Tiger 2-3 Snow

I had only gone hiking one time before on Christmas Day. This would be my second. I knew that it had been snowing below the summit of Tiger 3 but I did not know how much lower. Since it was raining when I left home I hoped the snow level was as low as possible. It rained as I drove through Seattle, and Mercer Island, and on to Eastgate. Then it stopped. My Discover Pass ran out three days earlier and I renewed my auto license by mail. Since it had not arrived yet I chose to park outside the gate at the High Point exit. With my heavier winter boots and winter day pack I started up the trail to the main parking lot. There were several logs that had recently fallen across the trail. All had been cut out. While there had only been 7 or 8 cars by the gate there were at least a dozen in the main lot. Definitely a lot less than on a day that was not Christmas.

I continued onto the Tradition Lake Trail to West Tiger 3. A group right ahead of me turned onto the Bus Trail. Two less heading for the summit. The first long switchback to the left was snow free. The next one to the right was also snow free. Passing the Talus Rocks Trail I switched back to the left and soon saw a few patches of snow off the trail. The next switchback is where the old trail reached the Cable Line and went up it a short way. Now the trail switches back to the right. Just after this the snow began. On the side at first then on the trail. It was pretty fresh with just recent footprints. Good traction. I passed two or three groups heading down already. Soon snow covered the trail. There was a snowman right along the trail.

After the next switchback the snow was a bit deeper. I crossed the railroad grade and continued up. The forest is less dense and the snow was a few inches deep. Still not enough to slow me down much. The trees and brush were now completely flocked with fresh snow. Well worth stopping to catch a few photos. As I neared the summit it began to snow. Nice big flakes. I reached the top to find no views at all. Even nearby Tiger 2 was lost in the clouds. When the next group arrived I headed on towards Tiger 2. I was surprised to find one hiker coming down earlier with snowshoes on. Once I left Tiger 3 I was glad someone had packed down a trench. It was less deep in the forest between the peaks. At the TMT junction I saw some footprints going both ways.

When I came out of the forest at the top of Tiger 2 the snow depth grew significantly. From a foot or so to nearly two feet. I had to get off the track near the top to avoid heavily laden branches hanging down. The snow was more than knee deep on my long legs. There was a single set of tracks heading down the road towards Tiger 1. Way too much work to slog any farther. The trek back to Tiger 3 went quickly. I did stop at the viewpoint but the snow was knee deep and the view was non existent.  At the top of Tiger 3 I met one hiker and then several more groups. The largest crowd I saw all day was at the summit. I carried microspikes and considered putting them on for the first part going down. It was much slicker than on the way up but not really icy. I slipped a bit but continued down with just boots. I periodically passed a few more groups heading up. All in all, not really all that many folks on such a busy trail.

Once I was off the snow the going went much faster. Amazingly, the snow fall stopped when I neared the rain level. I never did get rained on. It did rain for part of the drive home. The conditions were excellent. The last few years we had virtually no snow at lower elevations. Snow on Tiger is not all that rare. Just rare for the last few years. It was fun to have a snowy hike but an easy drive. I was home plenty early to meet friends for Christmas dinner. If the snow hangs around I will soon be out on snowshoes and/or cross country skis. It can be nice to have winter.

Bare Ground
Snow Starts
Not Icy
Snowy Brush
Flocked Trees
Tiger 3 Summit
Where's Tiger 2?
Winter Wonderland
Tiger 2 Summit
Frosted Tower
Snow Covered Road
Falling Snow
Snow Trench
Cable Line Trail
Open Forest
Looking Up
TMT Junction
What View?
Knee Deep
Very Nice
Hiker In The Mist
Back Below The Snow
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2015