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Trip Report    

Cathedral Rock–Deception Pass–Tuck & Robin Lakes

Our three-day backpack of the Cathdral Rock loop was July 25 - 27, 2015. I like to schedule this trip to start on a Saturday and hike clockwise, as this puts the group camping at Tuck lake on a Sunday --- hopefully less camping competition than on Saturday.

We knew going into the trip that there was rain and even possibly a thunderstorm scheduled for this time period, but the pinpoint forecast suggested less than a tenth of inch of rain per day, and the thunderstorm was just a possibility (and indeed, didn't occur while we were there).

Day one of the trip went very well, with a great 8-person group. I had thought to get water at an unnamed lake just before the PCT junction at Cathedral Pass and camp in the vicinity of Cathedral Pass --- we therefore set out from the Seattle area around 9:30 am to shoot for a noon start from the trailhead.

This all worked out very well, though as we climbed we met folks coming down that suggested the Cathedral Pass itself might be pretty windswept and thus cold/wet, so we found a decent place to camp just off trail to the right somewhere between the unnamed lake and the pass.

We had a nice rain-free time to set up tents, get water, eat dinner, and then the rain began. I rained all night, varying from heavy mist to full-on rain, but certainly more than a tenth of an inch.

When we setup camp, we could see Cathedral Rock from the trail; the next morning we could not, we were basically in a cloud with low visibility. After a fair bit of debate, the group agreed that the wise course was to retrace our steps.
Why? A couple of people had equipment issues that added a little doubt to the veracity of a second night in the rain. If we pressed forward, we anticipated a good chance that we would just bypass the Tuck lake turnoff and make about a 14 mile day of it to get to the cars and back home pretty late (and tired). The one group member who had been up to Robin Lakes before opined that in wet conditions some of the rock might be a bit perilous on the way back down.
And finally, I told the group that the best views would be in the morning --- and likely not too good given current conditions. When we got back to the trailhead and looked back/up we could see that it was all still socked in, and it was raining again when we got back to the cars. A somewhat frustrating, but ultimatly IMO the right, and a wise decision.

Some berries on the trail, almost no bugs. The unnamed lake offered some camping, but not a lot for a larger group without splitting up. Note that there's a camp toilet at Squaw lake en route, that the group appreciated using going both up and back.