Meany Crest

A scramble to an overlook of the Summerland area in Mount Rainier National Park. It's the camping area for climbs of Little Tahoma, Whitman Crest, and K Spire. Travel through mature forest, an open valley, and the subalpine meadows of Summerland with spectacular views of Mount Rainier and Little Tahoma, and then to an even more spectaular highpoints surrounded by crevassed glaciers.

getting there

From SR-410 in Mount Rainier National Park, take Sunrise Road until it meets  White River Road. Go straight on the White River Road towards the White River Campground. The trailhead parking area (3,900 ft) is located just past the bridge over Fryingpan Creek. There are no facilities at the trailhead.

approach

meany crest (7,573 ft)

11 miles round trip, 3,700 feet of elevation gain, difficulty: snow scramble, strenuous 3, technical 3

Hike the Fryingpan Creek Trail to 4.1 miles and 2,100 feet of elevation gain to Summerland. Depart the trail and scramble southwest, going around the west side of cliffs at 6,400 ft.  Turn south to and scramble to the saddle between Points 7280 and 7573, then follow ridge west to Point 7573 on Meany Crest.

On Meany Crest, just before the Fryingpan Glacier, there is a large camping area 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 glacier nearby.

  • This is not a standalone summit. It has only has 1,000 feet of vertical relief on the north, south and east sides, but it is good for scrambling students for meeting the snow scramble course graduation requirement, especially in years with  low snow pack. The north-facing aspect holds snow until late in season.
  • This peak is not the best after snow has melted.  There is very loose rock, scree, gravel, and mud between 6,500 ft and 7,000 ft.

ascent routes

Little Tahoma/East Shoulder (11,138 ft)

7,200 feet of elevation gain, difficulty: basic glacier climb

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.

Whitman Crest/Fryingpan Glacier (9,323 ft)

5,400 feet of elevation gain, difficulty: basic alpine climb

From Meany Crest proceed up Fryingpan Glacier.  Aim to notch southeast (climber’s left) of 9,323 ft high point of Whitman Crest.  From camp it is a 232° true north  bearing to the notch, but crevasses will impede direct progress.  Observe crevasses in map below in your planning process. From notch, scramble to summit which is marked on the map below.

K Spire/East Face (8,885 ft)

14 miles round trip, 5,000 feet of elevation gain, difficulty: intermediate rock climb

Proceed along Fryingpan Glacier as conditions permit. The easiest route is generally to continue toward Whitman Crest at a bearing of 230° until ~8,600 ft and finding the path of least resistance through the glacier. Begin traversing toward K Spire. Scramble up a loose third class ramp on K Spire to the East or Southeast Face, where more solid rock awaits. There are several variations to reach the summit that range from 5.7 to 5.11.

Descent Routes

Little Tahoma & Whitman Crest

Descend the climbing route.

K Spire/East Face

Rappel the climbing route, using a large horn just above the third class ramp. A 50 meter rope should suffice. Descend the Fryingpan Glacier in the same way it was ascended. Enjoy a long glissade from Meany Crest toward Summerland when conditions permit.

trip profiles

Little Tahoma/East Shoulder

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

whitman crest/fryingpan glacier

SEGMENT TIME (HOURS) ELEVATION GAIN (FEET)
Trailhead to Camp 4-6 3,100
Camp to Summit 2,000
Summit to Camp
Camp to Trailhead 3-4

K Spire/East Face

SEGMENT TIME (HOURS) ELEVATION GAIN (FEET)
Trailhead to Camp 4-6 3,100
Camp to Summit 5-7 2,000
Summit to Camp 2-3
Camp to Trailhead 3-4

Equipment

Little Tahoma & Whitman Crest

Standard glacier gear. 

K Spire/East Face

Standard glacier and rock gear. Rock climbing shoes could be helpful depending on the route chosen. Single rack to Black Diamond #2 Camalot and a selection of nuts.

notes

  • There is potentially very serious rockfall from the upper Frying Pan Glacier onward.
  • A camping permit is required for the Meany Crest cross-country zone.
  • A climbing permit , one per person, is required when climbing above 10,000 ft.
  • Difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 3, Snow Scramble, Basic Glacier Climb, Basic Rock Climb, Basic Alpine Climb
  • Length: 11.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 3,700 ft
  • 7,573 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
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
Map
  • Green Trails Mount Rainier Wonderland No. 269SX
  • Green Trails Mt Rainier East No. 270
  • Trails Illustrated Mount Rainier National Park
  • USGS Mt Rainier East
Activities

Upcoming Activities



Intermediate Alpine Climb - K Spire/East Face

Climbing Trip
One-day skimo of K-Spire
Difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 3, Snow Scramble, Basic Glacier Climb, Basic Rock Climb, Basic Alpine Climb
Sun, May 31, 2020
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
0 participants 1 leader
Registration opens May 1
Seattle Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Little Tahoma/East Shoulder

Climbing Trip
Difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 3, Snow Scramble, Basic Glacier Climb, Basic Rock Climb, Basic Alpine Climb
Fri, Jun 12, 2020 - Sat, Jun 13, 2020
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
1 participant on waitlist 0 leaders
Registration opens Apr 28
Tacoma Branch

Basic Glacier Climb - Little Tahoma/East Shoulder

Climbing Trip
Two day climb of Little Tahoma. Washington's third highest summit.
Difficulty: Strenuous 3, Technical 3, Basic Glacier Climb
Fri, Jun 19, 2020 - Sat, Jun 20, 2020
Prerequisites, Leader's Permission Required
6 participants 1 leader
Registration opens May 1
Tacoma Branch
Trip Reports
Titles

This is a list of titles that represent the variations of trips you can take at this route/place. This includes side trips, extensions and peak combinations. Not seeing a title that fits your trip? Log in and send us updates, images, or resources.

  • Little Tahoma/East Shoulder
  • Whitman Crest/Fryingpan Glacier
  • K Spire/East Face
Resources

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