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Trip Report    

The Barrier

Need more preparation - more research

  • Sun, Oct 23, 2022
  • The Barrier
  • Scrambling
  • Turned Around
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Road mostly clear and bare, until Hwy 123 where intermittent snow dusted to pavement. The Deer Lake trail began clear and dry, then progressed to about 4" snow at the junction with Tamanos.

We had planned to use The Mountaineers 100 Peaks of Rainier route, leaving from Deer Creek trail head up to the intersection with Tamanos and then circling up and back around to descend back down to Deer Creek. Because the guide lists the scramble as moderate, I guessed it would be possible despite the first, fresh snow of the season, about 4" deep.


Several points were learned on this attempt. I was wearing my new mountaineering boots, so the approach took twice as long as it had in the summer on a dry trail with hiking boots. I had not researched other's scrambles on Peakbagger to investigate our plan, I had not anticipated my new boots to slow me down so dramatically. Finally, I had not gone over the proposed route with my scramble partner, my husband, nor did he have the route loaded on his Caltopo app (He did have a paper map printout of the route).

As I write this report, I have not yet investigated other’s successful routes from the Deer Creek trail. I can only say that in the attempt to follow the 100 Peaks route, we ran straight into basalt cliffs. We attempted to bushwack around the base of them. The fog was intermittent, and at the apex of our effort, had settled back onto the area, creating a sensation of vertigo for my husband.

At this point it just seemed we had too many obstacles to value a peak we can come back to another day. We made the decision to turn back to the established trail and head back home. This turned out to be a good decision, as the descent to our trailhead also took longer than anticipated, due to my blistered heels and onset of knee pain for my husband.

We will try again, and next time be better prepared. We definitely became a bit spoiled after the long, dry summer of boot paths, making for easy scrambles.