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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Eunice Lake & Tolmie Peak Lookout

What a special day traveling thru Avalanche safe terrain in untracked snow to a place few, if any have visited since the Mowich road closed in the Fall.

  • Road rough but passable
  • We were able to drive to the TH, with some surprising views on the way given the forecast. The first 3 miles of road had been recently graded, the last 8 miles in bad shape, with soooo many potholes, a few branches. Noticed a small rock slide on our way out, that we did not notice on the way in.

9hrs total~ 5 1/2 up~  3 1/2 down  15 min break at summit, several breaks on the way up. Approximately 9 miles with 3500 ft of elevation gain. Rare timing with a lower freezing  level during the week, accompanied by several inches of new snow on this early May trip.

The snow was incredible, it started at the trail head, by the second switch back we noticed coyote tracks in the new snow, started postholing within the first mile, snow shoes went on and we were in them all day traveling thru untracked snow. We worked our way up Virginia peak, followed the NE trending ridge out by Razzleberry, and the  steep slope to gain Berry Peak. The crux of the trip was getting up Berry and the ridge just beyond that. We stayed high on the SE side just below the ridge to get around rocks, some snow falling off the trees and rocks had caused some big pinwheels in the recent past. 

The climb up the long steep ridge beyond  was straight forward, bringing us out into the big meadow around Eunice lake. Enjoyed the views of surrounding mountains, Rainier was obscured in thin cloud cover that gave us an occasional partial glimpse. Our goal of Tolmie Lookout was close at hand.  We had some discussion about a turn around time, settling on 2 pm. We gather our strength for the final push, taking a route West of Eunice Lake thru the steep forested slope arriving on the ridge at the west side of the bump on the E end of the ridge. A short mellow ridge run brought us to our goal of Tolmie  lookout. Enjoyed a break on the summit on a pleasant windless partially cloudy day with plenty of blue sky.The heavily NW facing corniced ridge to the summit was probably obtainable.

 Uneventful return to our cars at 5 pm, almost made it back with out taking our snow shoes off. These are quickly fleeting conditions, the snow was much wetter, heavier on our return. With rising freezing levels Saturday this snow below 5k feet will melt out quickly.