April 26th 2008
Elevation Gain 3900 feet
Equipment needed: snowshoes, trekking poles
I will be honest with everyone when I say this but this mountain truly surprised me with its beauty. For my friend Aaron it was only is second snowshoe trip and his first good trip. As for me, I was looking for a long but technically easy summit with moderate views and that would have a couple of glissades. Teneriffe fits that bill and more.
Aaron and I got to the trailhead around to the trailhead around 9 am in the morning. There actually is a decent crowd. The road started off rather level and within minutes we were past the Kamikaze Trailhead (i.e. This is not a trail). Nothing special here on the lower terrain to report except that the road maintained a gradual pace for the first two miles. It then steepened to a moderate grade for the next two miles. Snow started to show at about the 2500-foot level and by 3000 feet just before the first minor overlook the snowshoe had to come on. The road here kept climbing a moderate to steeper road grade for the next two miles until the trail opened up to goods view towards Mount Rainier and the rest of the I-90 corridor. The snow was pretty compact up this section and people could walk on it. However the sun was quickly loosening it up and postholing for non-snowshoers would have started to be a problem.
The road here leveled out and actually descended slightly for the next mile and a half or so until reaching another great northerly view of Bessemer and the Route 2 peaks off in the distances. We ran into a French couple up there that had no snowshoes but were trying to reach the summit. They gave us some sunscreen, which we forgot. They continued up barebooting but were quickly turned back due to the snow. When we saw them coming back we decided to lend them our snowshoes so that they had a chance to reach the summit and decided to follow them behind hoping for a beaten down route. Unfortunately the snow was so soft from the snow that this clearly turned out to be a mistake. We were seriously postholing on this section. They set up the snowshoe path and we were all quickly in the woods traversing over a false summit (no good views and covered with trees). About a quarter mile into the traverse the French couple decided to give in and gave us back our snowshoes. Luckily we postholed over a route for them so they did not have to do the same postholing on the way back.
After they gave us the snowshoes we pressed on traversing the ridge and head down the wooded false summit while being hit on the head with snow bombs that were coming form the trees. But quickly within the next quarter mile we hit the 100-foot final push to the summit. We decided to take off the snowshoes because barebooting to the summit would have given us good traction. This actually was a good idea because that final push was well beaten in. This 100 foot steep push was easy though today because the snow was very soft. We made the summit zone where we realized a very large cornice had developed along the northern edge.
The views from this peak were beyond amazing. A perfect 360 covered this mountain with views of Seattle and the Olympics, Si, the Issaquah Alps, the I-90 corridor; Glacier Peak, Mount Baker, Mt. Rainier and the Alpine Lakes Region marked this top. I believe that this view is much better than nearby Mount Si, but than again I have never been on Mount Si when it was not snowing or icy (I still haven’t been on that Haystack; hopefully soon). This was one of those summit times in which you know you have to leave but you can’t get yourself to leave. The weather was perfect, the sun was mountain and mountain was showing us all of it grandeur.
After about an hour on the mountaintop eating lunch and enjoying the views, it was time to leave the mountain. Aaron took the footpath down where I decided to do two true glissades and one glissade where I actually fell down the steep path (I hope that the on trail slip doesn’t ice things up at all) and he just took the footpath and hike down to our snowshoes. We then put on the snowshoes and followed our footsteps back (I did notice footprints heading straight down and assume it was the Kamikaze Falls boot path). As we traverse the ridge while getting hit by snow bombs. But soon we back on that road back down. We notice that the snow had softened dramatically and that the postholes from that French couple were clearly present. Both of us were really glad that we brought snowshoes because it was like a constant posthole for the next three miles. I can only imagine the pain they were in later in the evening. Hopefully they pick up a pair of snowshoes for their next trip.
The mileage was really starting to catch up with us though. This was the longest hike I had done in while, and though we were making decent time down the mountain clearly both of us were getting tired. Once we broke snowline though we just hit cruise control and headed for the bottom. We got back to the car around 5:30 and head on back Seattle.
Overall this mountain was a great trip. I would highly recommend this snowshoe trek because of the fact half those most of the mountain is well below timberline there are plenty of great views along the way. Save this mountain on your winter list because it is well worth the 14-mile trip.