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Ascent of Copper Mountain on 2018-10-24

Climber: Robert Jenner

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, October 24, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Copper Mountain
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:6280 ft / 1914 m

Ascent Trip Report

Started this hike from the end of Westside Rd in Mount Rainier National Park. I walked on the road for 1.5 miles, then picked up the Tahoma Creek trail and followed it to the junction of the Wonderland trail. I hiked south on the Wonderland, crossed the suspension bridge, and continued to an intersection with the spur trail to Mirror Lakes. I then followed the Mirror Lakes trail up about a quarter mile, at which point I left the trail and headed uphill trying to stay in open terrain. The western flank of Copper Mountain has lots of open strips between bands of conifers. Very little bushwhacking needed on the route I took. The easiest approach to the summit of Copper Mountain is from slightly north of true west. A fringe of trees skirts the summit but the top itself is open and very inviting.

After a break for lunch and photos at the summit of Copper Mountain, I headed down the way I came, staying high and following open terrain towards the saddle between Copper and Iron Mountain. From the saddle, the summit approach to Iron Mountain looked tricky. The appearance of the steep and jagged ridge leading to the summit was daunting. Instead I made a rising traverse through open areas on the west side of the peak, then cut uphill when I was adjacent to the summit. This involved a laborious climb up a steep slope filled with dense low trees and rock outcroppings, but no real exposure. Eventually I attained the summit and was pleased to find a broad meadow with fantastic views. Not wanting to downclimb my ascent route, I scouted the southern flank of Iron Mountain and was happy to spot open strips through the forest all the way to the Wonderland trail. My descent included some bushwhacking on steep slopes, but it was much easier than the route I took to summit.

A word about the Tahoma Creek trail. A vast majority of the trail is downright decent. The washouts are attested to in many trip reports and trying to discern the most efficient way through these may cause confusion. I counted at lease three locations where the trail made an up-and-over reroute or became faint and ambiguous. The alternative is stream crossing and boulder hopping. Having tried both, my suggestion would be to stick to the trail. The up-and-over sections are short, and in no time you'll be on your way making good time, both coming and going.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Copper Mountain as viewed from saddle near Iron Mountain (2018-10-24). Photo by Robert Jenner.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3843 ft / 1171 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3843 ft / 1171 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.4 mi / 20 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cloudy, mild temps, sun breaks in afternoon
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3843 ft / 1171 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Route:Tahoma Creek trail to Indian Henry’s
    Start Trailhead:Westside Road, MRNP  2437 ft / 742 m
    Time:5 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3843 ft / 1171 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10.1 km
    Route:Tahoma Creek trail, Wonderland trail
    End Trailhead:Westside Road, MRNP  2437 ft / 742 m
    Time:4 Hours 
Ascent Part of Trip: Copper & Iron Mountain

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Copper Mountain2018-10-243843 ft / 1171 m
2Iron Mountain2018-10-24 
Total Trip Gain: 3843 ft / 1171 m    Total Trip Loss: 3843 ft / 1171 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Robert Jenner
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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