Six Summits And A Point

This report was contributed by Gary Westerlund.

My point is not to poo poo the accomplishments of the other fine hikers who have hiked the six Tiger summits in a day. But, I think it is rather pointless to do the six highpoints and skip the other highpoint, Poo Poo Point.

Early in the week I had emailed David and proposed the Six Summits Hike for our Saturday Hike. David replied with a counter proposal to do the Six Summits Hike and Poo Poo Point. So I thought, if we're going to go out and do a killer hike, why not do a good job and make sure we're really wiped out at day's end. I also conned Jim, who was interested in doing Six Summits, into the trip.

Saturday was a great day for our big adventure with mostly sunny skies and cool temperatures. So Saturday morning found us eagerly tromping along the West Side Road towards Poo Poo Point. We reached Poo Poo Point a little after 9 and thought we had a good shot at doing the whole hike. After a brief water break we were hiking the Railroad Grade towards West Tiger 3. The Railroad Grade was in good shape with only one windfall that was easy to step over. The deciduous trees had not leafed out yet so we had views of W. Tiger 1 and 2 along the way. The Section Line Trail from the Railroad Grade up to Tiger 3 was our first steep grind, but mercifully short, gaining only 500 ft. Tiger 3 had a crowd of people enjoying the morning sunshine.

The hike up Tiger 2 and 1 was straight forward. We saw a couple of people on the top of each. We proceeded on the Bootleg and East Tiger trails up East Tiger. Both trails were in good shape and lonely. The Christmas Tree which is located on the Bootleg Trail just before the junction with the Paw Print Connector Trail, still had most of its decorations.

As luck would have it, we reached the top of East Tiger at half past 12 just in time for lunch at the picnic table. At 3004 ft elevation, E. Tiger was the high point of our hike. The hike was half over and we had reached five of our seven highpoints. The remaining two would take the rest of the day. After a pleasant half hour eating our lunch, we were on our way. We then descended the "Hubcap Trail". This route starts a couple hundred feet back down the road from the picnic table and hits the Preston Railroad Grade about 300 ft from the Tiger Mtn Road. As it turned out this was the most dangerous part of the trip. Just past the hubcap, David had grabbed a branch, it broke and he went for a tumble. Fortunately he only suffered a small cut on his hand. Farther down, Jim pushed on a small tree and it fell over almost hitting me. It was on the Hubcap Trail that we saw two garter snakes sunning themselves.

It was then on to Middle Tiger mostly hiking on roads. The spur road heading up Middle Tiger had one of the best views of the trip. The view stretched from the Olympics to the Cascades with W. Tiger 1 in the center. This view made up for the tiny, 10 degree view from the top of Middle Tiger. We were surprised to run into another hiker on the top of Middle Tiger, being that this was a relatively deserted part of the Issaquah Alps. The steep 500 ft. descent to the TMT was hard on our tired legs. We trudged along the TMT towards South Tiger. We took the South Tiger Traverse and turned up South Tiger at the large stump with the two notches. At the completely forested summit we signed the register happy to have reached the seven highpoints. This was the only summit where we didn't see other hikers. At our moderate pace, it took us seven hours to reach highpoint number seven.

Now all we had left to do was to backtrack to the W. Side Road and hike it back to our cars. The hike consisted of a 19 mile, 4400 ft gain loop by the peaks plus a short hike to and from the loop. This was a great time for a Tiger Mtn hike. There wasn't any snow on the trails and the deciduous trees did not yet have leaves to block views. We saw several trillium, salmonberry, skunk cabbage and yellow violets in bloom.

Trips - 2001