Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble Loop - Tolmie, Howard, & Florence Peak

A gorgeous way to end the summer season. With the closure of the Mowich Lake Road we saw no other persons until Florence Peak and our descent to the cars. Warm temperatures, great views, plus an imminent evening storm to keep us focused on our time, we had a wonderful workout on this 19 mile/4500’ gain trip.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • No stinging insects encountered (hopefully done for this season ;).  Perfect weather, albeit surprisingly warm near Ipsut Pass. Maybe the cliffs capturing the morning sunshine?


With the shorter days we departed from the MRNP Carbon River entrance just before dawn (7AM).  With headlamps coming off a short time later we made good time and soon reached the Ipsut Creek Campground.


The overhanging cliffs near Ipsut Pass are quite impressive, easy to envision winter time avalanche hazards.


After a leisurely lunch/water pumping stop at Eunice Lake…


… we soon reached the Tolmie Peak Lookout.


Rainier’s lenticular cloud cap gave us ample warning of the evening’s incoming storm.  This photo also shows the greatly diminished ice climbing route on Observation Rock’s northern aspect.


From Howard Peak we appreciated the traverse to Florence Peak…


… which included a visit to this odd (limestone?) high spot.  The sea of clouds below prevented most Pugetopolis denizens from enjoying our sunshine and warm temperatures.


On our descent to the cars Sandy captured this gorgeous fungus photo.


A great day in the mountains on this 11 hour ‘end of season’ loop.  The absence of other folks on Tolmie Peak was absolutely surreal, and brought to mind the ghost ship ‘Mary Celeste ). Our times were ~4 hours to Ipsut Pass, another 2 hours to Tolmie Peak (which included a lengthy break), just over 2 hours to Florence Peak, and 3 hours for the descent to our cars.  Photos from this, as well as other trips to Tolmie, Howard, and Florence can be seen here.