Suzanne convinced Bernadette and I to take a day off
work and get out into the mountains. We met at 8:00 and after a detour and
misadventure heading back west rather than east, we arrived at the Lake Lillian
trailhead at a little before 10:00. The road was snow free to the parking
lot. Although it was a sunny day we were the only car in the lot. The route
begins by hiking up the road. It remained snow free to the point where the
trail heads off. Snow started almost immediately on the trail. The parking
lot is at about 3600' and the trail begins near 4000'. The way switchbacks
up a clear cut. Once we crossed a logging road the snow deepened. There
was much more snow on the trail than off. It was also very soft. We were
soon post holing up to our knees in spots. Thankfully the snow was not deeper.
It was so soft that we often sank all the way down to dirt. At times I could
not make out the trail but Suzanne seemed to keep us on track. Mt. Rainier
soon came into view with few clouds to mar the view.
The clear cut finally ended and we entered forest. While the trail continued
to contour I suggested going straight up to the ridge. The slope is fairly
moderate and the snow was now much firmer. We had not seen fresh foot prints
but near the ridge we found old snowmobile tracks. Once on the ridge top
I put on my snowshoes. None of us had been to the summit of Mt. Margaret.
The ridge looked gentle enough on the map so we stayed near it. We were able
to weave through the trees and climb up towards the false summit. Suzanne
and B soon put on their snowshoes as well.
Clouds were now moving in and the wind began to blow. We reached the false
summit where there was a small cairn. Continuing along the ridge the route
dropped to a saddle then began the final climb to Mt. Margaret. The snow
was a little soft but we had no trouble ascending. The summit at 5436' has
surprisingly good views. Mt. Stuart and points east were under clear blue
skies. To the west the sky was clear as well. The only clouds seemed to be
along the crest. Still it was pleasantly warm with shorts and a light jacket
on top. We had a very clear view of the large waterfall below Lake Laura.
Laura, Lillian, Twin, Margaret, and a few other lakes were all still frozen.
One lake down the valley from Margaret Lake, possibly Swan, was open.
The view of Hibox Mt. was excellent. Peaks as diverse as McClellan Butte,
Granite, Chikamin, Stuart, The Cradle, and Silver Peak were all clearly visible.
After lunch we snowshoed back down. The descent was much quicker. Back on
the lower ridge we stumbled into the trail marker at the intersection of
the trails to Twin Lakes and Margaret Lake. Bernadette came down with just
boots but Suzanne and I managed to keep snowshoes on all the way back to
the logging road which slices through the clear cut. We arrived back at the
car to find no other vehicles present.
This is a good time of year for this hike. From the summer parking lot
to the summit and back was only about 5 miles with 2300' gained. It was nice
to get in a first time snow scramble without a long drive. Thanks to the
clear cut there are views early on. At the ridge and the summit they get
much better. It turned out to be a nice trip with good company as well.
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.
On The Summit
Jim On Summit
Photo Page 2
Trips - 2005