Ascent of Rattlesnake Mountain on 2014-01-27

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, January 27, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Rattlesnake Mountain
    Elevation:3480 ft / 1060 m

Ascent Trip Report

The weather was amazing the previous day for the mountain bike assisted ascent of McDonald that Dan and I did, so I figured that I would follow it up with a quick snow-free ascent of Rattlesnake. I believe that it is unusual for there to be no snow at 3,500 ft in the Cascades in late January. I am quite pleased at this turn of events as I can snag this peak without snowshoes, wearing just my trial running shoes. I made it a point to leave work early as I had pulled duty on Saturday, which ruined my weekend to some extent. This was my make up day. The trailhead is very easy to find and I found the lot surprisingly full for a Monday. The gate is locked at 6pm in the winter, likely later in the summer, but it would not even be close to being an issue. I left the car at 1:30 pm and started heading up the mountain. The trail is wonderful. After my initial experiences on Washington P2k peaks in the winter, it was nice to avoid massive berms to prevent vehicular travel on logging roads, or worse yet, those damn fast-growing trees that will completely fill a logging road. I have joked with some of my hiking buddies that there needs to be a list of peaks with trails to the top. Sometimes, it is nice to just follow a trail and not really think much, just enjoy the forest. I encountered a lot of people on the trail, many headed down and quite a few who I blew past that were also ascending. Above the turn for the "Ledge" I saw but one solo hiker that was encountered about 1 mile below the summit. The trail is very well marked and has signs giving you distance pretty frequently. It would be impossible to get lost on this ascent short of surprise whiteout overcoming you. I had left the car at 1:30 pm on the dot and I arrived at the summit at 2:58 pm. An hour and a half - not bad. I spent less than 5 minutes on the summit. I could make out Mt Rainier from the top. The weather was much colder than I had expected, though I only wore one thin mid layer over my t-shirt for the whole hike. I also wore my thin gloves and my Hrói Höttur ball cap, but left my fleece and wool hat in my pack even on the summit as they were not needed. There is also a nice view of Mt Si that has been cut away, complete with a bench. I made my way back to the ledge before I saw another hiker. The ledge seems to be the end of the trail for 90% or more of the hikers here. The ledge has even been added to peakbagger though I estimate its prominence at maybe 40 ft, well short of real peak status - I didn't log it. There was a crowd there taking pictures and making noise. I guess if I want to enjoy a nice trail instead of a destroyed and overgrown logging road, I have to share with throngs of humanity. The rest of the hike down was uneventful and I made it to the car at 4:25, just shy of 3 hours from when I left it. I would certainly recommend this peak be done on a weekday, probably in winter or maybe shoulder season. I would not want to be anywhere near here on a weekend in the summer, though I doubt you could find a parking spot anyway. It must be mobbed! It was more crowded today than I could have ever imagined for a Monday in January even with the nicer weather! Parking was not an issue on this day.

Also, of note for the peakbagging uber-geeks out there, this peak connected my main glob of P2ks to a blob that I had on that cool map that was put together by some of the legenday peakbaggers before me. My main glob was Lookout, Anderson, Lyman, Silo, Round, & Pilchuck which needed Rattlesnake to connect it to my blob consisting of Crystal, McDonald, Amabilis, and Red. If at this point, you are thinking "awesome, but what does it all mean?" you should go to, click on "prominence" and download yourself a WA P2k map, or any other state for that matter. You just use Paint to fill in the prominence cells. It becomes addictive. My home cell finally contains my home (Lower Queen Anne, Seattle) - hooray! Now all I need is summer to arrive so I can get some good P2ks instead of these easy front country P2ks.

**GPS track note: When you look at the GPS track, you will note that it only goes one way, and that way is down. When I was about half way up the mountain, I pulled out my GPS to get an idea of how much farther and it showed that I was at 976 ft and off the side of the mountain somewhere. I knew that this was wrong as the trailhead was at 700-something ft and I had been walking for 45 minutes. Surely I had covered more than 300 ft. Naturally, I had. I was around 2,700 ft when I encountered this. My GPS had me all over the place, even on the summit. I turned it off for a minute on top and then back on. For the descent, it worked great, showing an accurate location and elevation. Damn technology... So, here you have it, a 1 way GPS track. Now, you will absolutely not need this track to get up this peak. The navigation challenge is near zero. I just run the GPS because I think the tracks are cool, and I love my stats.

9.5 mi round trip
3.6 mph moving avg
2h 38m moving time
16m stopped

Link to pictures:
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2560 ft / 780 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:2560 ft / 780 m
    Route:Rattlesnake Mtn Trail
    Trailhead:920 ft / 280 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

This page has been served 278 times since 2005-01-15.

Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page
Copyright © 1987-2015 by All Rights Reserved.