Chutla Peak is another prominent named peak located in the Tatoosh Range along the southern boundary of Mt. Rainier National Park in Washington State. Another high point along the Tatoosh Traverse, Chutla lies immediately southeast of Eagle Peak and northwest of Wahpenayo. Chutla commands exceptional views of Rainier and the eastern peaks of the Tatoosh on a clear day. A fair number of visitors hike to the Eagle-Chutla saddle -- although probably only a fraction of them continue on up the narrow northwest ridge to Chutla's summit.
Chutla is easily combined with Eagle just to the north on the same trip, and sometime is climbed in combination with Wahpenyao, or other peaks along the Traverse for a full day outing.
Getting ThereFrom the Nisqually (southwest) entrance to Mt. Rainier National Park, follow the road ~7mi to Longmire. Turn right at the entrance near the Longmire Wilderness Information Center and drive through the housing area for the park employees, crossing a narrow one-lane suspension bridge over the Nisqually River. The trail starts on the left/east side of the road, a short distance past the bridge. Alternately you can park at the Wilderness Info Center and hike in.
Red TapeA fee must be paid on entering Mt. Rainier National Park.
When To ClimbChutla Peak can probably be climbed all year 'round, but is probably best done in the late-spring/summer/fall season (July-Oct). In the winter season it may be easier to go directly up one of the steep gullies on Chutla's southwestern flank rather than coming directly from the saddle. There is some exposure along the ridge -- and cornices may prove a problem. There may also be some avalanche danger on Chutla. The road to Longmire is usually open during the winter.
CampingThere is camping permitted within Mt. Rainier National Park. The closest car-campground is at Sunshine Point just inside the Nisqually Entrance. A backcountry permit (available at the Wilderness Information Center in Longmire) is required for camping up on/near Chutla Peak. There are a couple of flat areas near the saddle, although MRNP requires backcountry camping to be 0.25mi away from any road or established trail.
Mountain ConditionsMt. Rainier Trail Conditions
This site posts the current trail conditions for the Mt. Rainier area -- the status of the Eagle Peak trail can give you a good idea of what to expect at least on the approach.
Mt. Rainier Paradise webcam. On a good day, Eagle Peak is visible left-center -- this can give a good idea of conditions in the area.
Mt. Rainier Recreational Forecast