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Trip Report    

Tumtum Peak (winter)

Brought snowshoes. Didn't use them. Could've used some microtraction or an ice axe though! Complete snow cover started around 4200'.

  • Sat, Jan 16, 2021
  • Tumtum Peak
  • Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Ice patches around 3600', solid crusty, icy snow  a few inches thick from 4200'-Summit.  Very slick, be cautious.

TumTumTumTummmmmm...the maintained part of the Kautz Creek Trail is pure bliss. Well-maintained, wide and beautifully serene with lush mossy greens, babbling streams and chirping tweets surrounding you. Then you find a random place (look for a large cut log and head left!) to turn off the trail around 3200' and you're tromping through a wet, slippery bushwhack feeling like a idiot bringing snowshoes into a forest full of nothing but dirt and mud and rocks and trees. You follow the ridgeline then you hit the saddle around 3600' and are elated to see spotty patches of ice intermittently, thinking, "I will be using these snowshoes after all!" Then you climb slowly into steeper and steeper terrain, and, VOILA! SNOW! You take a few steps and realize this is nothing but a few inches of thick crusty hard and icy snow and you don't actually need snowshoes, you may need either microspikes or crampons...and possibly an ice axe for the descent, none of which you have. So...you take your time, kick careful steps while zig-zagging up steep snowy terrain, relishing those brief moments you can get a few good steps in on softer snow and make your way to the summit. From there, you carefully step around more icy patches and ascend the ridge until you hit the summit...which is in the trees. Peekaboo views, for sure! You can see part of the Tatoosh Range and also Mt. Adams, through some branches in the trees! Then you have a quick bite wearing everything in your pack since you're on a ridge and it's freezing and breezy,then you pack everything out and head back down S.L.O.W.L.Y. Since we didn't have ice axes we were super-careful kicking in and double-checking our footing before every step while switchbacking down the steep terrain (maybe 25-30 degrees?). Finally hit the no-snow zone and made a quick descent out. Barely saw anyone, and those we saw were wearing masks.