Forum Index > Trip Reports > Solstice with 4 peaks and a lookout, Tolmie Peak that is!
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 5063 | TRs
Location: Headed west soon
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostWed Dec 22, 2010 11:13 am 
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For the shortest day of the year I connected with Adam and Maria and we headed down to MRNP for the day. Just past the park entrance to Mowich there is a slight pullout on the right. The unmarked TH is accross the road from the "Backcountry camping permit required" sign. The trail would be the "Boundary Trail". It goes from the Mowich entrance to the Carbon River Ranger station.
The trail is very easy to follow and has one short jaunt out of the park and into a clearcut where a very odd rock is visible.

Strange rock formation
Strange rock formation

Back into the park we followed the trail through increasingly deepening snow up to the ridge. Once on the ridge we headed west leaving the trail as is continues north. Bobbing and weaving through a few trees we soon found ourselves on the viewless summit of Virginia Peak (4880').

Awesome day
Awesome day

We did eventually get a view of the mountain in all of her snow covered glory.

Mt Rainier
Mt Rainier

Traversing the ridge some more we passed over the lame summit of Berry Peak (5120'). For the most part the ridge is rather simple. A little bit of gain and a bit of loss. There were however a few tricky spots to navigate around that took some careful foot placements. A mis-step would have meant a fall off the rather steep sides of the ridge and a bit of "Plinko" between the trees as the body would make it's way down and finally stop.
When the trees finally open up, one finds themselves just to the southwest of Eunice Lake and rather deep tree wells.

Beauty
Beauty

Up to this point the snow consistancy had been rather eradic. One step the snow is rather fluffy and dry, the next it's dense and wind blown. Randomly the snow would have a layer of crust which made traversing a few spots along the ridge rather tricky.
With the lookout looming overhead and some nice patches of blue we headed to the west ridge and headed up.

Tolmie Peak Lookout
Tolmie Peak Lookout
Maria coming up
Maria coming up
Getting closer
Getting closer

Adam and I opted to head further east to the true summit of Tolmie Peak which sites at 5920'.

Summit ridge
Summit ridge
Cornice
Cornice
Lookout
Lookout
Tolmie Peak summit shot
Tolmie Peak summit shot
Mountain view
Mountain view

The mountain was hiding behind increasing clouds but low level views were splendid! I have never seen this side of the mountain in the winter and I was in heaven. I must say that with a blanket of snow different areas were harder to identify. It's amazing how much the snow can take away the depth perception. We stayed on the summit for a few minutes before heading back to rejoin Maria at the lookout.

Tracks far below
Tracks far below

I spent about 10 more gloriuos minutes of my life soaking in the views and the beauty that the mountain has to offer.

Small cornices and view
Small cornices and view

Heading out we made really good time getting back down into the Eunice Lake basin and back onto the ridge.

Adam and Maria catching up
Adam and Maria catching up

We soon re-summited Berry and Virginia Peaks and were brought back to the ridge. At this point Maria opted to return down the trail to the car while Adam and I (already heading up to Martin Peak) went to attain one last summit.
Up to this point the going had been rather...simple. Heading up to Martin Peak (4880'+) was just plain agonizing. The snow was really deep and there were tons of really large fallen trees to climb over. This part was only 300' gain, but it sure felt like a lot more than that. Finally after a few falls and a now very sore knee, we reached the summit and were offered views to the north of...clearcuts.
We spent about 5 minutes before heading back down along the ridge to rejoin the trail back down to the car. Once again we packed our snowshoes only to leave them on our packs the whole trip. At least this time both of mine stayed on my pack.
Tolmie Peak had not originally been a part of the plan, but as we made good time along the ridge we thought it would be possible. We strongly believe that we couldn't ahve hit the snow conditions any better for this trip. With deep fluffy snow the lookout may not have been and option or even possible.

Tolmie Route
Tolmie Route



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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1139 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostWed Dec 22, 2010 11:57 am 
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Always a pleasure Bryan!  Nice job presenting it here.

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Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Fletcher
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Joined: 29 Jul 2009
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Fletcher
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PostWed Dec 22, 2010 1:32 pm 
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Bummed that I didnt make it out with you guys. Ill be all geared up after Christmas and ready!
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veronica
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Joined: 25 Apr 2010
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veronica
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PostWed Dec 22, 2010 1:44 pm 
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up.gif  up.gif  up.gif

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Take risks not to escape life, but to prevent life from escaping.

"Stalking" is such a strong word. I prefer "Intense research of an individual".
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Maria
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Maria
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PostWed Dec 22, 2010 2:32 pm 
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Thanks for the TR.  I had a great time  smile.gif
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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1139 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostWed Dec 22, 2010 2:41 pm 
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Awesome shot with those cornices!  Bryan got pretty close to one of those.  eek.gif

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http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 5063 | TRs
Location: Headed west soon
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostWed Dec 22, 2010 4:25 pm 
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I wasn't that close to the cornice rolleyes.gif

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silence
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silence
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PostWed Dec 22, 2010 4:50 pm 
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well now .. this is something i've always wanted to do .. way to go ..

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PHOTOS: https://www.flickr.com/photos/33792231@N00/sets
FILMMAKING: http://www.crestpictures.com/

Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. Bob Dylan
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raising3hikers
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Joined: 21 Sep 2007
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raising3hikers
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PostWed Dec 22, 2010 8:09 pm 
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Cool trip guys, Nice to know you can drive to that pullout after the park entrance.

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Eric Eames
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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades



Joined: 25 Feb 2010
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beaudaddy
Coast To Cascades
PostWed Dec 22, 2010 9:29 pm 
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Awesome Guys...

Bryan... your summit elevation guesses in the videos will never get old... they always make me smile!!!  smile.gif

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https://instagram.com/beau.ramsey/
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome



Joined: 26 Jul 2006
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Location: Inexorable descent
Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostWed Dec 22, 2010 11:17 pm 
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Great video Bryan, maybe your best.  up.gif  up.gif  Beau is right about the summit names and elevations!  That hill sure looked wind blasted with no snow on the lookout.
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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



Joined: 13 Feb 2007
Posts: 6099 | TRs
Location: Stuck in the middle
puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks
PostThu Dec 23, 2010 12:10 am 
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That's definitely an interesting and different route to Tolmie. Great idea!

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Mid Fork Rocks flickr
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Opus
Wannabe



Joined: 04 Mar 2006
Posts: 3542 | TRs
Location: The big rock candy mountain
Opus
Wannabe
PostThu Dec 23, 2010 9:14 am 
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Great trip and a nice route!  I'll have to try that.  I snowshoed into Mowich via the Grindstone trail several years ago and really enjoyed it.  That whole area, including Tolmie, is usually so swamped with people.  It's great to have it so quiet and remote.
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Hikingqueen
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Hikingqueen
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PostTue Dec 28, 2010 8:12 am 
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Bryan, how many hours did this take and how's the road to the gate?

Thanks!
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lookout bob
WTA proponent.....



Joined: 12 Apr 2005
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Location: wta work while in between lookouts
lookout bob
WTA proponent.....
PostTue Dec 28, 2010 11:14 am 
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up.gif  up.gif

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"Altitude is its own reward"
John Jerome ( from "On Mountains")
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Solstice with 4 peaks and a lookout, Tolmie Peak that is!
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