Sunday, November 2, 2014

Tahtlum Peak W7W/MC-023 14 September 2014


Directions are from the Seattle Mountaineers book-  Guide to 100 Hikes at Mt Rainier National Park:

Driving:
Drive south on SR 410 and park at Chinook Pass (elevation
5430') on the south side of the road.

Route:
Hike the Pacific Crest Trail south to a high point of 5900' and head left toward Tahtlum Peak. Cross two small bumps and follow the footpath, staying mostly on the ridge or sometimes just to the left. From the summit, a pleasant side trip is to return via Dewey Lakes. From the saddle at 5750', head southward, following easy terrain to reach Dewey Lakes. Return via the PCT. Yet another option is to complete the loop around Naches Peak and return via Tipsoo Lake.

Additional Route Info:  On the return trip at the 5946 ft three way boot track intersection I noticed a well worn track to the west and followed this.  This route turned out to be very well defined and I recommend going this way to the summit.  The beginning of this track is on the PCT (GPS: N46 51.770 / W121 29.772), just past the Mountaineers described route above.    At this point there is a way trail that heads downhill towards a large south facing rock that is popular with visitors.  Head past the rock to find the boot track to the 5946 ft three way intersection at N46 51.817 / W121 28.981.  Ducking through bushy trees is necessary to find the track.  Also, note that Tahtlum Peak is outside of the National Park boundary- which can provide hikers with dogs, horses and (depending on the season) hunters.  

Tahtlum, about 1.5 miles from the TH, the boot track- as described in the Mountaineers book cited above.  It's about 1 mile to the summit from here.
The Garmin map shows my tracks to the summit... and shows the Naches Peak Loop Trail- the popular route for hikers.  

It was a nice cool and clear fall morning when I head out from the parking area at Chinook Pass on Hiway 410. One and a half miles on the PCT to the boot track described in the Mountaineers book.  The track disappeared quite often but following the ridge top leads to a three way intersection 5946 ft.  I regretfully took a left on a well defined track for ¼ mile, but retreated after deciding that since no elevation was gained... then this wasn't the way to the summit. Traversing to the top of the ridge at 6400 ft- the track routes along the north slope of the ridge for about 500 ft to a small saddle.  The summit is a short distance SW.

The summit is stomped down gravel- a flat open spot about 6x6 ft.  Great for 2 meter handy talkie work, but no support for a HF antenna.  The station was set up about 25 ft lower on the north side of the summit.  The 20 ft fish pole antenna mast was strapped to a scrub pine tree which also provided some shade.  The Dan's doublet wires were carefully tied off to other small trees in the scree.

KR7W's station:  KX3, LiPo battery, Log, Easy Chair, picnic basket with wine, cheese, and chocolate truffles- black bears favorite.  

On 2 Meters FM contact was made with a ham at High Rock Lookout (W7W/PL-029) from whom I learned that the ARRL VHF contest was in progress.   I let him know that he was on a SOTA summit.  A couple of hours later on the trek back to the TH, contact was made with Grover, KG7O who had just reached the summit of Mt St Helens.  23 HF QSOs were made.  This days station consisted of:  KX-3 @ 6W, Dan’s 44 ft Doublet, 20 ft carbon fish pole, LiPo 3S battery, Straight Key, and Kenwood D72 APRS handy talkie.

From the summit of Tahtlum other SOTA peaks within a short hike and scramble from the TH can be seen:  Naches Peak- 1 mile, Deadwood- 2 miles, Dewey Pk- 3 miles- shown in photos below.  The routes to Naches and Dewey are described in the Mountaineers book cited above.  Of these, I’ve only activated Deadwood.

Deadwood Pk, about 2 miles to the west.  WA Hiway 410 and the PCT can be seen at its base.  

Naches Pk is seen looking west.  The popular Naches Pk Loop Trail circumvents this peak.

A popular Hiking and Backpack destination is Dewey Lake to the south.  SOTA's Dewey Pk is above the lake.  The Peak to the right is non-SOTA Seymore Pk.

On the trip to the summit very few hikers were seen.  The return trip provided at least 40-50 visitors walking the PCT to Dewey Lake and the Naches Peak Loop trail (in Mt Rainier National Park).  This area is great place for hikers to go for a walk in the woods.


72  Rich KR7W


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