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Trip Report    

Glacier Climb - Little Tahoma/East Shoulder

Successfully climbed Little Tahoma in between two major storms. Conditions were perfect!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles

Nine of us met at 0700 at the Safeway in Enumclaw, arrived at the ranger station at 8:00 to obtain permit. Started hiking at the Fryingpan TH at 0900.  We were the only cars parked at the TH. Snow is still on the trail for 80% of  the way, a few trees have blown down but easy to get around. Followed trail until we crossed the bridge over the river and just before the switchbacks we made a right turn off the trail and followed the river  ascending directly up toward Meany crest bivy site. Snow firm enough that we weren't sinking in. Made it to Meany crest within 5 hours, arriving around 2:00 pm.  Plenty of bear spots to set up tents. No water available so will need to melt snow for water.   

Woke up at 1:30 to find a couple of inches of snow had fallen, however clear skies were out with little wind.  Had concerned about snow being on the rock at the summit, but completely bare when we arrived. We started climbing at 2:45. Roped up to cross the Fryingpan glacier.  Made it to the notch where we cross over onto the Whitman Glacier around 4:30. Snow is 90% up the notch, very easy to cross over.  Traversed over and up the Whitman. Two large crevasses are open on the middle and upper left side of the glacier. Easy to climb on the right side.  Steep climb up to the notch to get onto the rock. Had pretty hard and steep snow going up the chute so on the way back we set up a line for down climbing, but by then the snow did softened up.  

Once on the Rock we kept our crampons on and  scrambled up a 20 ft  section  and then did an ascending traverse up a snowfield. There is some exposure here so need to bring ice axe. Best to stay right and follow the rock wall up instead of traversing depending on your comfort level.  Once across snowfield we dropped our packs and took off our crampons and scrambled to the summit.  I brought pro encase we needed to set up a handline to cross the exposed section to the summit, but did not need to use it.  Everyone had no difficulty getting to the summit.  From camp to summit took us 6 hours.  

We lucked out with the weather, visibility was good at the summit and winds were light. However, about 45 minutes after summiting the weather came in with winds around 35mph and started snowing lightly.  By the time we got down the Whitman glacier the weather improved. Remained cloudy the rest of the day but light wind.  We made it back to camp around 2pm packed up and left camp at 3:30.  Had excellent glasading down from Meany crest bivy site all the way to the river.  Arrived back at TH at 6:00pm.   

Felt very lucky to squeeze this climb in between two major storms.  Most other groups had to cancel there climbs.