Little Tahoma Peak, Mount Rainier National Park
Due to objections from people, I have removed the original text accompanying the photos for this trip. I have added captions to the photos instead.
June 23-24, 2006
Little Tahoma, as seen from the White River road, is a very intimidating peak.
Not every climber was made out of flesh and bone.
The approach to Little Tahoma begins by slogging up toward Summerland on excellent trail.
From the Summerland shelter, Eric points out our route up to the Fryingpan and Whitman Glaciers.
Vanessa is all smiles as we begin the ascent to Meany Crest.
The snow slog up to Meany Crest involved moderate snow and carefully climbing above a deep bergschrund.
The other climbers, led by Eric, making their way to the top of Meany Crest.
Little Tahoma just doesn't look any easier despite the close up view from Meany Crest.
Peter, and myself, is amazed by the view from Meany Crest to the north.
Scott leading a rope team across the glacier.
A view down from the notch (ala Beckey) down to our gorgeous campsite. Adams dominating in the distance.
A close up of Little Tahoma from camp. The upper snow looked scary steep.
This formation is called the Owl, for obvious reasons. It was just above our campsite.
Our first rest break on summit day. The light was really amazing.
Eric surveying the climb ahead. We haven't even reached the steep upper snow!
Looking down on our campsite from the top of the upper snow and the start of the rock scramble. I declined to go any higher at this point, about 600 vertical feet from the summit and nearly 7000 feet from the cars.
A view up of the start of the scramble.
I had about three hours to kill before the other climbers returned, but three hours in a beautiful place are three hours well spent.
On our way back to the cars, just before reaching the end of the glacier section.
The last rope team making its way back to Meany Crest.
Scott pointing out the Emmons Glacier route on Mount Rainier.
A last look back to Little Tahoma before beginning a massive glissade.
The first part of a glissade that dropped us nearly 2000 vertical feet in only a few minutes.
Crossing the creek down below Summerland.
From Lakewood, take SR 512 east, following the signs for the Sunrise area of Mount Rainier, through Puyallup. Hop on SR 410 and take this through the towns of Buckley and Enumclaw, all the way to the park itself. You'll pass Crystal Mountain Ski Resort just before the turn off for Sunrise. A mile or two after you make the turn, there is a ranger station (White River) at which you can get an annual climbing permit ($30) and register as a climbing party. Continue on the park road for another couple of miles until you reach Fryingpan Creek, where there is a trail head and parking. You'll need to pay $15 to get into the park (or have a parks pass).
Little Tahoma is a technical peak and requires crossing two glaciers and climbing steep (up to 40-45 degrees) icy snow. Do not attempt this if you do not have the necessary skills. If you are unsure what the necessary skills are, you do not have them.
From the Wonderland trailhead down the road from the White River ranger station, head out on good trail (the Wonderland) up to Summerland. Leave the trail and climb to Meany Crest by whatever seems the best route to you (we went direct). Rope up and head out onto the Fryingpan Glacier in the direction of Little Tahoma (very visible). Depending on conditions, either head for the small notch just at the base of Little Tahoma (9000 feet) or for a prominent gap (about 9100 ft) to the left of the notch. Descend to the Whitman Glacier and camp (about 8900 ft). In the morning (we left at 4:30 am), ascend steep, hard snow to a small V to the left of the summit. On rock, scramble to the summit. Exposure, ice, and falling rock are common. See Beckey, Volume 1 for more details.