peak by avalanches and rock slides further changed. Of the 26 glaciers of the Emmons Glacier is the largest, the second largest is the Carbon Glacier, which flows over 6.5 kilometers to the northwest. More glaciers include the Nisqually Glacier, the North Mowich Glacier, the Tahoma Glacier, the Winthrop Glacier and Glacier Gowitz.

In Glacier Paradise, the Paradise Ice Caves, which were surveyed in 1978 as the world's largest glacier cave system with a total length of about 13 kilometers, are located.

The rivers White, Carbon, Puyallup, Nisqually and Cowlitz spring glaciers of Mount Rainier.

Flora and Fauna

Due to its height and its rich deposits exist at Mount Rainier several vegetation zones. During the foot of the mountain partly in dense jungle or in the rain forest is shrouded, the vegetation is at higher altitudes in mountain forest, and finally in a subalpine forest and meadow landscape with a very abundant in summer flowers on diversity. Above the tree line at an altitude from 2100 meters begins an arctic - alpine vegetation above 2700 meters is the zone of perpetual snow. The different zones of vegetation are habitat for over 50 species of mammals and over 140 bird species.


The first people who settled in the region, were Indians. When the first Europeans explored the area, they met with members of two language groups, the Salish, specifically the coastal Salish and inland Salish and Sahaptin, which are culturally similar to the Salish, in groups of coastal life and those of the drier, can be distinguished eastern and southern zones. The Coast Salish belonged to the Nisqually, Cowlitz, Muckleshoot and Puyallup, inland Salish the Wenatchi, the Sahaptin the Yakama, who were called to 1994 Yakima that Meshal, Upper Cowlitz. There were also members of a Sahaptin - cascade group, the so- called because they lived in the Cascade Mountains, the Klickitat. It must be considered that it was not the tribes ( tribes or bands ) who came to the mountain for different purposes and inhabited, but autonomous house groups. The coastal groups claimed it rather permanent access to the resources of their region, while domestic groups had no concept of land ownership. It was always only use rights, but which in principle were open to all. So all umwohnenden groups went to the mountain to collect berries or hunt, with certain habitual claims and insisted overlapping boundaries.

The tribes had within the park area later not a single village. Only a few artifacts of bearings are therefore discoverable, added racks, Darren and groomed surfaces for drying meat and berries, as well as sweat lodges. In the latter, the men were preparing to hunt, which rarely addressed black bear mainly on deer, mountain goats, and sheep. Some groups were regarded as relatives, other was in late summer the meat to fat. So bears were scattered to the 1920s exceedingly numerous, and in the entire park. Marmots, geese and other birds were also hunted. The dried berries, such as blueberries or Huckleberrys ( especially in the south and northwest of the park, where can be seen about nine collection highlights ), were carried in bags of many hunt groups to the valley, where berry picking was women's work. To give the berries place, there was used deliberately fire. Fish played given the small stocks almost no role, apart from a small salmon and rainbow trout catches.

For the Indians of the mountain was a goddess and he was called in numerous languages ​​Takhoma, possibly derived from the Puyallup word tacobet. The meaning of this word was different in the different languages ​​and was related to the respective lives of the Indians, it was Big Mountain, Snow peak or place from which the water comes mean. The Indian legends tell of the vagaries of the goddess, who hurled lightning from the sky without warning and sent floods, which destroyed entire forests. Another legend knows that the female mountain Takhoma was expelled from the other mountains, and now that her son had to keep ready the water. In this legend, the interpretation of the name is based as water boy. In any case, the mountain was occasionally visited for spiritual purposes, in particular to find a protecting power.

The extremely high passes went beyond difficult to trade between the tribes. Numerous paths around the mountain were mainly the transport of goods. Cause of the intense commercial activity was the fact that the tribes around the mountain in life, natural environment and culture differed greatly. As the inland tribes possessed horses, they were the primary initiators of goods exchange. They could also transport heavy goods, such as buffalo heads or large amounts of berries, but also pipes and tobacco, jewelry, clothes, medicinal herbs. The coastal groups in turn brought the coveted shells.

George Vancouver, who in 1792 sailed into the Puget Sound, was the first European who got the mountain face. He named it after his friend Admiral Peter Rainier.

1833 William Tolmie explored the area in search of medically useful plants. After him followed by other researchers. Hazard Stevens and Philemon Beecher Van Trump were the first who succeeded in 1870, to reach the summit; they were hailed as heroes for it, John Muir followed, 1888. Muir was one of many who recommended to protect the mountain. In 1893, the Territory of the Pacific Forest Reserve was added in order to protect its natural resources such as trees and the water of rivers and streams.

Hoping to promote tourism, the railway companies and local businesses urged the creation of a national park. On March 2, 1899 President William McKinley declared the area to Mount Rainier National Park, the fifth U.S. National Park.

1998 established the United States Geological Survey, Mount Rainier Lahar Warning System to support the evacuation of the Puyallup River Valley, in the case of a landslide. Today it is managed by the Department of Emergency Management of Pierce County.

2012 was an initiative to restore the indigenous name.