Ascent of South Tiger Mountain on 2017-01-07

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, January 7, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:South Tiger Mountain
    Elevation:2020 ft / 615 m

Ascent Trip Report

This hike is a good alternative Tiger Mountain trip when the trailheads at High Point/I-90 and Poo Poo Point are crowded. There is a fair amount of parking available on a wide shoulder on the west side of Tiger Mountain Road. Most cars I saw there had Discover Pass permits showing, but there are no signs in the area at all except for a small one noting the start of the trail on the east side of the road.

It was a cold day and there was still quite a bit of ice and snow on the trail, and microspikes might have been a good idea--I did slip once. The trail traverses a section called "Calkins Cliff", which is really just a steep forested slope, but impressive for an area this close to the city.

At Hobart Gap I took the South Tiger Traverse Trail, when under some power lines (whose clear-cuts provided a nice view). The trail then went uphill, crossed a new plank bridge, and started ascending the summit of South Tiger #2. When the trail turned left to traverse, I struck off and did some easy bushwhacking in very open forest to the top of the #2 sub-peak. I should have stayed on the main trail a little further, though, since in a short ways (at a gigantic stump) an informal trail heads uphill right to the same place.

South Tiger #2 is in mature forest, and the summit had a register box on a tree, with a few scraps of paper in a lidless container. I saw footprints in the snow and picked up the informal trail now, which I took north and down shortly into a recently clear cut area ("working forest" is the DNR euphemism). Without tall trees, the snow was much deeper here, and footprints from earlier hikers made the route through a dense, unvegetated-in-winter thicket through the notch and then quickly up to the main summit of South Tiger.

The summit has some benches to sit on and the clear-cut provided some good views to Puget Sound, the Olympics, and East Tiger. A big stump near the benches seemed to be on the highest ground.

I retraced my steps down into the notch, and after the thicket a broad logging road headed downhill. It looked likely to intersect the South Tiger Traverse Trail, so I followed it down as it curved to the north--the wrong way, but better than snow bushwhacking, I thought. Eventually I came to my trail junction, turned left, and to my dismay saw that the trail paralleled the road, almost immediately below it, for a good ways. A short bushwhack would have saved me quite a bit of distance.

The trail eventually brought me back into the mature forest, past the big stump marking the start of the herd path to the #2 summit, and finally the point where I had left the trail on the way up. The rest of the hike was uneventful--not many people on the trails, and some caution needed due to the compacted snow/ice in some places. Overall a pleasant and easy winter outing.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1680 ft / 511 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1680 ft / 511 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.8 mi / 11 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Cold, Windy, Overcast
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1600 ft / 487 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1500 ft / 457 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:3.1 mi / 5 km
    Start Trailhead:South Tiger TH  520 ft / 158 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1580 ft / 481 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1500 ft / 457 m; Extra: 80 ft / 24m
    Gain on way out:80 ft / 24 m
    Distance:3.7 mi / 6 km
    End Trailhead:South Tiger TH  520 ft / 158 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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