Little Tahoma/East Shoulder

A long and strenuous glacier climb with a final 30 foot scramble on loose, exposed rock. The climb takes one through mature forest, an open valley and the subalpine meadows of Summerland providing spectacular views of Mount Rainier and Little Tahoma. There is potentially very serious rockfall from the upper Frying Pan Glacier onward. Times: 5-6 hr to camp, 7-8 hr camp to summit.

getting there

Drive southeast from Enumclaw on SR 410 to White River Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park, entrance fee required. Register for climb here at the ranger station. About 3 mi from White River Entrance, park just beyond the Fryingpan Creek Bridge at 3,900 ft.

APPROACH

Hike up the trail (snow covered early in season) along Fryingpan Creek. The large meadow below Meany Crest is an environmentally sensitive area and should NOT be crossed if it is free of snow. Skirt the meadow to the left—beyond Summerland Campground to attain Meany Crest (7,000+ ft). On Meany Crest, just before the Fryingpan Glacier, there is a huge camp spot with leveled sites and some rock walled sites. Be prepared to melt snow for water. If there are more than five in the party, camp on the nearby glacier.

ASCENT ROUTE

Proceed along Fryingpan Glacier. From Meany Crest follow a bearing of 260°, aiming for notch between it and the Whitman Glacier. Go through the notch (9,000 ft) and contour southwest around the first rock outcrop. Ascend the 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. You need only climb to the notch to receive credit.

DESCENT ROUTE

Descend the climbing route. Follow a back bearing of 80°. Again, do not cross the meadow below Meany Crest, but descend same route described above.

TRIP PROFILE

SEGMENT TIME (HOURS) ELEVATION GAIN (FEET)
Trailhead to Camp 5-6 3,100
Camp to Summit 7-8 4,100
Summit to Camp 2-3
Camp to Trailhead 3-4

EQUIPMENT

Standard glacier equipment.

NOTES

  • There is potentially very serious rockfall from the upper Frying Pan Glacier onward, including the gully. The party size may be reduced to reduce some of the rockfall hazard; avoid using ropes in the gully.
  • This is a long and strenuous climb, but provides a spectacular view.
  • A climbing fee and camping permit are required. It is highly desirable to get a permit for camping in the Meany Crest zone (7,000+ ft) rather than the Summerland zone (5,900 ft).
  • Suitable Activities: Climbing
  • Climbing Category: Basic Alpine
  • Seasons: June, July, August
  • Weather: View weather forecast.
  • Difficulty: Technical 3, Strenuous 3, Basic Glacier Climb
  • Elevation Gain: 7,200 ft
  • 11,138 ft
  • Land Manager: Mount Rainier National Park
    Mount Rainier Wilderness
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
Map
  • USGS Mt Rainier East
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
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  • Little Tahoma Cowlitz Traverse
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