14,410’, South Cascades Grade III , 3, Intermediate Mountaineering
Reference & Data • • • •
- Jurisdiction: Mt. Rainier National Park
- Ranger Station: Longmire Ranger Station / 360-569-2211 x3317
- Equipment: Standard Glacier gear, pickets and screws.
- USGS Maps: Mt Rainier East, Mt Rainier West
- Other Map: Mount Rainier National Park.
- Beckey: Cascade Alpine Guide I, 3rd Edition, pp 106-109.
- Other ref: 50 Hikes in Mount Rainier National Park, pp 32-33.
Selected Climbs in the Cascades, Vol. 2, pp 40-45
Climbing Mount Rainier, pp 126-128
Time Elevation gain/loss Mileage
- Seattle to road end 2.5 hrs 2,880’ 85
- R/t to Paradise 1.5 hrs (Exit car) 40
- Cars to camp 1 4 hrs +3,220’
- Camp 1 to camp 2 10 hrs +4,340’
- Camp 2 to Summit 7 hrs +3,970’
- Summit to cars 5.5 hrs -9,000’ (Paradise)
Approach • • • • • • • • • • •
Take I-5 S to exit 142. Exit to State 161 and drive south until exiting at State 512W. Travel 2-3
miles and get off at Puyallup exit (Mt. Rainier sign). Drive via Eatonville and State 706 to the
Nisqually entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park (approximately 80 miles from Seattle). Pay
entrance fee and drive 1 mile to the West Side Road, turn left and take it as far as it is open,
(barricade at Fish Creek, 2,880’, in 1997) toward Tahoma Creek Trailhead, 3,500’, 4.7 mi. from the
start of the West Side Rd.
Park car and hike up road approximately a half hour, to Tahoma Creek
Trail. Ascend Tahoma Creek Trail and turn north on Wonderland Trail and ascend to 5,600’. Turn
NE on moraine to camp I on crest of Emerald Ridge between N and S lobes of the Tahoma Glacier
From camp I to camp II, ascend a series of zig zags. Initially ascend southern side of Tahoma
Glacier to about 7,200’; then gradual, diagonal traverse to opposite side of glacier to about 9,000’.
Continue traversing south again to near glacier side at about 10,000’, then back N again towards
other side. Camp II recommended on this last traverse where safe from serac fall at about 10,440’,
roughly parallel to St. Andrews Rock).
Climbing Route • • • • •
Finish last N traverse from camp II to side of glacier, ascending seracs as required to cross crevasse
moat to about 10,800’, then traverse S to about 11,000’. Turn and ascend N to about 11,200’ to
enter sickle. Ascend sickle on N side of glacier keeping left of icy ridges to a plateau at about
12,600’. Thence make a gradual rising traverse S to the summit cone.
Descent • • • • • • • • • • •
Descend via the Dissapointment Cleaver route to Camp Muir and Paradise. Alternatively, descend
the climbing route.
Comments • • • • • • • • •
The Tahoma Creek Trail is closed due to flash flooding, but is passable. The flooding is due to
sudden releases from the glacier. Familiarize yourself with warning sounds from the flooding and
be prepared to seek refuge on high ground. The Tahoma Glacier is heavily crevassed with
crescentric crevasses at the upper levels. Diagonal traverses and careful route finding are required.
Route may deviate from year to year. A carryover is recommended for both a quicker descent and
to avoid sun weakened snow bridges on descent of the Tahoma Glacier. The sickle is steep hard
snow and ice; crux is approach. Best done in early season. Climbing permit is required; obtain
either at Longmire or Paradise.