Meany Crest is the summit overlooking one of the most scenic campgrounds in all of Mount Rainier National Park, Summerland. It is a moderate Class 2-3 scramble over broken boulders and snowfields. While fairly cliffy and impressive looking from Summerland and near Panhandle Gap, Meany Crest is merely the termination point on the ridge radiating down from Little Tahoma Peak. Accordingly, Meany Crest is often passed on the approach to the Frying Pan Glacier and Little Tahoma.
With the popularity of Summerland and its location directly on the Wonderland Trail, Meany Crest and the higher summit to its west are probably ascended fairly regularly. Meany Crest affords beautiful views of Panhandle Gap, Little Tahoma, the lower Emmons Glacier, and the entire Sunrise area of Mt. Rainier.
Meany Crest from Summerland
Rainier from Summerland
Meadows before Footbridge
Footbridge across Fryingpan Creek
Drive SR-169 South from Renton to Enumclaw. From Enumclaw, take SR-410 to Mt. Rainier National Park. Shortly after passing the road to Crystal Mountain Ski Area,, you will enter the National Park. Drive a couple of miles, turning right onto the White River Road in the direction of Sunrise. Drive a few more miles to just past Frying Pan Creek, and park in the trailhead parking lot (about 15 parking spots for cars). Find the trailhead directly on the other side of the road.
Take the Frying Pan Creek Trail 0.1 miles to its junction with the Wonderland Trail. Take the left junction of the Wonderland Trail towards Summerland (in another 4.1 miles). This trail is like a highway, wide and smooth, with barely a rock or a root. You can walk three abreast on some parts. National Park hiking at its most comfortable.
Break in Cliffs
Skirting the Cliffband
Final Climb to Summit
Rainier from Summit
At Summerland, see the twin-peaked Meany Crest looming above at a compass bearing of about 220 degrees. The summit of Meany Crest is the summit on climber's left. Climb snowfields below a cliff band, skirting the cliff band, and head up boulders directly up to a break in the cliffs guarding Meany Crest. There is also a climber's track on the lateral moraine (short trees) which is used by the climbers approaching Little Tahoma. Go through the break in the cliff band, arriving at a permanent snowfield. Climb to the saddle at the top of the snowfield, and head left for an easy scramble to the summit. Mainly Class 2, with some Class 3 thrown in. Time: 4 hours from the car.
There are several excellent campsites in Summerland. There is a large group site with a stone shelter, and several smaller individual camp sites. Water is plentiful, as is the wildlife, so make sure to treat/boil your water. There is also a toilet in Summerland.
An entry fee is required to enter Mt. Rainier National Park. The cost is $15/vehicle per week. You can also buy an annual U.S. National Park Pass for $80, which is also good at all Northwest Forest Service trailheads. Other than this, there appears to be no restrictions on camping at Summerland or hiking the trails/climbing the summits in the area.
Meany Crest rises above Alpine Tarn
TOPO! Software Image
For information including road closures and camping restrictions, you can contact Mount Rainier National Park at: Mt. Rainier National Park
Another great site is this excellent Mt. Rainier climbing blog, which gives up-to-date snowpack and road conditions on Mt. Rainier and the all of the roads: Mt. Rainier Climbing Page
"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night, in the dusty recesses of their minds, awake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it reality."