Little Tahoma/South Face

This route ascends a series of steps up the south face with several sections of rock and steep snow/ice. Grade II, several pitches of low 5 class rock, ice/snow up to 45°. This is a good early season approach to Little Tahoma's South Face and East Shoulder routes when the road to Summerland is closed.

getting there

From SR-7 in Elbe, turn east onto SR-706, both known as the National Park Highway. Continue through the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park. Be prepared to pay the fee just after entering the park. Drive 19 miles to Paradise.

In winter, ALL drivers in the park are required to carry snow chains or equivalent traction devices—this includes those with a 4-wheel or  all-wheel drive vehicle. Those without a 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle may be required to install them at Longmire or beyond.


Ascend toward Camp Muir. At 8,600 ft, traverse northeast crossing the Paradise, Cowlitz, and Ingraham Glaciers to the base of Little Tahoma's South Face (8,900 ft).


South Shoulder

Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering climb

Climb snow and ice up to 45°, and  Class 4 to low Class 5 rock to the summit (11,138 ft). Times: 1-2 days, 4-6 hours from high camp, 2-3 hours for decent.

East Shoulder

Difficulty: Basic Glacier Climb

Contour around 9,000ft to the first rock outcrop and ascend the Frying Pan Glacier exiting at its upper left-hand corner into a gully. Ascend two-thirds of the way up the gully to a 6-foot step at a headwall. Go up the step and ascend a gully-chimney to the summit notch. A short (30 ft), loose and exposed scramble along ridge crest reaches the summit. Students need only climb to the notch to receive credit. Times: 1-2 days, 6-8 hr to camp, 4-6 hr camp to summit.


Descend the East Shoulder route to 8,800 ft. Traverse south to the Ingraham Glacier and retrace the climbing route from there.


Standard glacier gear.


  • In winter and early season climbs, these routes are better approached from Paradise. When Mount Rainier National Park opens the roads to Sunrise Road, refer to the approach via Meany Crest.



A climbing permit is required for trips to Little Tahoma. Climbing permits are required for trips on glaciers and/or above 10,000 ft. Fees apply. Check with Mount Rainier National Park (land manger link below) to be sure you have the required camping and climbing permits.

  • Difficulty: Intermediate Mountaineering Climb, Basic Glacier Climb
  • Length: 14.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 6,000 ft
  • 11,138 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
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  • Little Tahoma/East Shoulder

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