Mar 26, 2011
- Type of Outing
- Day hike
- Read More in our Hiking Guide
- Hike: Summit Lake
- Region: Mt. Rainier
- Agency: Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Snoqualmie Ranger District
- Trails: Summit Lake (#1177)
- Avg Rating: 4.12
- Be Aware Of
- Snow on trail
7810 was clear of snow until a half mile before the Surprise Lake road. We parked at the Surprise Lake junction and started our trip. The snow is appx. 4 feet deep on the road.
The trek up was great! Great warm-up to tackle the "trail" ahead. The only thing at the trailhead was the board sticking out of the snow. We started on the trail, then to the drainage of Twin Lake. Followed said drainage to the lake proper. Great snow through the trees with small hints of Bearhead. Once we reached Twin, headed West toward Summit. We climbed straight up the cirque heading North to eventual cliffs and great views of Bearhead. Continued on ridgeline to level ground, then dropping into the lake basin.
Had lunch at the lakeshore and discussed our line to the summit. Ended up agreeing the fastest way to go was up the rideline on the Southwest side of the lake. Encountered 10 foot tall cornices all the way to the summit. Navigated on the lee side, picking our way through the trees. Summit view could've been better due to storm moving in, but snow falling is always a pretty sight. Made a few turns down the prominent chute on West side of lake, back down to the lakeshore. Skinned across the Southwest end of the lake to complete our loop, and back to our lunch spot.
My favorite part of the trip was skiing through the second cut trees. The snow was excellent, and routefinding back to the trail head was easy. As we descended in elevation, the snow turned wet, and I got a tricep workout from the Coplay road back to the rig.
I would recommend this winter skin trip to anyone familiar with backcountry travel. Bring your legs with you, they WILL get worked.
All in all an excellent early Springtime trip!