Eagle and Chutla – 08-04-2013

This was a wonderful alpine scramble to the summits of Eagle Peak and Chutla along the Tatoosh Range in Mount Rainier Park.

Participants include Dennis Pointek (leader), Jay Crafton (co-leader), Terry Bartlett, Bill Borom, David Cotter, Nicole Hansen, Ettie Matza, Rhonda Miller and Jeffrey Patterson.

Eagle and Chutla – 08-04-2013 (Fullscreen Slideshow)

References:

  • Green Trails Mount Rainier West No. 206
  • Day Hiking: Mt. Rainier National Park Trails, by Day Nelson & Bauer, Eagle Peak Saddle
  • 50 hikes in Mount Rainier National Park, by 50 Spring & Manning

Activity report from the leader (Dennis Pointek):

Left Longmire about 8:20. Despite listing the trip as slow. All our group moved quickly up the trail reaching the end of the trail at the Eagle saddle at 10:30. The climbers trail leaves the saddle on the eastside of the ridge. Gains the ridge bypassing two tiny gendarmes on the ridge. The climbers trail climbs 100′ along the ridge traverse to the west side by going through some trees. Then it drops down the west face to about 5820-5840′ Before taking a ramp that heads back climbers right as it heads toward the ridge gaining it at 5890′. The crux on this trip is a long step up about 1/2-3/4 along this ramp. After reaching the ridge its just a short walk up to the main summit reaching it at 11:25. We had made such great time up. We decided to get a little hand line practice in. We broke out the rope and used some time to talk about anchors, knots, hand lines, and safety. It was suggested by are acting co-lead (Jay) that it would be good for all leaders to practice this once a year on a real trip. I agreed and this was a perfect trip for it.

After finishing the practice exercise we made it back to saddle and followed a climbers path that lead up to Chutla. The climbers trail stays on or near the ridge at all times. It was a little brushy (B.B. level one)in a couple area were you climb through clumps of trees and a few spots along the ridge that you may need a veggie belay or two. We reached the summit around (2:40 ish). Took some time naming peaks and enjoying the sun.

We left the summit at 2:55. The leader mistakenly (that being me) took us down one short but wrong 15 foot section. That was a “little harder” then what we had went up I thought to myself. Shortly after getting to the bottom of this section I realized my error as I was standing on a mossy ledge that obvious that no one had used before, but was doable. We gained the ridge got back on route and followed that down the ridge bypassing one exit gully after another looking for a particular one that we (Dave and I ) had spotted coming up the ridge. We missed it completely coming down and made it back to main trail at the saddle next to Eagle.

We continued down the trail making it to the cars at around 5:20 (not keeping track). I stopped once on the way back to get water at 4350′ more for just taking a break, but one of only a few spots to get water. The stream cuts the trail and is a logical spot on a hot day but at only 600′ vertical feet above Longmire most won’t need it.

Driving Directions
To get there, drive east from Tacoma on State Route 7 and bear left onto SR 706 at the town of Elbe. Continue east through the Nisqually Entrance of Mount Rainier National Park, and proceed to the Longmire Ranger Station and Lodge. Park in the area behind the lodge. Trailhead GPS coordinates (46.748271,-121.807666) National Park Pass or entry fee required.

Hiking Stats:
8.62 miles, 3575 ft. gain, 9 hrs 35 min.

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