Forum Index > Trip Reports > MRNP: Success Divide 9.23.15
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williswall
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williswall
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PostThu Sep 24, 2015 2:39 pm 
I've been wanting to explore this divide for a few years so finally got to it. Weather of late has been an impediment to some of my plans and originally this was to be a two day trip where I hit the Success Divide on day one then forge up the Puyallup Cleaver on day two. However, one can see from the photos that despite an overall good day weather wise, the clouds covering Rainier were hovering around the 8000 foot level, and since the following day's forecast called for increasing clouds and eventually rain, I decided to bag day two and save that for a pristine day, if it turns up when I am not working. This is a straight forward hike up to the base of Pyramid Peak, but I found skirting around to acquire the divide was slightly complicated, with myriad tiny cliff bands and, with the exception of one tiny stretch, nary a hint at a trail or an indication that someone has been there before you. Of course this is what makes this hike special, in that very few people come here. Once I finally found a way down to the divide after wandering too far left, travel was not especially pleasant. Loose rock and scree set the tone once above some grassy areas, and some of it is downright nasty. Probably the nastiest part was the final ridge scramble to my high point at 7800 feet, where I was really showing my age. Step, slide, huff puff, repeat. Continuing above this point was not necessary as the views I was seeking were available right at this level and the clouds were lingering slightly above me. In this case, unlike say Mt. Ruth where the glaciers are far below, it seems like you can reach out and touch the South Tahoma Glacier, and my vantage point allowed close up looks at the seracs and interesting morphology of the ice as it spilled over a steep grade. Despite no views upward to the mountain proper, the views west and south were fantastic, even being able to pick out the Tahoma Creek suspension bridge down the gully of the origins of Tahoma Creek. Although fall colors were sparse with areas like Indian Henrys looking winterlike, what patches I did see were vibrant and amazing....I just love hiking in the fall. This round trip worked out to be 22 miles with 5400 feet of elevation gain/loss.
1. Alder Lake
1. Alder Lake
2. Alder Lake 2
2. Alder Lake 2
3. Alder Lake 3
3. Alder Lake 3
4. Alder Lake 4
4. Alder Lake 4
5. Fall Color
5. Fall Color
6. tarn below Indian Henrys
6. tarn below Indian Henrys
7. fall colors on tarn below Indian Henrys
7. fall colors on tarn below Indian Henrys
8. fall on the Wonderland
8. fall on the Wonderland
9. Indian Henrys ready for winter
9. Indian Henrys ready for winter
10. Jeff sucks
10. Jeff sucks
11. Pyramid Peak, Success divide left
11. Pyramid Peak, Success divide left
12. fall colors in Pyramid Park
12. fall colors in Pyramid Park
13. Success Divide, S.Tahoma Glacier left
13. Success Divide, S.Tahoma Glacier left
13. terrain skirting Pyramid Peak, Success cleaver center
13. terrain skirting Pyramid Peak, Success cleaver center
14. S. Tahoma glacier up close
14. S. Tahoma glacier up close
15. S. Tahoma Glacier, Glacier Island left
15. S. Tahoma Glacier, Glacier Island left
16. Glacier Island
16. Glacier Island
16. the view
16. the view
17. Adams and layers
17. Adams and layers
18. pano from 7800'
18. pano from 7800'
19. Glacier Island below prominence
19. Glacier Island below prominence
20. gnarly terrain
20. gnarly terrain
22. S. Tahoma Glacier up close and personal
22. S. Tahoma Glacier up close and personal
23. Tahoma Creek origin
23. Tahoma Creek origin
24. snout of the S. Tahoma Glacier
24. snout of the S. Tahoma Glacier
24. tarn below Pyramid Peak
24. tarn below Pyramid Peak
21. points of interest
21. points of interest
25. dripping moss wall
25. dripping moss wall
26. Iron and Copper Mountains right
26. Iron and Copper Mountains right
26. not the Enchantments
26. not the Enchantments
27. Mirror Lakes
27. Mirror Lakes
27. reflecting tarn
27. reflecting tarn
29. Success Divide
29. Success Divide
30. peekaboo sunset
30. peekaboo sunset
31. moon and contrails
31. moon and contrails
32. parting shot
32. parting shot
negotiating rocks
negotiating rocks
Success Divide elevation profile
Success Divide elevation profile
Success Divide Ground Track
Success Divide Ground Track
Edit: seems I've transited this area a few times this year so did this 3 shot view:
Indian Henrys 3 season
Indian Henrys 3 season

I desire medium danger williswall.com hikethewonderlandtrail.com

wallorcrawl, jaysway, zimmertr, Now I Fly
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Distel32
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Distel32
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PostThu Sep 24, 2015 3:43 pm 
up.gif

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puzzlr
Mid Fork Rocks



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puzzlr
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PostThu Sep 24, 2015 4:34 pm 
williswall wrote:
23. Tahoma Creek origin
23. Tahoma Creek origin
Love that view down the path where the glacier used to be. Isn't this where the recent glacial outburst went down?

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williswall
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williswall
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PostThu Sep 24, 2015 5:05 pm 
puzzlr wrote:
williswall wrote:
23. Tahoma Creek origin
23. Tahoma Creek origin
Love that view down the path where the glacier used to be. Isn't this where the recent glacial outburst went down?
Possible, but this is the smaller glacier on the right side of Glacier Island. The flood could have originated in the larger Tahoma Glacier which feeds on the other side of Glacier Island. This is a view of the Tahoma Glacier looking towards Success Divide, you can see one lobe of the Tahoma passes skiers left of Emerald Ridge, thereby feeding Tahoma Creek, and the other lobe passes Emerald Ridge skiers right, feeding the South Puyallup River.
Tahoma Glacier view, Glacier Island
Tahoma Glacier view, Glacier Island

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Magellan
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Magellan
Brutally Handsome
PostThu Sep 24, 2015 8:30 pm 
Great story and exploration. up.gif I've wanted to climb this ridge since I figured out that one doesn't have to cross a glacier to summit. Perhaps some snow would be helpful.

