Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade IV
Elevation Gain
1,695.00 ft (516.64 m)
3.00 mi (4.83 km)
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Erupting out of the shadow of Mount Rainier, the Tatoosh Mountain Range provides some of the most spectacular mixed alpine and rock climbs the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Pinnacle Peak and The Castle perch in the middle of the range and offer climbers panoramic views of Mount Rainier, Unicorn Peak, Goat Rocks Wilderness, and the surrounding national park. These two majestic peaks provide a true mixed alpine experience. Snowfields lead up to the base of The Castle for the first technical, single-pitch rock climb where the adventurous climber will ascend a low fifth-class rock face on the south side. Following a rappel, climbers traverse west over to Pinnacle Peak for one more easy fifth-class climb and rappel for an action packed, two-summit day.   

Early in the season the trail should only be attempted in the company of an experienced alpine climber as snow and avalanche danger may produce hazardous conditions. Following the mountaineering route, climbers meander up the steep, wooded, snow-covered north slope to the ridge east of The Castle with thrilling glissading opportunities on the down climb. Climbers should take caution not to get off-route as the trail can be difficult to follow and numerous cliffs pose hazards. The rock pitches on each summit present a great opportunity for the beginning traditional climber to place protection up the easy fifth-class scramble.

Note: Backcountry camping in the Tatoosh range is permitted in restricted areas with a free backcountry permit available at the Longmire Wilderness Information Center (360.569.6650).  Take note that the area directly surrounding and to the south of The Castle and Pinnacle Peaks is a no camping zone. The park also offers countless opportunities for one and multi-day hikes and climbs. While the Tatoosh range offers more of an alpine climbing experience, there are many nearby trails for the less technical thrill-seekers as well.  For more information contact Mount Rainier National Park (360.569.2211).

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass


Views of Mount Rainier and Goat Rocks. Fun fifth-class climb and rappel at summit block. Low use.


Trail is difficult to follow in snowy conditions. Falling rock is common. Cliff hazard and avalanche potential.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

4,867.00 ft (1,483.46 m)


Rock climbing
Big vistas


Nearby Lodging + Camping


Great weekend trip traversing from Unicorn Peak to Castle/Pinnacle. In all, (6) summits along OP contributor Josh Lupkin's 'Tatoosh Playground' route. Starting at Pinnacle Peak trailhead, we hiked into a backcountry site in the saddle between The Castle and Foss Peak. Dropped our gear, and headed over and up Unicorn Peak, down the ridge to Boundary Peak, and back to Foss Peak to watch the sunset. Great views of Mt Rainier in the moonlight that night under a starry sky... missed the Perseid Meteor shower by a week though! Next day we had a quick jaunt from our camp up to the summit of The Castle, then on to Pinnacle Peak, and finished with a lazy walk up Plummer Peak. A great stretch of hiking and climbing in less than two days... a perfect weekend getaway!
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