Little Tahoma 2013

July 25

If your short on time or just a weekend warrior Little Tahoma is still in great condition for a fun summer climb. Access to Little T from the paradise side is very broken across the glacier. Access from the White River side up through Summerland is great. It is a relatively quick hike with outstanding wildflower viewing along the way.

Getting to Meany Crest from Summerland after leaving the trail contains rock talus and scree with a few small patches of snow. The best place to exit the main trail is at the log foot bridge about 1/3 mile past the Summerland campground. After making your way into the basin, take the most direct line to the ridge on Meany Crest. The route up to the ridge is easier than it appears from down low in the basin. Camping at Meany Crest is snow free. There was running water nearby in the gully south of camp.

Climbing from camp is approx. 2.5 miles to the summit of Little Tahoma. Glacier travel across the Frying Pan to the Whitman Crest saddle is fairly direct with a few crevasses to walk around. There is some loose exposed rock scree and talus you will have to cross to get over the saddle and on to the Whitman Glacier. Be sure you are not climbing directly above or below your partner in these rocky areas. Glacier travel on the Whitman and up Little T is still easily  negotiated with one large crevasse to skirt around down low. Once you get on to the rock near the top there are several different ways to gain the summit. Some are better than others, so take your time and pick a safe line. The rock is not stable and should not be trusted. There is some mild exposure along the ridge. Bring some long runners to sling rocks and maybe a small set of tri-cams. There are a couple of spots you can place rock pro if you need too. Overall this is a great climb, and is sure to put a smile on your face.-697

June 21

On June 19th a group of climbing rangers headed out from Camp Muir for a climb of Little Tahoma.

At this point in the season, it is still reasonable to approach Little T from Camp Muir, or for that matter from Paradise. The route we used crossed the Cowlitz at approximately 8,900 feet onto the Ingraham.

We then navigated around large crevasses across the Ingraham, at an elevation between 9,000 and 8,500 feet. We left the Ingraham around 8,500 feet, and crossed a small rock step around 8,700 feet to gain the edge of the Whitman glacier. Look for rappel slings in this area for your return down the rock step.

Once on the Whitman, we ascended straight up moderate snow slopes, exiting into a third class gully on climber's left. This gully goes through some ledges and scree slopes, reaching the ridge crest after about three hundred vertical feet. A short bit of ridge crest travel leads to Little Tahoma's spectacular summit.

We retraced our route back to Camp Muir, utilizing running protection in the steeper rock steps.

Skiing still looks possible on the Whitman and Fryingpan glaciers, although the snow surface is gaining some "texture". Get out and make your ascent of the third highest peak in Washington while the getting is good!


June 10

Rangers did a climbing patrol to Little Tahoma from Camp Muir on Monday.  Navigation on the Cowlitz Glacier proved to be fairly easy.  Climber's right (the east side) was very straight forward with only a couple of solid crevasse bridge crossings to facilitate a direct path toward the step over onto the Ingraham Glacier at 8600'.  The Ingraham Glacier seemed to be a little more broken than in previous years, especially near the snow ramp to access the Whitman Glacier.

Ski tracks and point release wet slide debris were all over the Whitman Glacier.  Skimo's have definitely been getting after it.  The upper snow field is still fairly fat which allows for easy access to the rocky summit ridge.  Running water (although it was a sunny day with a 11,000' freezing level) was available at the top of the Whitman Glacier.

The approach from the White River drainage still looks snowy.  Skiing in from that side still seems way worth it.  Use caution on the upper reaches of the Whitman - there are a couple of hidden crevasses/moats opening up.

All in all, Little T is in great shape.  A phenomenal ski in the park without the crowds.