oldest tradition is to end each
year with a hike on Tiger Mountain. Since that first time in 1983 I
missed only one year end. John was free and signed on. The UW football
team was playing in the final four at 12:00 pm. That very early hour
meant that I would try to get down by 11:30 am to catch near the start
of the game. I have passed up many games but it is very rare the local
team makes it so close to a national championship. We met at the High
Point Exit off I-90 at 7:30 am. It was cold. It also had not been light
very long. We headed up the High Point Trail. Very quickly we saw
several good patches of hair ice. The bright white color really stands
out. As we climbed it began to warm up. The start of the High Point
Trail is always the coldest spot around there. A report from the day
before showed some fresh snow at Fred's Corner, at about 1900'. We were
not sure just where it started. Slow progress on snow might keep me
from getting down by 11:30 am.
We debated a shorter 7 mile trip up Tiger 2 or a longer 8 mile trip
with 400' more elevation gain going over Tiger 1 and 2. We would have
to decide before reaching Fred's Corner. Right to Tiger 2 and left to
Tiger 1. We made good time up the High Point and then the Tiger
Mountain Trail (TMT). Tiger 1 and 2 it would be. Snow began a little
below Fred's Corner. We stopped on the West Side RR Grade to put on
micro spikes. The snow was still thin but it was getting slick and a
bit icy. With the spikes we had zero problems the rest of the way on
We intersected the Preston Trail and now headed more directly uphill.
The fresh snow highlighted all the trees but was not as thick and heavy
on branches as on a trip a week earlier. No heavy snowy branches to
push aside. By the time we hit the junction just below the ridge the
trail was in a defined trench. Enough folks had been through to pack it
down. We saw several groups of hikers/runners on the next stretch to
the top of Tiger 1. As always, we took the short side trail up to the
summit. Still not much wind at all. Next, we dropped down to
the Bypass Trail for the long .10 miles to the Hiker's Hut viewpoint.
The way trees are are enclosing Tiger 2 and 3 this is one of the
viewpoints on Tiger. I had hoped that the snow and cold temperatures
might have the trees and the hut encased in rime ice. It was not to be.
New Years Eve hike is still the
best rime display I have seen on Tiger.
The sky was white with high clouds but we had pretty good views all
around. The trees in all directions were flocked. Snow depth was only a
foot or so. The bench was just above the snow level. With a finishing
time to reach we did not stay long on top. Just enough time for some
photos and a panorama video. Soon we were heading down. Down to the low
point between Tiger 1 and 2 then uphill once again. This was the last
climb of the day. Snow conditions were great and we pounded out another
250' of gain. We met another group near the top of Tiger 2. We still
had 3.5 miles to go but it was all downhill. And down we went.
The snow flocked trees and bushes required some more stops for photos.
The last few years we had almost no snow days on Tiger. At least not
much. I twas nice to see snow near the cities once again. The trip down
was fast and easy. Down to the TMT then on it all the way to the
Lingering Trail. We took off spikes Below Fred's Corner when we had
more dirt than snow/ice. The Lingering Trail is about a third of a mile
longer than the High Point Trail but we were a bit ahead of schedule
and decided to take it. Longer but nicer than the High Point Trail. We
were back at the car just before 11:25 am. With light traffic I made it
home right at kickoff time. For future reference to this report, the
Huskies did not fare well against Alabama.
For the 33rd time in 34 years I hiked on Tiger Mountain on New Year's
Eve. Come rain, or snow, or a bit of a cold I have almost never missed
ending the year hiking on Tiger. It's a fun tradition to keep up. For
the year I came in at 818 miles and 212,800' of elevation gain. One
strange fact is that for the first time ever, December was the month
with the most elevation gain. More than any summer month with long
hours of daylight and warm temperature. That is one feature of this
hiking year that will likely not be repeated.
John On Snowy Trail
John Entering Forest
View To Southwest
Poo Top Ridge
Tiger 2 Tower
T2 Summit Sign
Little View Left
John On Lingering Trail
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