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Little Tahoma via Frying Pan Creek / Summerland

WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
Posted by SkiingWombat on 6/7/21 3:14pm

(Longtime reader, first-time poster.)


With White River Road now open, RS and I grabbed a permit for Little Tahoma, paid our climbing recovery fee online, and started out on an attempted car-to-car ski of Little T on Friday. Not a cloud in the sky when we left the small parking area at Frying Pan Creek.

About two and a half miles of peaceful hiking along the dirt/snow trail to Summerland got us to the major creek crossing (with a log bridge) at 5200’.  Recommend trail runners or approach shoes for the hike in/out (and the scramble to the summit if you’re so inclined).  

After the creek we went skis on and skinned and booted up the Frying Pan Glacier before popping over the notch to the Upper Whitman: relatively straightforward route-finding with Gaia or your preferred topo map; some recent wet loose debris on the lower FP glacier; and only a few crevasses starting to appear directly on our route... but significant crevasse and icefall hazard visible on climber’s right (north/right side of FP Glacier as you ascend). 

The upper Whitman Glacier is still holding a lot of snow so we booted (postholed — it was a hot day) to within 300-400 vertical feet of the summit and scrambled in shoes to the top. Lots of exposure and great views as expected.  Lenticular forming around the summit of Tahoma was cool to watch but we were glad to be lower down in the sun.


Fun ski down — stayed pretty close to our uptrack.  The north/northeast facing slopes of the Frying Pan were surprisingly nice given it didn’t drop below freezing the night before.  Only saw one other group all day, unlike the circus on the Muir Snowfield the previous weekend.  Well-earned cold beverages awaited back at the car after a fun 12+ hour day in the park. 

Overall a great tour... a shame it took me 10 years of living here to finally climb Little Tahoma. And heads-up on avalanche risk on the steeper slopes with the new snow expected this week. 


Thanks for the info. I should get back up there this summer...

Yea big heads up on the new snow, on monday I was finding 5-10 inches new with big wet slab releases, wished I brought my fatties.

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2021-06-07 22:14:58