Trip Report    

Alpine Conditioning Hike - Cableline Trail

Cold muddy hike up Cable Line in the dark, encountering a little fresh snow/ice on the upper third with 3+ inches at the summit. It was also pitch black, bright headlamps encouraged.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail was muddy with water running down the main trail at times. A fresh dusting of snow on the upper third of the trail that made route finding a little more difficult at night. 3 to 4 inches of snow encountered at the summit clearing. Minimal Ice was encountered down the trail, microspikes were not needed, however strongly advise bringing hiking poles to aid in the effort.

    ProTip: Dont set your hiking poles down and forget about them. Always do your pole check at every stop (do I have them?)

Prehike planning and email sent to the party:

Weather: Mostly cloudy, with a low around 32. South southeast wind around 6 mph. It should be in the mid-30s most of the time. Pack layers, and gloves. Rain is not expected.

Trail Conditions: Expect it to be muddy, recent trip reports say we wont be seeing any snow on the trail. Dont think we will need microspikes, although I'd totally bring hiking poles.
Remember we are climbing over 2,000 feet in just 1.5 miles to the summit. Its possible we will take West Tiger Mountain Trail back down depending on conditions and route finding.

Bring your 10 essentials and primary and backup lights or extra batteries. Given that we are doing this in the dark it would be a good idea night to NOT loose the ability to see in the dark. I also want to make sure we stay together as a group on the way up and down to ensure we all make the round trip.
WTA link:
GPS Track can be found here:

Actual Trip Report:
We had a group of 5, decided to meet up at the cable line trailhead at 5:15PM with the goal of starting the hike by 5:30PM. Other groups were gathering (maybe 2 or 3). After meeting with the group we moved up the trail to the clearing before the actual trail. Party separation, designating roles and going over the general plan we set out. We found it was pretty cold standing around and couldnt wait to get started. We actually hit the trail at 5:32PM, 2 minutes over w00t! We immediately found the trail to be very dark, very muddy with water in the main gully where the cable was. The solid darkness except for our headlamps made for a interesting adventure as we couldnt see much further in front of us. 

We made for a decent pace stopping occasionally to delayer and take a breath, it helped that we occasionally swapped leaders up front to adjust our pace. About a half mile from the top we encountered our first dusting of snow, this turned into full dusting at the junction for Tiger 3. With the darkness and snow this made for a little more of a challenge for route finding on the upper section.  At the summit clearing we were greeted with maybe 3 to 4 inches of fresh compact snow. We made it to the top around 6:50, 1 hour 20-30 minutes to the top. The views were amazing and clear. I got a really good shot looking to Seattle, notice the light pollution (this isnt daylight.) 10 minutes at the top was all we could stand due to the freezing cold we encountered.

On the decent we took West Tiger 3 down, and it was at this point we started to encounter some ice on the trail in spots. This eventually stopped. During the decent we only encountered 1 down tree across the trail. Due to the darkness we stopped at every trail intersection to ensure we were on path. Overall this trail was in amazing shape. By 8:10PM we made it back to the cars and bid our farewells. I dont think microspikes were necessary on this trip as we all had hiking poles. Although I should have brought them just incase. The prior trip reports indicated no snow, however there was a big storm the night before that dropped a bunch on the upper section. Always be prepared as trail conditions at this time of year could change quickly.

Time up: 1 hour 20-30 minutes.
Time down: 1 hour 10 minutes.

Overall this was an amazing hike with an amazing group of humans and likely one I'd be happy to do again in the dark.


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Laura Grosmaire
Laura Grosmaire says:
Jan 27, 2023 11:57 AM

Given that there is an outhouse at the High Point TH, I'm rather surprised and disappointed that people would do "cowboy party separations" on this hike previous to starting (with the understanding that "party separation" can be more or less impactful). This is obviously an extremely high use trail, and one would hope that any party representing the Mountaineers would exercise LNT principles to the best of their ability/leadership.