Tiger Mountain NYE

My oldest tradition is to end each year with a hike on Tiger Mountain. Since that first time in 1983 I have missed only one year end. John was free and signed on. The UW football team was playing in the final four at 12:00 pm. That very early hour meant that I would try to get down by 11:30 am to catch near the start of the game. I have passed up many games but it is very rare the local team makes it so close to a national championship. We met at the High Point Exit off I-90 at 7:30 am. It was cold. It also had not been light very long. We headed up the High Point Trail. Very quickly we saw several good patches of hair ice. The bright white color really stands out. As we climbed it began to warm up. The start of the High Point Trail is always the coldest spot around there. A report from the day before showed some fresh snow at Fred's Corner, at about 1900'. We were not sure just where it started. Slow progress on snow might keep me from getting down by 11:30 am.

We debated a shorter 7 mile trip up Tiger 2 or a longer 8 mile trip with 400' more elevation gain going over Tiger 1 and 2. We would have to decide before reaching Fred's Corner. Right to Tiger 2 and left to Tiger 1. We made good time up the High Point and then the Tiger Mountain Trail (TMT). Tiger 1 and 2 it would be. Snow began a little below Fred's Corner. We stopped on the West Side RR Grade to put on micro spikes. The snow was still thin but it was getting slick and a bit icy. With the spikes we had zero problems the rest of the way on snow/ice.

We intersected the Preston Trail and now headed more directly uphill. The fresh snow highlighted all the trees but was not as thick and heavy on branches as on a trip a week earlier. No heavy snowy branches to push aside. By the time we hit the junction just below the ridge the trail was in a defined trench. Enough folks had been through to pack it down. We saw several groups of hikers/runners on the next stretch to the top of Tiger 1. As always, we took the short side trail up to the summit. Still not much wind at all.  Next, we dropped down to the Bypass Trail for the long .10 miles to the Hiker's Hut viewpoint. The way trees are are enclosing Tiger 2 and 3 this is one of the viewpoints on Tiger. I had hoped that the snow and cold temperatures might have the trees and the hut encased in rime ice. It was not to be. My 2007 New Years Eve hike is still the best rime display I have seen on Tiger.

The sky was white with high clouds but we had pretty good views all around. The trees in all directions were flocked. Snow depth was only a foot or so. The bench was just above the snow level. With a finishing time to reach we did not stay long on top. Just enough time for some photos and a panorama video. Soon we were heading down. Down to the low point between Tiger 1 and 2 then uphill once again. This was the last climb of the day. Snow conditions were great and we pounded out another 250' of gain. We met another group near the top of Tiger 2. We still had 3.5 miles to go but it was all downhill. And down we went.

The snow flocked trees and bushes required some more stops for photos. The last few years we had almost no snow days on Tiger. At least not much. I twas nice to see snow near the cities once again. The trip down was fast and easy. Down to the TMT then on it all the way to the Lingering Trail. We took off spikes Below Fred's Corner when we had more dirt than snow/ice. The Lingering Trail is about a third of a mile longer than the High Point Trail but we were a bit ahead of schedule and decided to take it. Longer but nicer than the High Point Trail. We were back at the car just before 11:25 am. With light traffic I made it home right at kickoff time. For future reference to this report, the Huskies did not fare well against Alabama.

For the 33rd time in 34 years I hiked on Tiger Mountain on New Year's Eve. Come rain, or snow, or a bit of a cold I have almost never missed ending the year hiking on Tiger. It's a fun tradition to keep up. For the year I came in at 818 miles and 212,800' of elevation gain. One strange fact is that for the first time ever, December was the month with the most elevation gain. More than any summer month with long hours of daylight and warm temperature. That is one feature of this hiking year that will likely not be repeated.

John On Snowy Trail
First Towers
John Entering Forest
Hiker's Hut
View To Southwest
Poo Top Ridge
Heading Down
Tiger 2 Tower
T2 Summit Sign
Little View Left
Flocked Trees
White Branches
Christmas Tree
John On Lingering Trail
Tree Down
Hair Ice

Click on thumbnails to get larger pictures.

Trips - 2016