2012-01-28 47 -121

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Sat 28 Jan 2012 in 47,-121:
47.5144893, -121.9874734

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Just off the ridge extending north from West Tiger Mountain #3.



Update 10:42pm Pacific 01-27 (0642 UTC 01-28) -- WTA says blowdown damage from last week's ice/wind was real bad in this area. This may not work. I will still try, though.

I'm going to be nearby that day doing trail work on Taylor Mountain, so if I have daylight and stamina afterwards I'll swing by the Tiger Mt. trailhead (the one marked "High Point Trailhead" on the green trails map) and try to bag this one (roughly 4-5pm ETA at the hash.) Would be my first hash in a year and a half if it happens.


Alas, as it turned out time was too short / the snow line was too low.

After an excellent morning/afternoon digging ditches with WTA on lower Taylor Mountain, I didn't park at the trailhead (elev. ~150m) and start walking up until 3:40pm. But there was still hope at that point, because the trail conditions were actually incredibly good - evidently there was no big ice-assisted blowdown here. Maybe because it's on the north side of the mountain, and those winds had been from the south if I remember.

In any case, I made decent time up and might have reached the area of the hash (elev. ~680m) at 5pm, just in time for a dusk descent, but for the slick slush/ice/partially melted snow which covered the trail starting around 500m. See photos. At a painstakingly slow pace, I climbed through this to ~550m, which was actually within 500m of the hash as the crow flies, according to the GPS. But at this point it was past 4:50pm, getting dark and still very icy, with numerous steep switchbacks ahead on the trail followed by 15m of 45-degree descent off-trail, and sanity quickly emerged victorious. I turned around, walked/slid on my bottom back down to the snow line, and instantly felt much better, even though I was now racing nightfall back down the trail to the car. (I had a headlamp but it was not great.)

The best thing that happened on the descent was that I quickly concluded I was the only person left on the trail, and started belting out an extremely cheesy rendition of American Pie by Don McLean, 1) to alert the bears and 2) because, yknow, why not, given this conclusion of mine. But just two verses in I saw more headlamps in the distance below. Pity. Their superior lights did help me find the parking lot hiding in the warren of trails at the bottom, though, so they're forgiven.

I capped off my eastside day by hearing a friend's most excellent British-style brass band.