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[TR] MT Rainier NP - Tatoosh Traverse 8/22/2009

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Trip: MT Rainier NP - Tatoosh Traverse


Date: 8/22/2009


Trip Report:

Initially the plan was to do all the peaks between Unicorn and Eagle. We cut things short after Denman though due to my feet getting pretty beat up.


Leaving the trailhead at about 6:30am, it was not clear which weather forecaster was going to be right. Some said full sun. Some said a marine layer sitting at about 5-6000'. We ascended up past Snow Lake towards the clouds that shrouded Unicorn and by 7:30 things already were starting to break up. Then in one magnificent reveal the clouds rolled away leaving Rainier dominating the skyline.


We ascending the horribly shitty scree gully to the col SW of Unicorn, skirting the remains of the snowfield that was bullet hard; scrambling up loose ledges put us on the heather slopes and the trail to the summit.


We picked our way back down, and across to the ridge leading up to Foss Peak passing some amazing wildflowers and surrounded by fantastic views.




Then it was on to tag the summit of Castle which was an easy low fifth, make it harder if you want on reasonable rock, climb. The descent slings are in good shape with a pair of rap rings. Again, stellar views abounded.




It is a bit tricky to find the route over the ridge between the Castle and Pinnacle. It is not necessarily intuitive, but there are a series of cairns that lead to an improbable descent down loose ledges and on to the slopes on the south flank of Pinnacle. We were on the summit of Pinnacle by 11am once again enjoying the views of Rainier and the route to come.


We descended down to the pass and tagged the easy summit of Plummer before returning to the small pond on its north slope. It was noon at this point and the wear and tear on my feet was getting worse. Having done essentially no climbing in the past year due to recovering from shoulder surgery didn't leave my toes well prepared to take the bashing of cross country travel in boots. So we tagged Denman and returned to the pool and lounged for about an hour watching the hordes of people ascend the trail to the base of Pinnacle.



Around 1PM we gave up on finishing the traverse in favor of saving the extra wear and tear on my toes; the trip back down to road was uneventful except the steady stream of people we passed. Except the section around Pinnacle, we were essentially alone the whole time and the trip had a nice "wilderness" feel. That is if you look south. It's bizarre how the sound of Harleys really carries up the valley. That and the Paradise parking lot. So okay, if you close your eyes, and plug your ears, it feels like a wilderness experience.


Great route,though. I highly recommend it and can't wait to do the western half.


Gear Notes:

30m Rope

Small selection of nuts, #1-#2 Link Cams



Approach Notes:

Cruiser in and out.

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