78-Year-Old Mountaineer Becomes Oldest Woman to Summit Mount Rainier

CragBrains | ClimbingClimbing
rainier, Washington, Rose Vanderhoof, oldest woman
Rose Vanderhoof at the summit of Mount Rainier, WA. Credit: Instagram

On July 10, 2023, Rose Vanderhoof, a 33-year member of the Mountaineers and an avid outdoor enthusiast, achieved a monumental milestone by becoming the oldest woman to summit Mount Rainier at the age of 78. Accompanied by her son, granddaughter, a friend, and a seasoned mountaineer, Vanderhoof successfully reached the summit, marking her ninth and final ascent of the iconic mountain.

Climbing Mount Rainier, also known as Tahoma, is a formidable challenge for climbers of any age. Standing at 14,410 feet, the climb typically takes 2-3 days to complete round trip. Only half of those attempting the climb successfully reach the summit, making Vanderhoof’s achievement even more remarkable.

Vanderhoof’s main goal was not to break records but to enjoy a memorable experience with her loved ones in the mountains. To ensure a safe and enjoyable climb, she allocated four days for the expedition, allowing her group to acclimate to the challenging conditions and high altitude.

Supported by a close-knit community, Vanderhoof’s team received assistance from friends who lightened their load by carrying gear to their campsite. Vanderhoof’s son even created a jingle to boost morale during the climb.

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Visit Rainier (@visitrainier)

The journey to the summit was not without its challenges. Vanderhoof encountered hailstorms, fierce winds, and difficult terrain. Despite moments of exhaustion, she found inspiration in the support of her loved ones and pushed herself to continue.

After eight hours of steady climbing, Vanderhoof and her team reached the summit. The weather at the top was calm and beautiful, providing a fitting celebration for Vanderhoof’s remarkable accomplishment. They signed the summit register to commemorate the achievement.

While this marked Vanderhoof’s last climb of Mount Rainier, she plans to continue enjoying outdoor activities such as backpacking with her friends and encouraging others to explore nature’s beauty.

Vanderhoof’s climb serves as an inspiration to all, showcasing the determination and resilience required to conquer challenges, regardless of age. By passing on her love for climbing to her son and granddaughter, Vanderhoof ensures her legacy lives on in future generations of mountaineers.

Lahars would wipe out homes and infrastructure in the Puyallup Valley.
Mount Rainier towers over Washington. PC: USGS

Mount Rainier is in Washington state. Standing at 14,410 feet, it is the tallest peak in the state and an active stratovolcano. Mount Rainier boasts the largest single-peak glacial system in the contiguous United States, with over 25 major glaciers. The mountain is also home to the largest volcanic glacier in the lower 48 states, known as the Emmons Glacier. Mount Rainier National Park, established in 1899, encompasses the mountain and offers breathtaking views, diverse ecosystems, and abundant wildlife. The mountain’s unpredictable weather patterns, including high winds, extreme temperatures, and sudden storms, make it a challenging and thrilling destination for climbers and adventurers.

rainier, Washington,
Mount Rainier National Park, WA

Related Articles

Got an opinion? Let us know...