Ascent of Little Tahoma on 2018-05-22

Climber: Eric Gilbertson

Date:Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Little Tahoma
    Elevation:11138 ft / 3394 m

Ascent Trip Report

We had all hiked Little Tahoma back in April 2016, but wanted to return to ski it. The White River Road on the north side of Rainier had just opened, and this provided access to a fun skiing route on Little Tahoma with over 5,000ft of vertical descent possible on skis. I was a bit sore from the climb of Dome Peak and Sinister Peak over the weekend, but Little Tahoma sounded too fun to pass up.

After a half rest-day Monday, I packed up and we drove out of town Monday evening to car camp just outside Rainier National Park. We entered the park around 4:45am Tuesday morning to the unstaffed gate and filled out a climbing permit. We were hiking up the Summerland trail by 5:20am. Patchy snow covered the trail from the beginning, and I hiked in sneakers while Aaron and Ana toughed it out in ski boots from the beginning.

About 2.5 miles in the snow became continuous and we skinned up from here. At treeline we zig-zagged up to Meany Crest and then across to the Frying Pan Glacier. I led the way across the glacier, crossing only a few obvious crevasses with good snow bridges.

After passing through a sharp col, we started ascending the Whitman Glacier. A group of three skiers descended as we climbed. We all took a break at a flat area around 10,400ft, then Aaron and I ditched skis and kicked steps up the remaining steep snow. A bit of rock scrambling and more icy snow climbing in crampons brought us to the summit ridge.

I had brought sneakers, and changed into these for the final bit. A short, slightly-exposed scramble led to the summit. Aaron scrambled in ski boots, and we enjoyed the view of Rainier. I found our April 10, 2016 sign in, and added a new one for May 22, 2018.

We soon descended back to Ana waiting at the snow shoulder, passing a lone skier climbing up to summit. The ski descent was amazing, as we followed our tracks back down the Whitman and Frying Pan Glaciers. The snow ended way too soon in the trees, and we booted back to the car by 6:30pm, then drove back home to Seattle.

Link to full trip report and pictures.
Summary Total Data
    Route:Frying Pan Glacier

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