Little Tahoma Climb

Little Tahoma Climb With Alpine Ascents

I had a great experience. I was a little skeptical about Little Tahoma–felt like a “check the box” for my 20 volcanoes and not one I was looking forward to. But I have to say the whole trip will go down as one of my favorites. Thank you! -2019 Climber

Although often overlooked by climbers who set their sights on the summit of Mt. Rainier, Little Tahoma is a beautiful climb in its own right and offers a truly unique experience for climbers willing to venture off the beaten bootpack. Standing at 11,138 ft tall on the southeast flank of Mount Rainier, “Little T” is the third tallest peak in Washington with a prized summit known for its seclusion and exhilarating summit scramble. Alpine Ascents’ four-day climb of Little Tahoma is an excellent choice for climbers with a thirst for adventure or aspirations to climb high-altitude, glaciated, technical peaks in Alaska, South America, and beyond.

With a maximum group size of 4 climbers and a low 2:1 ratio, this climb is equal parts hands-on instruction and summit climb.   Additionally, our four-day itinerary allows for two possible summit days.   Little Tahoma is a fantastic next-step after a 3-Day Baker or a 3-Day Rainier climb due to the emphasis on teaching and the variety of terrain encountered on route to the airy summit. Climbers will develop strong fundamental skills in snow and glacier climbing and receive an introduction to alpine rock climbing. This instructional course/summit climb travels as a fully contained climbing expedition, as each person carries his/her own climbing kit and a portion of the group’s camping and cooking equipment. Successful completion of this program gives climbers the required skills for several of our more advanced expeditions.

Maximum team size: four climbers with two guides.

Tents Equipment & Meals

Provided: Transportation to and from the mountain. All group climbing equipment, including climbing ropes and technical hardware; meals (except lunch); and tents.
Not Provided: Personal equipment and lunches. You are responsible for all items on the Gear List.

Note: If you are a beginning climber, we strongly advise renting as much gear as possible. Alpine Ascents and other local retailers provide quality rental equipment at reasonable prices. We also offer a 10% discount at the Alpine Ascents Gear Shop located at our offices. We conduct a mandatory gear check the day before your climb.

Mount Rainier Little Tahoma Climb FAQS

How do I reserve a space for a climb?

The best way to reserve space on a climb is to apply online through the “Book a Trip” button.

When does my Climb begin and end?

Overview: Climbers attend a mandatory gear check the day before the climb, lodge in Seattle, then meet at 6:00 a.m. the day of the climb for travel to the mountain. Climbers return to Seattle on last day of the climb. Flights home should be booked for the following morning, at the earliest.

Day before climb begins: Meet at the Alpine Ascents Office at 2:00 p.m. for a gear check and orientation (~2 hours).

Day 1 of Climb: Climbers meet at the Alpine Ascents office at 6:00 a.m. Alpine Ascents provides transportation to and from Mt. Rainier. (Climbers are not to drive themselves per NPS regulations.)

Last Day of Climb: Return to the Alpine Ascents Office between 7–11 p.m. on the last day of climb.

Day after climb ends: Fly home.

What does the Gear Check cover?

A mandatory gear check will take place the day before your climb at 2:00 p.m.  You are required to attend this meeting so we can do a thorough gear check, provide packing instruction, review the route, discuss Leave No Trace practices and the National Park Mission Statement, and address any final adjustments based on weather and conditions.
Location: Alpine Ascents office @ 109 West Mercer St., Seattle, WA
What to bring: Please bring your pack fully loaded with all gear listed on the Gear List.  Climbers can pick up rental gear at the gear check.

When should I fly in and out of Seattle?

Arrive in time to attend the gear check (preferably the night before the gear check in case of travel delays) and plan to depart at least one day after your climb ends. There are variables on summit day that make it difficult to guarantee the exact time each climb will end. Alpine Ascents cannot adjust the climb itinerary to accommodate return flights booked for the same day the climb concludes.

If I am driving to your office where can I park?

Street parking is limited to two-hour parking meters. There are numerous pay lots located near our office.  Be advised, overnight parking may be difficult to secure during the summer season. Please note: Free long-term parking is generally difficult in the vicinity of Alpine Ascents.  If you plan to stay in Seattle and have a car, try to arrange a taxi or ride to our office on the morning of the climb. You may store extra gear in our office until your return from the climb.

How do I get to Alpine Ascents International?


  • From Interstate 5, take the Mercer Street exit and follow the signs to Seattle Center/Space Needle. (A quick right turn onto Fairview Ave., and a quick left turn onto Valley St., which becomes Broad Street.)
  • After you pass the Space Needle on your right, make a right turn onto Denny Way.
  • Proceed to 1st Ave. North and turn right.
  • Proceed to Mercer Street and turn left.
  • We are located at 109 West Mercer Street, directly across the street from Bank of America and next door to Ozzie’s Tavern.
  • Street parking is limited to two-hour parking meters, though there are several pay lots near our offices.
Where do I stay the night before and after the climb?

You will need a room for the night prior to the start of your climb and for the last night of your climb. There are many lodging options near our offices. We recommend staying somewhere within walking distance to make the 6:00 am meetup on Day 1 easy.

Alpine Ascents has partnered with our neighbors, the MarQueen Hotel, located two blocks from our office. Reservations for your room should be made as soon as possible.

