Tiger Mountain Year End Hike

Nearly every year ends for we with a hike somewhere on Tiger Mountain. This year Suzanne joined my for a one way trip. I had hiked up Tiger 1 two days earlier. Snow began at about 1550' and was not too deep in the forest. When I popped out at the Hikers Hut I was amazed by the rime ice. Everything was plastered in white ice. It was the most amazing experience I have had on Tiger Mountain. Since it was supposed to rain and snow hard (It did neither), and since it was "just Tiger Mountain", I did not bring a camera along. Big mistake. I was determined to get back up to Tiger 1 before the snow melted.

We met at the High Point exit leaving Suzanne's car and I drove down to the Chirico Trail south of Issaquah. It was nearly 8:30 but there was only one car in the lot. We bundled up since it was in the mid 30s and headed up. Part way up we met the early hiker coming down. As we reached the upper landing area at Poo Poo Point a single hiker caught up with us. That was it for seeing hikers until we reached the summit of Tiger 1.

The trails were in good condition as we headed up the One View Trail to the TMT then over to the Hidden Valley Trail. There was snow between the railroad grade and the TMT and we were on it until dropping back near the railroad grade on the north side. All the trails had at least one set of footprints but none were icy. The crowds on the Tiger 3 trail have apparently turned the upper section of that route into a sheet of ice. We had Yaktrax but never needed them.

The trees were laden with frozen snow. It was beautiful and it was really stuck on the trees. A gentle shake did not dislodge it. Of course, a harder shake while ducking under the low hanging branches did manage to knock snow off and down our necks. When we reached the top of Tiger 1 the gate was open and a truck was inside. The workers had driven up through some pretty deep snow. I couldn't even find the route down to the By Pass Trail at first. It was buried by wind blown snow.

We did eventually find it and dropped down then around the summit and over to the Hikers Hut. There had been a little melting since my earlier visit but the plastering rime ice still coated just about everything. Wow was that pretty! When we drove up there were clouds above Tiger but now the sky was clear and blue. There was very little wind either. Perfect conditions to enjoy the views. Suzanne brought along a small bottle of Champagne to celebrate the old and new years.

This time I had my camera and managed to take about 80 photos during our short visit. Everything was white. The chain link fence was a white wall. All the links were filled in with snow and ice. The hut was bright white. The towers were solid white. So much better looking than in mid summer. Another hiker come up the road and continued around Tiger 1. After a leisurely lunch we packed up and headed on.

As we dropped into the trees the temperature seemed to drop about 20 degrees. As we approached the top of Tiger 2 we received a shock. A cable holding up a tower outside the gated compound had it's coating of ice fall off. Another 30 seconds and we would have been right under it. All that ice would have done some serious damage to us. There were more folks coming and going around Tiger 2. We saw as many people there as on all the rest of the hike.

We had another big chunk of ice fall off of a tower as we went around them. This one was too close for comfort. It fell inside the fence but not all theat far from us. Beware of falling ice. The last 3 1/2 miles was easy walking. After dropping below the railroad grade we were back on dirt. In short order we were back at the car. A quick drive brought us back to my car. The Chirico lot was now full with more cars parked along the road. There were half a dozen paragliders out in the 40 degree weather.

This was my 24th Tiger year end hike in 25 years. It's obvious that I need to get at least a bit of a life. It was probably the most scenic of them all. As usual, it was possible to avoid the crowds with a little creative planning. Next December 31st I fully expect to be back on Tiger again.

Suzanne has posted her report and photos here:   nwhikers report

Chirico Trailhead
Poo Poo View
Icy Branches
Icy Bushes
15 Mile Gap
Christmas Cheer
Hanging Low
Tiger 1 Tower
Bypass Trail
Really Plastered
Suzanne On Tiger 1
On Ice
East Tiger
Mt. Rainier
Hut & Towers
Rimed Fence
Rime Close Up
Trail Sign
What Is It?
Bright & White
Suzanne & Hut
Another Face
Heading Down
Tiger 2
Looking Back
Falling Ice
Tiger 2 Tower
Click on thumbnails to get larger picture

Trips - 2007