Tiger Traverse

New Years Eve can only mean one thing, a trip to Tiger Mountain. I've only missed one year since 1983. Okay, so I don't have much imagination. A tradition is a tradition. This year Gary and John joined me for a one way trip from the Chirico trailhead to High Point East. Three summits and Poo Poo to make sure the trip would not be pointless. I went out early and scraped ice off my car. It was 25 degrees in Seattle. I went back out to leave at 8:00 am and in 30 minutes all the windows were iced up again. Not off to a good stop. I was 12 minutes late arriving at High Point and no car was in sight. I headed to the main trailhead and passed Gary and John driving back out. We left my car and headed into Issaquah to the Chirico parking lot.

The Chirico lot is now twice as large as on my previous visit. There were half a dozen cars already there. Some clouds and mid 20s greeted us as we headed out just after 9:00 am. The day before I found dry snow and no ice on Rattlesnake Mountain. Much different conditions this day. There was only a little snow but it was packed down and very slick. I was tempted several times to stop and put on Yak Trax but my poles were enough to keep me from falling.

We met several groups coming down and they were having a hard time staying on their feet. We came out of the forest at the paraglider lower take off meadow and there was enough snow to cover the grass. Nice clear views out. A few minutes later we were at the upper take off site. Of course we had to hike up to the high point of Poo Poo Point. Mt. Baker was crystal clear to the north and the Olympic Mountains were clear too. Several groups were at the point. I expected to not see many tracks for the next few hours. We headed out towards the West Tiger RR Grade and there were tracks in the snow. The snow was only a few days old so there were folks on this trail recently.

At the junction with the High School and One View trails we found tracks in every direction. Even on snowy cold days at the end of the year there are folks on these less used trails. We headed uphill on the One View trail. Traction was much better here. Not nearly as icy. We turned right on the Tiger Mountain Trail. We hiked three sections of the TMT this day. The Poo Top Trail is steep in places but traction was okay. Poles helped a lot. Much to my surprise there were three sets of tracks on that trail. Tiger 1 was our high point at about 2950'. We had 2800' of our days gain out of the way.

The Bypass trail brought us around to the viewpoint at the Hikers Hut. I was hoping the snow and cold temperatures would leave everything coated in rime ice as on another recent New Year's Eve hike. No such luck. Not a single bit of rime on anything. On the positive side, the view was outstanding. The Olympics really stood out. Overcast skies gave way to partly sunny. It was right about noon and lunchtime when we arrived. We had a nice stay enjoying the views.

The road down was covered in footprints. It looked like an army had been up in the last few days. We climbed up to Tiger 2 and found a group on top. We went to the high point and then headed for Tiger 3. Rather than head down the narrow and likely icy current route we chose to take the old route to Tiger 2. The Seattle View trail was in surprisingly good shape. Not very brushy at all. Someone must be doing some maintenance. I minute on the TMT again and we headed down the Cable Line to Tiger 3. The expected crown was on the summit. I have 13 people in on photo so I'd guess there were about 18 folks on top.

A few minutes later we retraced our route back to the TMT. When we first reached the TMT - Cable Line junction we noticed that the TMT heading north had no tracks on it. When we returned a few minutes later there were tracks in both directions! We missed our one chance to hike on untracked snow. I did have my first time on a new section of trail. Even that one had tracks on it. We finished up with a rare trip down the Lingering Trail and out at High Point East.

Back at my car I found it was iced up of course. A third round of scraping and we were headed back to Chirico to close the loop. In more than a quarter century of year end hikes on Tiger I have had sun, rain, hail, snow, sleet, and just about everything else. Sunny and sub freezing was not bad at all. This has been a tough year personally but a pretty good year for hiking. More than 800 miles and 200,000' of gain is plenty good.  We had a nice hike to end the year and I hope for a better year to come in 2011.

Chirico Lot
Gary & Icy Trail
Mt. Rainier
Lower Take Off Spot
Snowy Peaks
Lake Sammamish
Olympics Zoom
Poo Poo Point
Hikers & Squak Mt.
Mt. Baker
Posing Squirrel
TMT Junction
Gary On TMT
East Tiger Mountain
Hikers Hut
Lunch With A View
Olympics Close Up
Downtown Seattle
Poo Top Ridge
More Olympics
Tiger 1 Road
Tiger 3 Crowd
MF Snoqualmie Peaks
Snowy TMT
Winter Scene
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2010