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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Howard Peak & Tolmie Peak

quick and dirty route info: drive to mowich lake, hike to tolmie lookout and then take ridge e to tolmie peak, hike trail back down to 5800', then descend n, then nw on easy terrain to howard. head n and take moderately steep n ridge to howard/rust ridge saddle. from saddle ascend ne up rust ridge wsw ridge to summit. return to howard. head west down howard's w ridge (going up and over howard jr aka5538) and up to alki crest aka pt5255. continue nw along crest to florence peak.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • tolmie+howard+rust ridge+alki crest+florence peak 9-10-2017

    after reading the bitter waters of medicine creek(https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9734217-the-bitter-waters-of-medicine-creek), an engrossing and carefully researched history of our area in the middle of the 1800's, tolmie peak(named after william tolmie) went to the top of my list of peaks i needed to ascend.

    tolmie is rather a short trip, so i looked on the map and assembled a list of peaks that could be done with it.  of course, i also wanted to get in a swim at mowich lake too.  it was, in a hindsight, an ambitious plan based on the conditions - it had just rained, leaving a bunch of wet heather.  i was not sure if i could find any victims to join me and was extremely pleased when so many my friends, whom i have wanted to do a trip with and had not seen for a while, were up for the adventure.  

    everyone really enjoyed tolmie peak and lookout.  howard was not much of a summit, but it proved to be an excellent spot for friends to hang together.  some not that steep terrain to get to the howard/rust ridge saddle was a not everyone's cup of tea.  the wet, but not that bad of brush, we encountered after, was not a favorite either and chewed up time.  

    our original plan was to go over around rust ridge and hit arthur.  i had read that it was recommended to traverse at 5000' around the west side of rust ridge.  phil did not like that idea.  he wanted to just head up the wsw ridge of rust ridge.  we were very happy we listened to phil, as it was obvious, once we could see the two routes, that his was the best.  no one but me wanted to continue on to arthur.  arthur, like so many peaks, was not as important to me as the happiness of friends, so we headed back to howard.  (fwiw - arthur looked like a reasonable scramble from the summit of rust ridge)

    we hung for a good while at howard enjoying being to together and the great day.  we then headed over to howard jr, a bump on alki crest, and then up and over the summit of alki crest.  time had now evaporated and the mellow pace needed to get picked up in order to get back before dark.  we could have stopped at alki crest, but i really wanted to get one more peak - florence.  florence proved to be the best peak of the day, but unfortunately it was enveloped in a cloud when we reached the summit and we had no time available to wait for it to dissipate, so boogied back.  walking now with a little more intention, we made it back to the trailhead just before dark.  me made it enumclaw just after the mexican restraunt we wanted to go to was supposed to be closed, but fortunately enough, their open sign was still up and they were very kind to feed us hungry unkempt savages

    we did not get to swim and did leave an orphan, arthur,(plans are made to be broken :>), but all in all, a chance to get some exercise, spend a day with friends, at a beautiful place, low stress wandering, during a smoke free, pleasant temperature day, is what i consider this side of paradise :>)  ps - got to do tolmie peak and i got to remember the book - the bitter water of medicine creek.  

    quick and dirty route info:  drive to mowich lake, hike to tolmie lookout and then take ridge e to tolmie peak, hike trail back down to 5800', then descend n, then nw on easy terrain to howard. head  n and take moderately steep n ridge to howard/rust ridge saddle.  from saddle ascend ne up rust ridge wsw ridge to summit.  return to howard.  head west down howard's w ridge (going up and over howard jr aka5538) and up to alki crest aka pt5255. continue nw along crest to florence peak.

    11.97mi 4327' gain
     1:46 car to tolmie summit
     0:21 summit stay
     0:34 tolmie summit to howard
     0:30 summit stay
     1:11 howard to rust ridge summit
     0:22 summit stay
     1:03 rust ridge to howard
     0:35 summit stay
     0:16 howard to alki crest summit
     0:08 summit stay
     1:03 alki crest to florence
     0:08 summit stay
     3:04 florence to car
    11:02 car to car

    equipment: none
    equipment brought, but not used: ice axe, helmet

 

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