Mt. Margaret

Suzanne convinced Bernadette and I to take a day off work and get out into the mountains. We met at 8:00 and after a detour and misadventure heading back west rather than east, we arrived at the Lake Lillian trailhead at a little before 10:00. The road was snow free to the parking lot. Although it was a sunny day we were the only car in the lot. The route begins by hiking up the road. It remained snow free to the point where the trail heads off. Snow started almost immediately on the trail. The parking lot is at about 3600' and the trail begins near 4000'. The way switchbacks up a clear cut. Once we crossed a logging road the snow deepened. There was much more snow on the trail than off. It was also very soft. We were soon post holing up to our knees in spots. Thankfully the snow was not deeper. It was so soft that we often sank all the way down to dirt. At times I could not make out the trail but Suzanne seemed to keep us on track. Mt. Rainier soon came into view with few clouds to mar the view.

The clear cut finally ended and we entered forest. While the trail continued to contour I suggested going straight up to the ridge. The slope is fairly moderate and the snow was now much firmer. We had not seen fresh foot prints but near the ridge we found old snowmobile tracks. Once on the ridge top I put on my snowshoes. None of us had been to the summit of Mt. Margaret. The ridge looked gentle enough on the map so we stayed near it. We were able to weave through the trees and climb up towards the false summit. Suzanne and B soon put on their snowshoes as well.

Clouds were now moving in and the wind began to blow. We reached the false summit where there was a small cairn. Continuing along the ridge the route dropped to a saddle then began the final climb to Mt. Margaret. The snow was a little soft but we had no trouble ascending. The summit at 5436' has surprisingly good views. Mt. Stuart and points east were under clear blue skies. To the west the sky was clear as well. The only clouds seemed to be along the crest. Still it was pleasantly warm with shorts and a light jacket on top. We had a very clear view of the large waterfall below Lake Laura. Laura, Lillian, Twin, Margaret, and a few other lakes were all still frozen. One lake down the valley from Margaret Lake, possibly Swan, was open.

The view of Hibox Mt. was excellent. Peaks as diverse as McClellan Butte, Granite, Chikamin, Stuart, The Cradle, and Silver Peak were all clearly visible. After lunch we snowshoed back down. The descent was much quicker. Back on the lower ridge we stumbled into the trail marker at the intersection of the trails to Twin Lakes and Margaret Lake. Bernadette came down with just boots but Suzanne and I managed to keep snowshoes on all the way back to the logging road which slices through the clear cut. We arrived back at the car to find no other vehicles present.

This is a good time of year for this hike. From the summer parking lot to the summit and back was only about 5 miles with 2300' gained. It was nice to get in a first time snow scramble without a long drive. Thanks to the clear cut there are views early on. At the ridge and the summit they get much better. It turned out to be a nice trip with good company as well.

Margaret Lake
On The Summit
Jim On Summit
Lake Lillian
Chikamin Peak
Alta Mountain
The Cradle
Hibox Mountain
Lakes Below
Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Photo Page 2

Trips - 2005