Ascent to Tatoosh Peak-WNW of peak on 2012-07-19

Climber: Eric Noel

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Thursday, July 19, 2012
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Tatoosh Peak - WNW of peak
    Elevation:5700 ft / 1737 m
    Remaining Elevation:610 ft / 186 m (17% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

This looks like a nice trip. Road has some potholes but is passable to a car. Take 5270 to the marked TH. The trail switchbacks up through some forest at a good grade. After the switchbacks end it starts to traverse and the terrain changes from forest to brushy open forest. Continue up and cross a few creeks at ~5000'. Not sure if they hold water in late season after the snow melts. At 5200' I ran into an unexpected trail junction. The trail to the right was marked abandoned. The junction should have been higher but I figured this trail was going in the direction I needed and the tread looked good. Either there was a second junction up higher or the junction was mismarked on map. I figured that I would take this one and just angle up on grass and snow if it was wrong. The trail soon started to fade but I had no problem following it. Some Saint Helens ash was present. Soon I lost the trail in snow and I ambled up over a small ridgelet where I spotted the trail again. I followed this as it crossed over the S ridge of 6050. From here it became apparent that the summit was more cliffy than I would have guessed from the map. I would have to traverse and cross over a steep creek basin area covered in snow and then continue on for quite a ways before an obvious option for heading for the summit was visible. It was also at this point that it became apparent that there were thunderstorms gathering to the S. Seeing that I was going to be past my turnaround time and with some work still ahead of me I think I probably would have turned around. The gathering thunderstorms made the decision for me. I bailed out and while there was distant lightning it was not close until later when I was back in the forest. Clearly I would have been caught up high with lightning had I continued to the summit. The descent was mostly uneventful in spite of the constant thunder and some showers. It was terribly disappointing to fail on another peak and an ostensibly easy one one at that with a trail to the top. Needed an earlier start. Not a good summer.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3070 ft / 936 m
    Extra Gain:125 ft / 38 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Route:Trail 161
    Trailhead:FS 5270  2880 ft / 877 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Drizzle, Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Sunny then Thunderstorms

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