Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Tokaloo Rock

An adventurous day on the west side of Mount Rainier, with stunning views of the Sunset Amphitheater, interspersed with cloud induced drama. Substantial fresh snow over steep heather and boulders made things ‘interesting’.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Unusual conditions with a very sharp snow line at ~6000’ allowed us to make good time on the West Side Road, Round Pass Connector Trail, and Wonderland Trail.  This snow line was coincident with the start of our cross country travel and a convenient spot to convert to Mountain Boots from approach shoes (for those of us using them on this ~20 mile day):

    IMG_1411.jpeg(By Jesse Bengtsson)

    The central focus of our snow travel was to avoid twisting ankles when seemingly solid snow suddenly gave way to rock voids beneath, sometimes after several other people had already stepped there without an issue.  A particularly welcome spot was where old snow overlaid by fresh snow gave us a respite, with easy step kicking:

    IMG_1414.jpeg(By Nina Crampton)

    Micro-spikes were particularly welcome for a short section of hard snow (with bad runout) just below the summit of Tokaloo Rock:

    IMG_1416.jpeg(By Nina Crampton)

A week of storms had given us substantial snowfall, promising a much different Tokaloo Rock experience than the usual fall trip. Not quite knowing what to expect, with a great weather forecast we decide to give it a go.  We soon passed the stunning columnar basalt near the North Puyallup Campsite:

IMG_0022.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

IMG_0024.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

After the start of our cross country snow travel, a close proximity to Andrew gave our more energetic members a chance to tag that summit, while the rest of us enjoyed some stunning views…

IMG_1410.jpeg(By Nina Crampton)

… including the ‘next events’ of Tokaloo Spire and Tokaloo Rock:

IMG_0034.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

We passed Tokaloo Spire on its south side…

IMG_0044.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

… and were soon traversing to the north below the summit cliff band of Tokaloo Rock (a key route choice owing to the cliff that blocks an ascent from the south along its ridge crest):

IMG_0047.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

The last little bit to the summit of Tokaloo Rock…

IMG_0052.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

… and the expected View.

IMG_0054.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

Some happy faces…

IMG_1415.jpeg(By Nina Crampton)

… before the clouds rolled in with a vengeance.

IMG_0064.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

We made great time on our descent (only 1.5 hours to the Wonderland Trail) and were soon passing some colorful fungi near the North Puyallup Campsite:

IMG_0077.jpeg(By Dave Morgan)

A great day in the mountains on this ‘shoulder season’ version of a Tokaloo Rock.  We started out from the end of the West Side Road (drivable portion) at 7am and returned to the cars at 7:30pm, completely consuming every bit of the daylight (no headlamps required!) on this ~20 mile, ~6000’ gain trip.  Our times were 7 hours on the ascent, 5 hours on the descent, with half an hour on the summit.  More photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.