Little Tahoma 2006

Little Tahoma Route Conditions - July 29th

On July 28th climbing rangers climbed a variation of the standard route on the Whitman Glacier of Little Tahoma. The route remains in excellent shape. This is spectacular trip that should not be missed.

We began the climb from the Fryingpan Trailhead a few miles West of the White River Ranger Station. Taking the Wonderland Trail to Panhandle Gap, we ascended rock, scree and snow to the Fryingpan Glacier and made a direct line to Whitman Crest on snow. The Fryingpan Glacier provided easy, mostly crevasse-free snow travel to Whitman Crest. The downclimb onto the Whitman Glacier, however, consists of very loose small to large rock that moves easily with little encouragement. Caution should be used when descending and re-ascending this 200 vertical foot section.

The snow on the Whitman Glacier made for easy step kicking directly up the left side, skirting around several large and small crevasses. Routefinding was simple having surveyed the route from Whitman Crest. There is significant rockfall in several areas below Little Tahoma, most of which can be avoided by good route selection. We chose to take the central snowfinger to its apex and then ascend a 300' rock gully on climber's left which leads to the final snow-free approach to the summit. Several variations of route are available for the last few hundred vertical feet to the summit, few of which provide much difficulty. The views from the summit were spectacular.

Melting snow water was available at several sites along our approach, all the way to about 10,000 feet.

This trip was made in one long day, but may also be approached as a more-relaxed two-day experience.

~ Glenn Kessler and Paul Charlton

Little Tahoma Route Conditions - July 1st.

Climbing rangers climbed the standard route on the Whitman Glacier of Little Tahoma. The route was in excellent shape!

The Cowlitz Glacier was quite broken and looked technically difficult to traverse from below Anvil Rock, so we decided to leave from Camp Muir. The traverse from Muir across the Cowlitz to about 9,900 feet was accomplished with only a couple of minor crevasse crossings. The notch at 8,400 feet between the Cowlitz and Ingraham glaciers was easily found.

There were a few crevasses to cross on the Ingraham Glacier. The notch between the Ingraham and Whitman had a number of objective hazards, mostly from loose rock. Large parties should take caution and move expeditiously.

The Whitman Glacier made for easy cramponing early in the day. Later, the sun softened the snow and made crampons unneccessary. Melting glacier water was available at camp near 9,500 feet, as were a number of small trickles around 10,200 feet. The final rock ridge was snow free and also in great condition.

~ Thomas Payne