Many climbers in Seattle have there favorite bailout peaks. Amongst the favorites are Mount Si, Cougar Mountain and Tiger Mountain. For me I prefer Teneriffe over many of the others because:
a) It is much less crowded than many of the other mountains
b) Though the road way is a slog, there are a lot of areas on that route with decent views
c) The summit have 360 degree views and on a clear day this mountain is a total gem
d) The trailhead which is located below 1000 feet is available year round
e) Though small avalanches have happen on the auto road, avalanche danger is much lower than on neighboring peaks
f) 14 miles roundtrip and 4000 of elevation gain is always good enough conditioning for larger mountains
QueztalCoatl and I have very big plans this summer. If half of them come true this will truly be a special year. After last year amazing run of hikes and climbs both of us want to stay in condition for 2009. With the combination of snow falling in the pass, QC’s car having issue and a number of other people bailing on us, Teneriffe looked to be our best option. We both loaded up our packs with about 40 lbs of gear and decided to go for the summit. We decided to take the slog road because it looked like the Kamikaze Falls trail was washed out. We found out later that this was not true. The weather in the beginning was partly cloudy. But the higher we went the more the clouds came in and the snow started to fall. The snow below was very packed and crusty so there was no need for snowshoes on our trip. I used mine but they were actually more of a determent due to the hard crusty snow and ice. Crampons were definitely the better way to go today. That being said bring snowshoes on this hike in winter because if you either to run into a fresh coat of snow or the snow has softened due to the sun the snowshoe will become required!!!!
On the way up the extra weigh in the pack really impacted us, especially QC. Normally very fast, he had to go a little slower than his normal pace, especially in the uphill areas. That being said we still made decent time up the slog road and in 3 hours we were in the saddle where the main road ended. Once off the road we bushwhacked over the false summit (I remember the false summit from the first trip) and then to Teneriffe. From here we took a little different then the route me and Aaron took last year. We went up through the trees all the way to the summit and it’s cornice. Total time here was 30 minutes from the saddle. The cornice this year wasn’t nearly as large as last year and unfortunately the views were much more covered up by the snow. Still though the summit of Teneriffe impresses with it’s great northern cliff and steep southern side. You really feel on top of the world with this summit.
After another hour on the summit we decided to head back down. The leg down past the very steep forest and the icy hill was quiet treacherous. I had to break out the axe on this area. In fact there were some spots where the ice was so solid I couldn’t even dig in with my axe. It was slow going here but we made it down this section.
The rest of the way down was uneventful. I did give a look at another summit in the area, but with Curtis being tired and concern about time I decided to pass until next time. We did get one small glissade in but other than that nothing too much. Still for a snowy day this mountain did it’s job. It was a great workout and a new summit for QC. Now if only QC knew what he was missing view wise. Another great day in the mountains. Hopefully this hike will help continue great thing in the future.