Every time I climb Rainier I tell my buddies how great this climb was and get all kinds of flack - "What that little thing over there?". But seriously what a great climb! We had some serious rock fall to watch for near the top and a great view on summit.
Did it as an overnight trek from Paradise. Sleeping on a glacier is quite an experience.
7300 feet up in 6 hours from the fryingpan trailhead. Perfect snow conditions. Summit scramble was pretty easy... Class 3 I thought, and wasn't that loose. Views of Rainier were top notch and watching the climbers on the DC route slowly move up the mountain was cool. Descent included copious glissading :)
Grad climb with Boealps. I was so impressed by the challenge! As mcross mentioned, it was great having to find your own route, to kick steps and to have to figure out how to use crampons *because you actually need them*
The wind was really strong when we got to the summit block, so we didn't summit, but it was an incredible experience and great learning challenge I would highly recommend.
This mountain helped me break free from my typical game of ‘follow the footprints to the top’!
The climbing party consisted of myself and one friend. Our plan was to stick to SummitPost's Fryingpan/Whitman Glacier route as closely as possible. We arrived at the mountain on the afternoon of Friday, July 4th, and planned to camp somewhere in Summerland. Our first problem arose when I lost the trail. Just before Summerland, the trail seemed to follow a steep draw/stream. As it got darker outside, a thick fog rolled in and we found ourselves hiking on seemingly fresh snow (no footprints to follow.) Following the proper route, the trail sharply switches back. I didn’t realize this until our descent the next day. Oh well! We followed the snow covered draw until we reached a nice clearing where it was flat enough to camp. Visibility was very poor, and I was doubting that we’d be successful.
When I woke up the next day, I thought I had died and gone to paradise. I know that sounds cliché, but I can think of no other way appropriately capture the perfection of that morning. It was around 9AM, we had slept in and it felt great! I was able to figure out where we were using a compass and some significant landmarks, and we made our way to the top.
Highlights: Not another soul on the mountain, no "footprint trail"
-Always bring that compass!
-If you lost the trail, look behind you. It might be a switchback.
-Wear a helmet. At about 11000 feet, I got hit in the sternum by a coconut sized rock. It almost knocked me off the mountain. If that rock hit me any higher, I would have probably fallen and died. Luckily it didn’t, and I was just winded.
-Make sure your crampons are very secure. One of you may find an almost new pair of Petzl Lynx crampons up there!
My friends Mike and Rachel had been planning to climb Little T. for the last few years. Everything came together and we made it happen this year. Our friends Nik, Alexei, Tom Tom joined us in what was one of my favorite climbs. Beautiful camp and Meany Crest, fun easy glacier travel, steep snow, and loose choss.
My first experience in the USA. Great weather, a good one for a car to car. Some loose rock on the top, but amazing view.
Thought we might have bad weather, worried that the clear skies would cave in- hence the sucker hole...but we had a killer view of Rainier up top.
Did this twice in two weeks. Had such a fun time on a solo trip I took friends back the next week. Didn't expect one friend to have so much difficulty on the talus, got back to summerland at nightfall. Opps, no flashlight among the 3 of us! Walked trail out in total darkness holding each others backpacks reaching cars at 2 AM. Dennys at 3 AM.
Report, pics, map at
It was my first time up Little T. This is one of my favorite car to car climbs! I had a great time and the view from the top was awesome. The best part was that we didn't see any other people...we had the whole peak to ourselves. Definitely a climb I will do again.
Thanks cluck for your great route desription!
Traversed over from the Muir snowfield to the Whitman Glacier on skis. This route is only feasable in early season due to crevase danger when the snow melts off. There were 18 people climbing the peak that day. Luckily we were the first to summit and the first off. Rock is loose but not horribly so. A great position with awesome views of Rainier.
Straight forward climb with great weather. We camped at 9,000' (at the crest between the Fryingpan and Whitman glaciers) and made it to the summit in less than three hours the following morning. Rockfall hazard was less than anticipated - perhaps because we were only a party of three - but still something to be VERY conscious of.
Outdoorgirl... thanks for signing the log and congrats.
Not sure party size is the primary concern for rock fall on this route. The rock fall we experienced was not party induced but rather spontaineous. A couple of trash can lid sized buzz saws fell off the headwall above the snow field leading to the summit. Missed us by only a few feet. No place to hide and they would have totally ruined our day. I've heard others tell similar tales that lead me to believe rotten Little T has higher than average issues with this sort of thing. In fact, one of the guide books tells of the entire North side of the peak sliding off a vew decades ago. Covered the Emmons glacier with thousands of cubic yards of debree.
