Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Point 6859, Cowlitz Park

A gorgeous ‘out and back’ scramble to vast meadows and breathtaking views in Cowlitz Park (Point 6859 in the SE portion of Mount Rainier National Park).

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • A high overcast provided perfect workout temperatures with intermittent sun breaks throughout the day.  One party member encountered several insect stings (surprisingly on the Wonderland Trail and not the cross country portion, go figure).  Stings did not repeat on the descent, but we were highly motivated to quickly scamper past that spot.  The only available water was at the crossing of Nickel Creek and the stream at ~6300’ in Cowlitz Park sourced by 3 spectacular water falls:

    IMG_7324.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

We departed Box Canyon shortly after 7am, and after ~3 hours of hoofing it (lots of elevation gain plus plenty of distance) things started opening up, allowing Nina to take this gorgeous photo of Mount Adams.


By Nina Crampton

Shortly after that at Point 5930 (still on the Wonderland Trail), our first glimpse of Cowlitz Park and Point 6859 in the distance:


By Dave Morgan

After leaving the Wonderland Trail we meandered a bit through a series of ridglets to reach the majestic open country of Cowlitz Park…


By Jesse Bengtsson


By Jesse Bengtsson


By Yosuke Kanii


By Jesse Bengtsson

Near the summit of Point 6859 we were treated to our very own version of Half Dome…


By Yosuke Kanii

Point 6859 with a made to order lenticular cloud cap on Mount Rainier.


By Dave Morgan

On descent we had a ‘serious’ discussion on the health benefits of artisanal dumplings, made from pumice ground wild seed flour, cooked in volcano sourced hot springs.  Too bad pumice fragments are tough on the teeth.


By Jesse Bengtsson

The last of the Paintbrush…


By Dave Morgan

Time to head home…


By Jesse Bengtsson

An incredible day in the mountains on this 18 mile, ~5000’ elevation gain T1 scramble.  Our total time was ~10 hours with 5 hours on the ascent, 4 hours on the descent, and just under an hour on the summit.  Photos from this trip (as well as other trips) to this venue can be seen here.

Several other trips (much more difficult than this one) can also offer a visit to Cowlitz Park:

* A very challenging 2 day scramble/traverse from Paradise to White River (only for folks with high end river crossing skills).  The cross country portions offers a ford of the Cowlitz River just as it exits from under its glacier. Photos here.

* A much, much more difficult 4 day climb of Little Tahoma by way of Tamanos, Main Cowlitz, Banshee, Indian Bar, Little Tahoma, and Summerland.  Photos here.