Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Barrier Peak/Tamanos Mountain (8/16/15)

After July's failed attempt to climb Tamanos Mountain in Rainier National Park, we planned a return trip in better weather, hoping to backpack (since we didn't have reservations) and also bag a couple peaks.

Heading up early on a Saturday:
An empty backseat where Brittany was supposed to be. We were so bummed to not share the adventure with our young, buff friend!
The back-country camp was all booked, but after much harassing by a cranky park ranger, we acquired a cross-country camping permit and very specific instructions on where we could and couldn't camp. The jerky ranger basically threatened us, but we weren't intimidated. We know what to do in the woods, thank you, very much!

Parked, packed and ready to hit the Owyhigh Lakes Trail:
Because of all the cross-country permit rules, it took a long time to find a place to set up camp. We bushwhacked through the wet brush, following game trails and looking for flat-ish spots big enough for our tent. We eventually found what we think was a deer bed (guessing from all the deer scat in the flattened spot) and apologized out loud to any nearby deer for invading their home for the night.

The weather was perfect, but the wet, waist-deep brush left us fairly wet and chilled. Brad let me huddle in the tent to warm up while he got water from the lake and did other camp set-up stuff.
Brad joined me in the tent for "dinner", which ended up being trail snacks. After going over gear with Brittany the night before, I accidentally jettisoned the freeze-dried pad Thai we were supposed to eat. Oops! But energy bars, trail mix, hot chocolate, Pringles and Joe-Joe cookies did the job - and added to our crazy adventure :)
Rainier could be seen from our potty spot down the hill from our tent:
Also, Tamanos Mountain - one of our summit goals for Sunday:
We packed up Sunday morning and made our way toward Barrier Peak. We could see our destination, but since there was no real trail for most of it, we had lots of route-finding fun!
Lots and lots of photo opportunities:
Tamanos Mountain:
Checking the GPS:
Are we there yet?? Brad always enjoys the route-finding more than me. I prefer a nice, obvious trail.
Mount Adams to the south:
Rainier peeking over the ridge:
After lots more bushwhacking, a little getting lost, and a bunch of steep scrambling, we were on the summit with an amazing view of Rainier. 
Looking across at Tamanos - Owyhigh Lakes below:
About 6,500 feet:
And because we had cell reception, we couldn't resist texting a "wish-you-were-here" summit shot to Brittany :)

Next up was figuring out how to get down more efficiently than we went up. More bushwhacking.

We eventually made it back to the main trail where we were able to ditch our giant overnight packs in some brush and trade them for much lighter summit packs.

We were pretty pooped by this point, so we took the steep, sunny trail nice and slow.

There were several rock blocks near the summit, and we had to figure out which was the tallest. I think he got it!
I joined him up there at about 6,800 feet - with Rainier in all her glory:
A waterfall was flowing off the glacier:
Bad lighting for photos, but it was absolutely stunning:
The weather was perfect for hanging out on the summit. We snacked and took tons of pics before heading back to the main trail to grab our big packs. We were alone on both summits - such a wonderful perk of climbing less-popular routes!

As always, the 3.5-mile hike out seemed to take forever, especially since it was so hot and I was out of water.

Finally, we heard the traffic on the road, and then we spotted the car through the trees. YAY!
We returned our bear canister to the cranky ranger and were on our way home. It was a very long day, but so worth it for the awesome views and new peaks to check off our lists :)

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