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Stefan

Take newbie/friend on Mt. Rainier - Tahoma Glacier

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I have not been on the route and only have read Beckeys route description.

 

Would you take a newbie / friend on the Tahoma Glacier route?

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Fe, fi, fo, fum!

I smell a troll on cc.com!

 

Your little newbie friend will cry.gif and say wazzup.gif and then turn to you and boxing_smiley.gif your *ss.

 

pitty.gif

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Might depend on whether you are proud or embarrassed of your association with cc.com blush.gif

 

Huh. I wouldn't take a newbie up the Tahoma Glacier... I'd send 'em up Baker, Adams or the DC/Emmons first so they sort'a know what they're in for. maybe that's just me.

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Many moons ago I took several groups of new or relatively inexperienced climbers up the Emmons Glacier route and we probably had about a 50% success rate. The one time I took a group of inexperienced climbers up the Tahoma, we made it only to about 10,500 feet before concluding the venture was doomed for lack of momentum. It had taken us 2 days to reach a high camp that was still fairly low, and it was obvious that we weren't going to find our way through the maze of mid-season crevasses on the Tahoma Glacier and complete a climb to the summit in anything like a reasonable amount of time. We had a great trip, though -- it is a beautiful side of the mountain and everyone was having a good time.

 

While the Tahoma Glacier route is not really more technically demanding than the Emmons, there is more mountaineering involved.

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If I were taking a newbie up the S Tahoma, it would only be if they were in great shape and there were a couple other experienced climbers along who I had climbed with. Such is the case this coming spring with the thread Chuck cited.

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The people who I would take up the Tahoma Glacier are in pretty good physical condition. They have never done any mountaineering though. I really wanted to know how difficult the angle was between 10,500 and 12,000 as Beckey describes in the book and if this is "too scary" for a newbie.

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I haven't been there but the people I know who have, say that you definately want experienced climbers to be in the majority. It is a very long way in and it is a long way to travel on glaciers. If you crater in a crevasse in a storm, in the evening, what are your chances of being helped?

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The people who I would take up the Tahoma Glacier are in pretty good physical condition. They have never done any mountaineering though. I really wanted to know how difficult the angle was between 10,500 and 12,000 as Beckey describes in the book and if this is "too scary" for a newbie.

 

I have no experience on the Tahoma whatsoever, but sometimes even low angles can be quite scary for newbies, esp. when climbing in the dark. I've seen the emmons freak people out that aren't climbers.

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I have only hiked/biked in to the St. Andrews Park region, but from that distance the Tahoma appears somewhat more intimidating than, say, the Emmons. Looks a bit steeper, in some areas below the Sickle enough to carry icefall risk. But I imagine the overall length of the trip, plus the remoteness, would be a bigger intimidation factor to a newbie unfamiliar with Rainier.

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I've not done the "standard" version of this route (i.e. directly up the glacier), but have been up and down the Sickle via Lower and Upper St. Andrews Rocks, and have used the Sickle as a descent route after doing other routes. I've also failed once on the standard route due to endless time needed to negotiate crevasses in late July down around 9500'.

 

The St. Andrews variation isn't bad, and avoids the crevasse fields of the middle Tahoma, but might be a bit steep and exposed in places for a newbie. The Sickle itself is a great crevasse-free way up and down the upper part of the glacier, but I wouldn't want to be roped to someone who wasn't really solid. It's steep and smooth and you don't want to have a fall on it. The center and right sides of the upper Tahoma are definitely steeper than the other dog routes, but didn't look to me to be too extreme for a fit newbie.

 

I agree with other comments above that seem to be warning you off of this route with this one partner. Back in ancient times before the West Side Road closed, this route got much more traffic than it does now, and you'd have a better chance of having other parties in the area. It's really much more remote now, and the middle glacier often gets quite broken fairly early in the season. Lots of crevasses and lots of time needed for routefinding. I personally wouldn't want to be in there in any party if I were the only one with glacier experience. Add 1 or 2 more experienced members, hit it before about mid-July most years, give yourself the extra time this route takes, and I think it's a good moderately easy route and would be no problem having a newbies along. And it's also a great side of the mountain to be on and worth the longer approach. So much solitude compared to the trade routes, and the lights of the I-5 corridor are really a pretty cool show from west side high camps.

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I've been on the Tahoma glacier, the main part, several times. That slope between 10,500 and 13,500 is about 40 degrees. Easy travelling, but coming down is not for newbies, if they have never done that kind of slope. It's the coming down that is the "in your face" or more like stepping off into air kind of experience. I've seen modestly experienced people be intimidated by it.

 

Oh, and The Sickle...never been there, never want to. I've climbed the Tahoma maybe 4 times...have seen BIG stuff falling in The Sickle each time I was there.

 

Take them to Baker, to Adams (Mazama), even to glacier peak (sitkum).

wave.gif

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What time of year and what time of day did you see BIG stuff falling in the Sickle?

Thanks for the info!

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I would not recommend the Sickle based on my one experience with it. I descended that way after climbing the Mowich Face about ten years ago, in late July, and it seemed to have hundreds of seracs poised above it. Moreover, there were a couple of borderline technical bits to it, so it was not a particularly fast way down either. There was some very steep terrain involved in downclimbing over St. Andrews rocks, as well, and on balance we wished we had simply descended back down the Mowich as my partner had suggested when we were standing on Liberty Crest and I said "hey - the book says the Sickle is a good way to go -- let's try it."

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The people who I would take up the Tahoma Glacier are in pretty good physical condition. They have never done any mountaineering though. I really wanted to know how difficult the angle was between 10,500 and 12,000 as Beckey describes in the book and if this is "too scary" for a newbie.

 

I wouldn't bring somebody without mountaineering experience up the Tahoma. There's enough steepish terrain and objective hazard (requiring reasonably fast movement) that I think it would be a bad idea. The approach is probably the longest on Rainier, since you start so low. Here's a thread from another bulletin board with a trip report I wrote last summer after skiing the route. There are some pictures near the bottom.

 

http://www.telemarktalk.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=9527&highlight=&sid=9b50a8cb4b8aa97caf311efd2848cf7a

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Hello Tahoma Glacier!

Fabulous wilderness experience for newbie. You most likely will not see another party on that route, except for your own. Avoid the steep downclimb, and carryover to Muir via DC OR cadaver gap, depending on conditions.

Thank you for allow me to post.

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Regarding stuff falling down in the Sickle .... I've been on the Tahoma mostly in mid June (+/-), once on July 4. Have seen stuff falling usually early to mid morning, having left camp at around 10,000' at first light, when I was ascending the glacier across from the Sickle. Don't recall if I ever saw stuff in the afternoon on descent, or if I was even paying attention to that then.

wave.gif

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