A climbing ranger team found excellent conditions on the Tahoma Glacier while climbing the route on July 15-16. Their party traversed onto the eastern edge of the Tahoma Glacier at 9,000 ft from the area above glacier island. Teams choosing to approach this climb from the east (via the Tahoma Creek trail or via the lower Success Cleaver and the South Tahoma Glacier) will find straightforward routefinding and easy access to the center of the Tahoma Glacier at 10,000 ft.
For parties approaching the climb from the west, the lower reaches of the glacier are not yet overly crevassed so between 7,000 ft. and 9,000 ft. look for snow ramps which will allow you to drop off Puyallup Cleaver onto the main body of the Tahoma.
Approaching the Tahoma via St. Andrews Rock appeared to be the least recommended of the three approach options. The saddle above upper St. Andrews Rock has large crevasses that seem to block off this high approach to the main body of the Tahoma.
Both of the lower approaches meet in the center of the glacier at approximately 10,000 ft. From there, navigate around and through several large crevasse fields. The routefinding is not difficult but do be aware of seracs and other ice blocks which sometimes threaten the most obvious path.
Above 11,000 ft. the route ascends a direct corridor in the glacier to the broad slopes leading to the summit. No ice was encountered at any point on the route.
The Sickle variation also seems passable though not as straightforward as the Tahoma proper. Scope the potential danger of serac fall from the climbers' right side of the Sickle before you choose to ascend this variation.
This is a beautiful part of the mountain. PLEASE do your part to keep it clean. If you come across trash from a previous party and have any room in your packs, please respect the mountain and carry the trash out with you. Enjoy your trip.
~ Paul Charlton and Adrienne Sherred
This recent photo was taken by a climbing ranger patrol. The Tahoma Glacier route and The Sickle both seemed to be quiet (no ice or rock fall in the area) and looked passable. A climbing party reported that they summited on July 8th via the Tahoma Glacier route. They also reported other parties were leaving human waste and trash at the base camp - PLEASE REMEMBER TO PACK OUT EVERYTHING YOU PACK IN. The Sickle seemed skinnier from a distance this year as opposed to last year's fat conditions. Wild flowers along the approach seemed ready to burst into full bloom any day. Enjoy!
~ Andy "A-Two" Anderson and Thomas Payne
June 27, 2006
Numerous teams have been successfully summiting this route over the past few weeks and they all seem to think the route is in good shape. This editted report below came in from Josh Josephson.
We climbed the hourglass; it is in great shape. The icecliff above the lower sickle was very active, dumping large loads. Twice it swept the route all the way to Upper Saint Andrews bivi area.
Cramponing was reliably firm on the upper slopes. One team left however and had a terrible time postholing. The majority of bridges on the route appeared relativley solid... no droopers yet. No ice screws were necessary; parties used pickets for running belays and/or simul-climbing when needed.
We approached via the Tahoma Creek trail... and through the "washed-out" section. It was reasonable to negotiate and is still faster than going around "Round Pass."
The photo is of Rachel Lloyd in the Hourglass by Josh Josephson.
Parties are reporting it to be in good shape and full of great climbing. There have been a few large wet avalanches near the route and there is some debris to cross. The lower section of the Tahoma has some open crevasses to weave around, but the upper route is very direct and fun. Be careful getting onto the Sickle because there is an ice cliff that sits above the base of the Sickle. So get out there and have fun - and when you come back drop us a note!
~ Andy Anderson
Again, no route reports yet, but the conditions look fabulous. Here is an aerial image taken on May 31st by Mike Gauthier.