Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - West Tiger Lollipop

A normally pedestrian venue made quite exciting (25-30 mph winds) on our exposed traverse of West Tiger 3, 2, and 1. A great workout when severe winter storms rule out other venues.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Micro-spikes were used most of the day, starting at the parking lot.  We switched to snowshoes for the intermittent yet deep snow drifts on logging road between West Tiger 3, 2, and 1.  Snowshoes were required for the less traveled portions of our route (the eastern parts of our ‘lollipop’, especially the 150’ descent northward from West Tiger 1 to regain the West Tiger 1 trail):


A great bad weather workout made quite entertaining by the high winds.  To maximize our conditioning experience we started from the downtown Issaquah trailhead, which also made for an easier commute.   We avoided the usual West Tiger 1 trail that passes to the north of West Tiger 1.  This area is now clear of trees (logging), and recent snows obscured the trail as well as any brush that might be present from the recent logging operations (breaking trail through this area could be quite difficult).  The middle part of this trail is still treed and has a healthy number of substantial downed trees (probably due to high winds judging by their angle of repose), and following the trail through these trees could also be quite difficult.

A unique hazard in passing by West Tiger 1 were its ice encrusted antenna towers, which delivered a constant rain of ice chunks on their leeward side (easily avoided by passing the towers on their windward side).   After regaining the West Tiger 1 trail (immediately north and ~150’ below West Tiger 1) we enjoyed our lunch with calm wind conditions at this spot, yet were entertained by the high winds just above by their keening through the antenna tower superstructures.

A very interesting day in the mountains. Total trip time was 7 hours car-to-car, with 2 hours for the ascent to West Tiger 3 and 1 hour for the traverse to our lunch spot near West Tiger 1.  Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.   Some particularly interesting videos showing the wind conditions can be seen here and here.