Placeholder Routes & Places

Trip Report    

Whitman Crest Ski Tour

Ski tour up to Whitman Crest. Hiked to Summerland, booted (in ski boots) up to below Meany Crest, roped up, and then skinned up and across the Fryingpan Glacier to Whitman Crest. Scrambled the summit and had a great ski back down to where we hung our shoes.

  • Sun, Jul 17, 2022
  • Meany Crest
  • Backcountry Skiing
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • There were an ample number of parking spaces at the Summerland TH when our group met at 7AM.  The trail up to Summerland was in great shape with a brief rock-hop ahead of the log bridge to cross Fryingpan Creek and then a few well-traveled patches of snow on the switchbacks up to Summerland.


    The snow up to Meany Crest was heavily suncupped but soft enough to  kick in good steps.   The snow is thinning in places, however, and rocks are starting to show.  (This is more of a concern for skiers on descent than for those traveling on foot.)


    There were no visible open cracks on the glacier, although some appeared to be getting a start (slightly sunken darker patches) up toward the top of the glacier and near some of the rock islands.


    To attain the summit of Whitman Crest, the group traveled as far as possible on snow and then switched to no more than 100' mostly horizontal scrambling over choss.  (This was no problem in ski boots.)

Our group of five hiked in from the Summerland TH starting at just after 7AM under cloudy skies.  We made good time up to Summerland with our skis on our backs and trail runners on our feet, and we stashed our the trail runners in a tree near the Wonderland trail (to avoid having them eaten by the marmots roaming the meadow) and switched into our ski boots where the trail crosses the creek.  That creek was the last convenient running water.

Undeterred by continuing clouds and mist, we booted past the cliff band on a line NNW of the Meany Crest high point up to about 7000 feet.


Still unable to see much of what was above us, we roped up as a team of two and a team of three and started skinning, taking a rising traverse that more or less followed the climber's trail toward the Meany Crest camp spots, and then briefly carrying our skis over to the edge of the glacier past the camp spots.

Our optimism for the weather was rewarded at about 8000' when the clouds and mist cleared, giving us great views of Little and Big Tahoma.


We took a gently rising track (W) up the headwall and circled back right (NW) toward the summit, where we unroped, scrambled over a chossy rib, and then stashed our skis at around 9300 feet to scramble along the ridge to the summit of Whitman Crest.  After we'd had enough snacks and views, we scrambled back to our skis and set up to ski off the initially steep headwall in perfect corn snow.



After some great turns, we rode out heavier (but still fun!) snow on the flatter part of the glacier, carried our skis back past the camp sites, and set about finding a skiable path back down to our shoes.


We were able to navigate between rocks on steep but soft, sun-cupped snow with only a little shenanigans, eventually taking a hard rightward traverse back to our shoes.  Coverage was thin in places, so our route may not be skiable much longer and parties on foot may start punching through.