Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
Joined: 30 Jan 2007
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Tea, Earl Grey, Hot
Sun Mar 05, 2023 11:56 am
Dates: October 8-9, 2022
Destinations: Tatie Peak & Grasshopper Pass, Tamarack Peak from Harts Pass.
Party: me, Carla (Dicey)
Carla and I camped at Hart's Pass for two day trips in larch season. Fire smoke obscured any distant peaks, but the local larch color shone through all the more richly.
Day 1: Tatie Peak & Grasshopper Pass
The PCT southward from Harts Pass to Grasshopper Pass makes big sweeping curves along open ridges, with bright meadows of larches above and below. We hiked over the top of Tatie along the way. Once can also go over Syncline or Cone, or traverse out to North Tatie as I did on a previous trip in 2019.
From the trailhead above Meadows Campground, the trail began with scattered larches right from the parking lot, then curved along the east side of Cone, with an especially colorful meadow below that we nicknamed the "Color Garden."
Tatie GPS track
Tamarack GPS track
Coming around the south side of Cone, much more open country leads up to the Tatie-Cone col.
Carla coming around the corner to the first colors meadow
Me admiring the colors
We called this meadow the Color Garden
And a larger larch on the slope above
Tatie itself is an easy scramble from the eastern col by Cone, and a less-traveled but still simple scramble down the the west col by Syncline.
The PCT leading below Tatie to the Tatie-Cone col at right and Tatie-Syncline col at left.
Looking north from the col to Slate Peak (you can just barely see the lookout) and tomorrow's destination Tamarack Mtn.
Looking down the north side to a sole larch surviving amid a talus field.
If your goal is peakbagging or wider views, you can traverse over the top of Syncline as well, but with smoky skies, we decided to follow the trail below, so we could enjoy the golden basins before they fell into afternoon shadows.
Larchy path at the col, with Tatie above, and North Tatie off to the right.
Carla on Taite, with Ballard beyond.
Carla descending the west side of Tatie.
We stopped for a lunch break at Grasshopper pass.
The PCT turning left to traverse below Syncline to Grasshopper Pass.
Carla at the Tatie-Syncline col.
Me at the Tatie-Syncline col.
Nursery of little colors golden larches, crimson blueberry, green heather, and white rocks
pretty rock wrapped in colors
Extra bright blueberries catching the light slanting across a talus field
For the hike back, we stayed on the trail and traversed below Tatie. Late light and thickening smoke tinted the scene even more golden.
Looking back at Syncline from Grasshopper Pass
Looking across Slate Creek to Azurite Peak
Last light at the Tatie-Cone col, and then hiking through shadows back to the trailhead:
My shadow stretching out along the trail
Carla hikikng through shaded bands of colors
A few colors still catching the light
Round trip: 10 miles, 1870 gain
Back at Meadows campground, we enjoyed a chicken dinner at our picnic table, then watched the full moon rise orange from the smoke.
Carla back at the Tatie-Cone col. A boot path runs up Cone from here.
Orange smoke haze on Tower, Golden Horn, and Holliway
The color garden still looking good, even in shadow
Day 2: Tamarack Peak from Harts Pass
For our second day, we hiked the PCT north and did a loop over Tamarack Peak.
Overnight air had pushed back the smoke, so we began with clearer views of distant peaks that had been hidden yesterday, and bright sunlight on the nearby larches. What had been featureless shapes, now showed details of ribs and valleys and peaks and colors.
=Tamarack GPS track
Full moon riven by a tree branch
The trail traversed along steep shady hillsides or darker firs, then opened out into meadowy basins of sunlight and colors.
Larches right from the trailhead
Carla heading north, with Slate Peak above
Looking west to Crater & Jack
Looking back toward the area we hiked yesterday
We went up Tamarack's east ridge and down the south ridge so we could angle through the especially colorful southeast bowl.
A single small larch catching light amid the shadows, and a bigger one against the dark firs behind.
Sunlight shining through the colors beyond Buffalo Pass
Hiking onward through the larches.
Our descent simply aimed to walk through the most colorful meadows we could find.
Tamarack Peak with the Barron Yurt down below. We went up the right ridge, down the left, and curved through the meadows between
Carla ascending the east ridge
Looking east to Pasayten & Bucksin, where we had done a loop to Tamarck previously
Looking down the steeper north side, from which I had ascended on the previous trip
Carla nearing the summit
Raphael's dragon Cinder on the summit
On our return, I made one extra leg downhill, so I could walk through the headwater bowl of Benson Creek and up through groves of baby larches making a foothold on the talus.
The bowl of colors where we descended.
Such a privilege to wander through such beautiful places.
Me descending the Color Bowl.
Carla descending the Color Bowl.
Back where we had left the trail, which has a fire closure right at the next corner.
Round trip: 9.9 miles, 2450 gain
Driving back west, the smoke became much thicker, casting an eerie orange twilight across Diablo Lake.
I dropped down through this bowl and back up to the trail traversing higher on the far side.
Bright meadows near the creek bed, which even had a welcome refill of water.
Hiking back up through the baby larches.
Footnotes, some previous hiking on these peaks:
9/24-27/2016, Carla and I did an 8-peak loop up Pasayten Ridge and down the PCT.
10/11/2019, I previously did an overnight loop over Tatie, North Tatie, Syncline, and Cone.
9/10/11, Eric Johnson's final trip report posted on nwhikers was his "shameless peakbagging" report for many of these peaks.
And some future hiking: Poking around the map afterward, I found there are still several new places that I haven't visited yet near Harts Pass, so I'll be back a few more times in larch season:
Middle Pasayten 6935 and Devils 8081 (a T200 summit!), probably as a long day trip.
Wildcat 7958 & Ferguson Ridge 7619, probably with a camp at Ferguson Lake.
And Harts Pass Hill 6828 just west of Harts Pass, mostly burned off, but with a few larches on top.
Diablo Lake matching its hellish name in the smoky orange twilight
As beacons mountains burned at evening. J.R.R. Tolkien
Now I Fly, jstern, John Mac, rubywrangler, jaysway, RichP, contour5, reststep, Cyclopath awilsondc As beacons mountains burned at evening. J.R.R. Tolkien
Now I Fly, jstern, John Mac, rubywrangler, jaysway, RichP, contour5, reststep, Cyclopath awilsondc