MarQueen Hotel
Phone: 206-282-7407

Rates: Reasonable by Seattle standards, however they vary by season.

If you wish to share a room with another climb participant, the MarQueen can help with those arrangements. The hotel is two blocks from the Alpine Ascents office. Extra gear may be stored at the MarQueen or at our office until your return.

Staying elsewhere in downtown Seattle is another option. During the climbing season, hotels in Seattle are difficult to reserve and are a bit more expensive. Regardless of where you choose to stay, you will be responsible for getting to our offices by 6:00 a.m. the morning of your climb. We are a short cab ride away from most of the downtown hotels and local equipment shops. After the climb, we will return to our offices and you can return to your hotel by taxi at that point.

What do I need to bring?

Please read your Gear List very carefully. You are required to bring every item on the list, so be as precise as possible when packing. Alpine Ascents rents quality technical equipment at reasonable rates. If you have any equipment-related questions please call us (206-378-1927). You can also email us at: [email protected] We have a full-time gear expert on staff.

Alpine Ascents also provides all tents and group climbing equipment on this climb. Before departing for the trailhead, we will check and organize personal/group gear.

Where do I pick up my rental gear for the climb?

You will pick up your rental gear at our office during the gear check.

Any tips on packing?

The mountains of the Northwest and north coast are heavily glaciated temperate mountains. This means they are subject to highly variable weather conditions.

  • Pack everything in two layers of sturdy plastic. (trash compactor bags work the best). Bring one large trash bag to completely and easily cover your pack. You should bring at least four bags.
  • It is likely that you will be asked to help carry some of the group equipment, so make sure there is some additional room in and on your backpack.
What can I read to prepare for the climb?

You will get far more out of your climb by reading Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, 6th ed., by The Mountaineers. This book provides an excellent overview of the elements involved in alpine mountaineering. Chapters 1, 2, 3 and 6 review much of the training that we will cover during the climb, and familiarity with this information in advance will greatly enhance your experience.

Where is a good, trustworthy store to purchase gear?

We run our own retail climbing shop and online Gear Shop, where all Alpine Ascents climbers receive a discount and can receive personalized advice from our gear experts.

I am concerned that the gear I am renting will not fit or work properly.

At Alpine Ascents, we clean and check our rental boots, packs, crampons, ice axes, tents, and other items on a daily basis. We will size your gear at the gear check and changes can be made at that time. All of our gear is of the highest quality. Please note that double plastic boots do not break in.

Is this trip going to be physically challenging?

Yes. Please thoroughly review our Training page. If you follow our physical fitness tips and do additional training on your own, you should complete the climb with no problems. Please note, the guide retains the right, at any point, to determine whether a climber is sufficiently fit to continue the climb.

What if I need to leave the climb early?

For climbers who need to be escorted from the climb, there is an evacuation fee.

What kind of experience do I need to participate in a climb of Little Tahoma?

This climb is open to advanced beginners. A prior glacier climb is required. (Mount Baker 3 Day climb, or equivalent training that includes a significant glaciated ascent and a day of snow school.) This four-day trip is extremely rigorous and being in excellent physical condition is mandatory. One day of skills review is included in the climb. Please note, the guide retains the right, at any point, to determine whether a climber is sufficiently fit to continue the climb.

Is food provided on my climb?

Alpine Ascents provides breakfast and dinners (as well as stoves and tents) on this climb. Please bring a cup, bowl, and spoon. You are required to bring your own lunches (please review the Sample Menu Plan in the logistics materials). If you have any food allergies or requirements, please let us know in advance. There is a place on the application to indicate these dietary restrictions. You may be asked to help carry provisions to each camp. If you have a particular favorite snack/lunch food or beverage mix, please feel free to bring it along. We advice climbers to purchase most of your bulk foods before we meet. If you are staying in Seattle, there are numerous supermarkets as well as the flagship REI, North Face, and Patagonia gear shops for fresh and prepackaged foods.

How heavy will my pack be?

Since everyone purchases different gear and is a different size, it is hard to give you an exact number. For most of our climbs, you can expect your internal frame pack (packed with gear and food) to weigh between 45 and 55 lbs. It is likely that you will be asked to help carry a portion of the group equipment such as ropes and protection, so make sure there is spare room in your backpack for approximately four to eight additional pounds of gear.

How many climbers/guides are there per class?

All summit climbs in Mount Rainier National Park have a 2:1 climber-to-guide ratio.

Reading List

This is a highly recommended shortlist and we would be happy to pass on a longer reading list for those interested. These links will bounce to with reviews.

The Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel & Crevasse Rescue
Andy Tyson, Mike Clelland, Climbing Magazine
Mountaineering: Freedom of the Hills
Don Graydon (Ed.), Kurt Hanson (Ed.), Mountaineers Society, Mountaineers Books

I had a great experience. I was a little skeptical about Little Tahoma–felt like a “check the box” for my 20 volcanoes and not one I was looking forward to. But I have to say the whole trip will go down as one of my favorites.  I also loved the experience of climbing K Spire–very […]

little tahoma d slideshow
little tahoma f slideshow
Up the Fryingpan Glacier Photo Credit: Nate Douglas
little tahoma e slideshow
The summit! Photo Credit: Nate Douglas


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Alpine Ascents International is an authorized mountain guide service of Denali National Park and Preserve and Mount Rainier National Park.
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