Tiger 1-2-3

Wednesday looked to have good weather and I was free to join Gary, John, and David for an after work headlamp hike. Now that John has retired, we aim for a 2:00 pm start. I was out of the house at 1:25 pm and arrived on time. Our loop would be clockwise, so we started on the High Point Trail. It was 49 degrees at Eastgate but only 43 at the start. It dropped more as we descended to Issaquah Creek. We seldom so hikers on the High Point Trail but see saw several groups heading down in the first mile. We had steady rain the past week and the tops of Tiger 2 and 3 showed little snow in recent trip reports. We traded out microspikes for lighter Yaktrax and did not expect to use them. When we met the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT) we went left.

The trail goes up to Ruth's Cove and then up the newer section to the West Tiger RR Grade. Here we turned left and followed the route over to the Preston Trail.  The trail now goes right up the fall line towards Tiger 1. Part way up we encountered hard packed icy snow. It was perfect for microspikes. We struggled on with just boots. We stopped at the junction with the Bootleg Trail right below the lower Tiger 1 towers. The icy snow was only getting thicker. Gary, John, and I put on Yaktrax. David put on microspikes. We instantly had good traction. Of course, the Bootleg Trail quickly turned to bare dirt. We left the trail and headed for the lower towers. We passed the towers and reached the road up to the top of Tiger 1.

The road had lots of icy snow and bare gravel where there were tire tracks. As we climbed, the snow thinned. The last part to the summit was partly on gravel. Not the best thing for Yaktrax but we did not break them. We took a quick food and water break at the towers. The sky was mostly clear and views were good. Glacier Peak had lots of fresh snow and the low sunshine really lit it up.  It was cloudier to the north and we could barely make out Mt. Baker. The snow thinned more as we descended to the Hikers Hut. We had good views over to Tiger 2 with Bellevue and Seattle in the distance. We took another break at the Hut and put away our traction devices. The road to Tiger 2 was mostly bare dirt. Mt. Rainier was very much in the clear to the south.

We dropped steeply to the low point between Tigers 1 and 2 then began the climb up to Tiger 2. I put on a jacket atop Tiger 1 and kept it on the rest of the hike. It was sunny but quite cold. My fingers grew very cold while taking photos without a glove. We stopped at the top of Tiger 2 for more photos. Mt. Si and Mt. Teneriffe had fresh now on top and were clearly visible. We had one more drop and climb to the top of Tiger 3. This went pretty quickly. Once down from the top of Tiger 1 we did not walk on anymore snow or ice. We reached the summit of Tiger 3 at 4:52 pm. We had 20 minutes until sunset. When we started after work hikes 13 years ago, we were all working. Now I was the only one left. We started then at 4:30 pm and in December and early January most of the hikes were in the dark. We changed to 3:20 pm a couple years ago. Then we usually make it to or near the summit before dark. Now we can get up and part way down without headlamps.

The hike down was uneventful. There was no snow. We saw almost nobody. About half way down we stopped to put on headlamps. Soon after it was completely dark. We reached the High Point parking lot and took the Connector Trail out to the gate and parking for the Cable Line Trail. There were only about 5 or 6 cars this night. Soon we were back at our cars. It was 6:29 pm at the finish.

This was a very nice hike. We had great views up high. Most of the higher elevation hiking was on bare dirt. The snow on the north and east side of Tiger 1 was a surprise. We should have put on Yaktrax earlier to eliminate slipping. The lack of wind was a real plus. It was cold up high but not frigid in high winds. A mid week hike is a great way to break up the work week.

Below Tiger 1 Towers
Glacier Peak
Nearing Tiger 1 Summit
Mt. Rainier
Tiger 2 & Seattle
East Tiger Mountain
John Near Summit
Tiger 2 & Bellevue
Dropping To Hikers Hut
Road To Tiger 2
Mt. Rainier Again
Shadow Hikers
Mt. Si
Tiger 1 From Tiger 2
Almost Dark
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2023