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Little Tahoma Peak, 11138ft / 3395m, August 2000

It was early August and the conditions on Rainier were still awesome. With the deep snow pack on the glaciers the big one looked like to stay in shape for weeks to come. The weather report forecasted a storm moving in late next day, so Danny and me opted for a day trip up Little T. We both worked the dinner shift at the Paradise Inn and hit the road over to White River at 10pm. After a short night's sleep at the Panhandle Gap trailhead parking lot right next to the car, we got an early start around sunrise. The fog in the forest was dense and at one stage I kind of even hoped that it wouldnt even clear giving us a good excuse to return early and get some more well-deserved sleep (we were bloody knackered having worked some triple shifts the week before). But as usual at Rainier, the fog ceiling would probably be low enough to push for the summit. By the time we reached the Summer Land area, the fog started to clear to our relief and it looked like it would become a fantastic blue bird day, yay! We clicked into our crampons and ascended the steep slopes up the lower Frying Pan Glacier.

Little Tahoma Peak seen from the Frying Pan Glacier

On the upper half we roped up and traversed the glacier to the notch between Whitman Crest and Little T. From there the summit looked really close and we progressed quickly up the final steep snow slopes of the upper Whitman Glacier to the summit rocks.

The upper Whitman Glacier

No point in roping up on the final scramble, there was just no protection to be placed on the loose volcanic rock. Just before the summit, we peeked over the summit ridge down onto the Emmons - a mother of a glacier for sure!

The massive Emmons Glacier flowing below Little T

The final meters were pretty scary, loose rock everywhere and a few thousand vertical feet of air under your butt! I imagined the free fall onto the Emmons below...aeeeh...forget these thoughts i told myself and moved on to the summit where Dany was already writing stuff into the summit register.

Scramblin' the final meters to the summit

Danny & the lower Emmons Glacier

The views from the summit were really cool, especially of Rainier which was right opposite from us. It was so close from this perspective! And it did look really white, a giant sugar cone!

from l. to r.: Gibraltar Rock - Ingraham Glacier - Dissapointment Cleaver - Emmons Glacier

You could actually see the boot track to the summit and a number of parties along the way. Some tents were also visible at Ingraham Flats. Hopefully everyone would make it back in time before the forecasted storm would move in. No clouds were visible yet but things can change quickly at Rainier.

Glissading down the lower Frying Pan Glacier, Summer Land below

We glissaded most of the way down and by the time we reached Summer Land, the clouds were moving in quickly on the upper elevations. By the time we reached the car, the weather was foul. Good thing we listened to the weather report and chose to climb Little Tahoma instead of Rainier.

Clouds movin' in as seen from Summer Land

For some reason Danny got a disgusting blister on his heel even though his climbing boots were well worn in. He popped it right away and the sight was pretty gross.


The climb definitely rocked though and back at the lodge we got treated to Pacific Northwest Salmon, Yum!


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