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Bernardo
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Bernardo
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PostThu Sep 24, 2015 9:12 pm 
Nice trip. Thanks for posting.

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silence
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silence
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PostFri Sep 25, 2015 9:07 am 
There's actually a pretty obvious climber's path that traverses around Pyramid. Been on it twice. We were up there early season this year with some hard snow still lingering, and without ice axes or crampons we thought it was too dicey for us because the creek below was running strong. However, yes, it's a non-technical climb to the summit. We talked with a climber (we were both on our way out) who did it in 1 nite, 2 days.

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

Now I Fly
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Jetlag
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Jetlag
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PostFri Sep 25, 2015 11:59 am 
Great TR and photos! This is the view I see distantly from my house. After the two glacial outbursts, I went up to MRNP to hear the glacier scientists discuss the events, finding that both DID originate at the shrinking South Tahoma terminus. The second outburst was larger, but no one was there to shoot a video of it. Magellan, I do NOT recommend the Success Cleaver route, unless you attempt it after avalanche danger has passed and before all that dangerous loose rock surfaces. Even more than the glacier-less north ridge on Adams, the route has a very short climbing window. I would be happy to accompany you to the summit on a better route. Also, hoping for more rain to fill Alder Lake soon. Reps from the dams, the tribe and WSFW meet every week to adjust the water level. Tacoma City Light just raised the dam's outflow from 550 cubic feet per second to 750 CFS so that the lower Nisqually weir could continue to separate wild Chinook from hatchery fish.

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williswall
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williswall
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PostFri Sep 25, 2015 12:03 pm 
silence wrote:
There's actually a pretty obvious climber's path that traverses around Pyramid......However, yes, it's a non-technical climb to the summit. We talked with a climber (we were both on our way out) who did it in 1 nite, 2 days.
Guess it wasn't so obvious to me, and describing this as a non technical climb is perhaps a bit of an understatement. The route description above 9600' describes very exposed traverses with no way to place protection and generally some pretty nasty conditions. Stats show this climb is mostly done early season with snow cover. Of course, I'm assuming you have not climbed this route....if you have then more power to ya.

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silence
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silence
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PostFri Sep 25, 2015 1:15 pm 
It's a grade II climb, but still I thought it was risky doing it solo. He climbed Jun 5 and 6 this year and said it was pretty straightforward, except for some rock fall. Yes agreed, according to Gauthier there is quite a bit of exposure. Shot on the 6th while on our way out
Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier
We've only summitted via the Emmons, but really wished we could've done the Tahoma as well, but now we're just too old for it.

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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Hikingqueen
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PostMon Sep 28, 2015 12:45 pm 
Great Pics! I know that Jeff! He's a real SOB, used to work for the MRNP and does that *HIT! He also has JEFF ROCKS tattoo on his nuckles in case he forgets how cool he is? embarassedlaugh.gif He also carved Snow Pounders into that building somewhere, did you see that? He took pic and posted it on FB years ago! I was SO PISSED when i saw it! down.gif

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Popcorn
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Popcorn
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PostWed Sep 30, 2015 12:01 pm 
13. terrain skirting Pyramid Peak, Success cleaver center
13. terrain skirting Pyramid Peak, Success cleaver center
Great place to find a flat rock to sleep on, and watch the sun set on Tacoma/Puget Sound.

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Now I Fly
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Now I Fly
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PostTue Sep 20, 2022 5:40 pm 
Great report! Thanks for writing it! Think I'll attempt it tomorrow (I have three days)! Can't wait to try anyways!

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Kascadia
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Kascadia
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PostTue Sep 20, 2022 7:47 pm 
Nice TR and photos! Had a spectacular ON camp on a ledge at ~10,000 feet on Success Cleaver several decades ago. If one continues up, I would suggest a helmet, it is an exceedingly large pile of dookie.....

It is as though I had read a divine text, written into the world itself, not with letters but rather with essential objects, saying: Man, stretch thy reason hither, so thou mayest comprehend these things. Johannes Kepler

Now I Fly
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Bruce Albert
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Bruce Albert
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PostThu Sep 22, 2022 1:09 pm 
williswall wrote:
Indian Henrys 3 season
Indian Henrys 3 season
Permit me to add a winter view to complete your excellent three season tryptich. This was Thanksgiving, 1975.
With respect to "Jeff" and his transgressions, the surfaces of wooden backcountry structures have long been thickly covered with the names, dates, and anecdotes of those who have come before. At some point that which might be originally condemned as vandalism becomes, like it or not, part of a historical archive. In this case I agree Jeff might reasonably have chosen a more discreet slate for his effort. In June, 1969 two high school friends and I did a one-week ski trip from White River to Box Canyon on the Cowlitz. After several days of fine weather and excellent skiing we became lost in thick fog on the exit from Indian Bar and spent an entire day bushwhacking with ginormous packs down Nickel Creek to the west of the trail. With absolutely no inkling of where we were or what lay before us, we dutifully slogged down valley, spending much of that time singing a song made up from an inscription on the walls of the Indian Bar shelter which went in part: "Walter V Kromoga Great Falls, Montana August 7, 1940" Wouldn't have been the same without Walter...

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