They were successful, but they did not take the glacier route, they took a different route on rocks and stuff, and they were not rock climbers. I was really worried, but ignorance is bliss I guess? Even though many people stop at Tin Pan Gap where the glacier climbing starts, some people are just never satisfied
While I agree that it's definately safer to bring mountaineering equipment, out of curiosity I found some route beta for the brave or foolhardy - those who end up here without an ice axe (and possibly crampons too - report doesn' t mention them):
John Guilford's September 23, 1989 Trip Report says:
The glacier under Tin Can Gap has some pretty good exposure. If you started sliding, and couldn't stop yourself, you'd go quite a ways before some crevasses stopped you. However, unlike my conclusion the last time I was here, you didn't really NEED an ice axe (although it was nice to have - I'm glad I brought mine). It turns out that you don't have to go very far across the gap (last time I thought you'd have to go a considerable distance across the glacier, all the time being exposed). At the gap itself, instead of the snow being corniced (as I imagined it might be), there is solid ground (and even the trail!) on the other side. You have to go maybe 20 feet over the top of the glacier, then you hop over the top onto the ground and continue along a trail on the "far side".
Also see Michael's September 3, 1998 Trip Report which is fairly detailed about his experience with an axe but no crampons.
To each their own I guess.
Better safe than sorry is what I always think.
Of course, I always use the same decision making process. If I question whether or not I should use the axe or crampons, I immediately use them. When there is exposure, I do not want to be a statistic. Up here in the Northwest there have been too many accidents altely. Just look at the news page on my web site (www.nwog.org), and see all the accidents that are happening. Of course you can never be prepared enough or experienced for the most common problem, whch is...."shit happens".
"I hate summiting something with glacier climbing equipment and then seeing someone else do it in sneakers and no axe or crampons."
Were the people in sneakers without axe and crampons successful in reaching the summit and getting down again? Did they have any accidents?
It should be noted that in the late summer (end of September), the route to the summit can avoid all the step snow. It is then just a long hike.
At Tin Pan Gap the trail goes up and over the rock hump to the right. (Can't miss it).
Around the second bump the trail goes 200' down a dirty chute. It is fairly steep, so if there is hard snow, you might be able to avoid it by going down on the the glacier, (obvious when you get there). Some people have reported they climbed along the moat at the top of the glacier. Take the chute if at all possible.
From there, the trail is well stomped and/or marked with cairns.
Just before the top, there is a south facing snow/ice slope, (not part of the main glacier). This can be avoided by hugging the left (west) side. You probably have to step on snow at the very top of the slope, but it is flat.
The final section to the top is a cairn marked trail.
The last 30 feet are on ladders. Very cool. Not really any exposure to worry about.
We are traveling through the area and were hoping to bike/hike/climb up to the 3 Fingers Lookout on Friday, spend the night, and hike back out on Saturday. I'm hearing mixed reports about whether we can stay in the lookout tower. One Forest Service person answered the phone and gave us the thumbs up and encouraged us to go, on a 2nd call I made for clarification about parking our vehicle a different person answered and told us it's locked and we have no access and shouldn't go up there.
I'm wondering if anyone knows of someone I can contact to get confirmation? Apparently someone does go up there and do a bit of maintenance and someone does open the lookout up each year?
There was a recent article in Backpacker magazine that led me to believe it's accessible, though strenuous and relatively unmaintained, which we are fine with.
We are aware that we need to mountain bike Rd. 41 in order to get to the trailhead.
Any information you might have on whether it's worth making the effort to get up there would be really helpful!
Good question. To the best of my knowledge, the lookout is never locked, but sometimes difficult to access because of snow on the route. The second time I went up there a forest service ranger had told me over the phone, "the lookout is locked, the ladders are broken, trust me, you won't make it". All untrue.
Did you go to the lookout? Curious as to trail & snow conditions.
Yes, I did, but the last time was in 2008. My friend Redwic went up recently though. I suggest asking him for more detail. Or you can check out his trip report.
We posted updated information and info about our recent maintenance trip at:
Contact info is there for anyone wanting to help out. The lookout has a few urgent needs. Thanks
I saw that report. Very cool! Thanks for posting the link.
Hey, I don't know if you remember or not, but I ran into you once out by White Pass.