In 1994 an OSAT group of 6 summited, after having bivvied in the rocks just below the bowl below Meany Crest (we were told the camp at Meany Crest was full). Contrary to the comment on the SP peak page, we were able to get all 6 of us on the true summit, and have a photo to prove it (I'll scan it in some day). No rope used for the short, but airy traverse.
In 1996 an OSAT group returned to Little T with the ashes of Jim D. Hinkhouse and some of his wands. These were left on the summit as a tribute to Jim, since the organization he founded prepares 20-30 climbers every year for Rainier climbs on the DC/Ingraham and Emmons routes that are visible from the summit.
I personally made Little T my "sacred mountain", vowing never to return (in respect to JDH) in spite of it being a wonderful glacier climb with a nice little scramble at the end.
Climbed with friend, party of two...had mountain to ourselves. Arrived at Summerland at dusk on 6/30, camped and slept for a few hours. Started climb in dark at 3 am, worked way up to Meany Crest in time for the 5:10 (?) sunrise. Reached notch at Whitman Crest by about 7 am. Summitted at 11:30 am. From the Crest to end of the snow portion of the route, experienced severely soft/mushy snow which made things very difficult. Followed boot track toward the left side of the upper Whitman Glacier, but could not safely cross the small crevasses, bergs, and moats because of the soft snow. This appeared to be an early season route, and we had to skirt the hazards. Late season route would appear to be in the central to right (north) side of the upper Whitman Glacier, but this part of the route seems to be more prone to rockfall hazard and avalanches. There were signs of recent avy debris in this section, as well as on the Fryingpan route that follows below the Whitman Crest prior to reaching the notch. On this day, there was virtually no rockfall. Previous night, and this day was very warm. Freezing level the night before was prob 11,000 ft. Summit rock scramble was fun! Some loose rock sure, but not as bad as I feared. 4 hour descent back to Summerland, good plunges going down except for the postholing below Meany...descended upper Whitman Glacier via central/right side to avoid the opening crevasse hazards. Route did not have the largest crevasses, but snow bridges over them were very unstable and not trusted on this day. Route may have been fine had we hit the Whitman a couple hours sooner. Learning moment...beware of the boot track. Also, Cluck's route description is the best and most comprehensive I've seen, thanks! Very useful.
Group left White River Trailhead on 7/7. Hiked to Summerland and then up to Meany Crest for the night. Trip from Summerland to Meany Crest was an exciting bit of scrambling up rock, weather shifting rapidly. Made camp just short of the last hill up to Meany Crest. Woke at 3 am...completely socked in..and very windy. woke again at 4:30 and no sign of thick clouds dissipating. Didn't make the attempt up to Little T due to weather/time constraints. On descent back to Summerland on 7/8, sun came out (of course) and was a gorgeous hike back to the car. Wildflowers everywhere...
Started from the parking lot near white river campground at 3am. Made it to Summerland at 4:40am and to meany crest at 6:40am. We were on the true summit around 12:30pm. We got back to our cars at 6:30pm. It was a long day. If I were to do it again, I would camp at Summerland for one night.
The glacier climb was easy and we encountered only few small crevasses. As advertised, the rock portion from the toe of Whitman to just below the summit ridge was bad but not horrendous. Just very loose. Once you get to the summit ridge, you have to down climb about 10 feet over and across a very exposed saddle. Then up 15 or so feet of easy 5th class rock to the true summit. See my picture in the PHOTOS link. Take a rope for belay just in case.
Fantastic views and wonderful weather made this trip very memorable. Just very long if you start from the parking lot.
Couldn't ask for a better day. Was with a group of 8 Seattle Mountaineers, following an NPS group of 4 that turned (due to time). Be certain to get your permit early, as camping above timberline is limited.
- Climbing group was great. Attitudes awesome, rock solid on skills
- Glacier was in good shape & no crevasse rescue was required
- Weather was great for Sunday. Mostly sunny and good snow conditions
- Climbed the mountain 100% on it's terms... no one else on the mountain, no boot path or cairns to follow
- Trust the map on route finding. We did far too much flailing between Summerland and Meany Crest
- Need to appoint someone to be the sunscreen bastard. Yell at everyone at every break and don't let us leave with re-applying lotion.
- Find ways to lighten pack weight into camp, except no skimping on stove fuel
- Make sure cook pots don't sluff off their coatings and turn all of our precious water into stink water
- When the plan calls for an alpine start, don't sleep in unless you like getting home at 2:00AM on a school night
- This mountain has spontaneous rock fall danger. Climb early season, early morning, go fast through most dangerous areas & wear your brain bucket