Trip: Tatoosh Range - Tatoosh Traverse
This past Saturday, July 20 my friend Jeff and I finally completed our three week long objective to traverse the Tattoosh Range in a single-push effort. Prior to July 20 we had attempted this feat both previous weekends but fell short due to low visibility/ navigational problems (July 6), and the following weekend (July 13) was cut short by routefinding (damn goat trails!) and the extra time required for a three person party. Neither time did we make it past Lane Peak. Nevertheless, by our last attempt we were confident in our intended route and determined to finish, because who really wants to spend their entire summer on just one minor range in the great Cascades.
From our previous experience we had our schedule planned out fairly accurately which we even allowed a couple extra hours for those ‘do we follow this goat track or that one?’ moments, which thankfully we accounted for because it happened several times throughout the day. We left Puyallup Friday about 9pm, picked up some food along the way, and rolled into Longmire about 12. We awoke at a semi-alpine start of 4am, caffeinated and fueled up and were on the Snow Creek trail by 5:15. Our first scheduled checkpoint was to be at Castle peak by 9:30am where Jeff’s dad would meet us and direct us up Lane and give beta to the rest of the traverse. We shouldered our packs just to the base of the snowfield up Unicorn where we dropped our heavy, beer- laden packs (we each brought a sixer, reasoning it would keep us hydrated and motivated to enjoy a frothy beverage every other peak we bagged) and tagged Unicorn, Boundary, and the sub-summit Mt. Gesswick by 8:30.
Tatoosh Range from Boundary Peak
Next was the spectacular ridge traverse to Foss and continued on to Castle (9:45am) where we met Jeff’s dad and enjoyed the scramble to the top and a refreshing brew. We opted to traverse the north facing snow slope over to Pinnacle which proved to be a little more stable and possibly less time consuming than the tedious talus fields. Pinnacle, Plummer, and Denman were topped out without any hassle and in good time. We descended to Lane, received our final beta from Jeff’s dad where he turned around and headed back to his car and assured he’d be waiting at Longmire.
Base of Castle. Cheers!!
On top of Pinnacle. Myself, Fred (Jeff's dad), Jeff
Re-hydrating just below Plummer
Jeff demonstrating that hydration is crucial, and enjoyable.
Top of Denman
By 3:30pm we were making the long traverse to Wahpenayo. The sun was hot, the flies and mosquitoes were attacking us, but we were stoked to be making new progress from our previous attempts. At the top of Wahpenayo we could see the Eagle peak trail and devised our plan of attack for the last two peaks. With end in sight and knowing the worst was behind us we began the last leg of our long standing goal. Unfortunately the trail descending Wahpenayo to Chutla fizzled and we ended up bush whacking our way up to the Eagle peak trail which expended a lot of energy and diminished our hope of finishing the traverse in what we thought was ‘pretty good’ time. From the saddle, we(slowly) knocked off Chutla and crawled our way up Eagle, the last and final peak. Although we didn’t imagine the last two peaks to turn into such a fight we were renewed with the motivation that sandals and a cold watermelon were waiting for us at the end of the 3.6 mile hike to Longmire. On the hike back we sipped our final beers, bitched about our boots, talked about our next potential objectives, and amazed over the opportunity we had to experience such an enriching outing. We finally stumbled into Longmire at 8:30pm, about 15 hours from the time we left our car earlier that morning.
Chutla. One more to go.
The watermelon and sandals we dreamed about delivered all that we hoped for and we hurried down to Bruno’s to enjoy a well deserved dinner. Although, we didn’t do it as fast or as light as we believe we could have, we both agreed that it was one of the best trips we’ve had in awhile, and definitely would recommend it to anybody who favors short scrambles, less travelled trails, and spectacular vistas in an iconic setting.
We brought a 30m rope to rappel but not necessary if you dont have a problem down climbing easy 5th class
Snow Creek Trail