A truly amazing lookout. A must see. Some third class to get to the ladder leading up to the lookout.
Got to TH at 7:00am and had the place to myself. Cloudy and off and on rain on way up. Got a quick view thru cloudbreak at summit. Lots of rain and people on the way out.
Left the car in pouring rain which soon turned to snow. The sun broke through here and there but the clouds never completely cleared. Still, views from TinCan Gap along the ridge is fantastic. We stayed on the rocks and never stepped foot on the glacier, which was very icy. The 2.5 miles between the TH and Saddle Lake is the worst part of this climb and unfortunately, is the last 2.5 miles of your long day.
In crappy conditions, it took us 6 hours up and 4 hours down.
Went up to do some maintenance on the lookout. Geat views along the way. Spent the night on top and got to see a nice sunset. So many bluberries!
Spectacular views from Goat Flats to the summit. Ladders to the lookout were easier than I had heard.
It's always fun trying to rock climb off-route with no rock pro.
Left TH at 3:00PM! Got to Goat Flats, raced up to Tin Can Gap in an attempt to catch the sunset on the glacier. Missed it, camped at the gap, and summited the next day. Passed several groups coming down, 12 people had slept in the lookout that night! (We had played flashlight tag with them from our camp). Upper snowfield was solid ice. We used crampons going up, opted for the rocks on the way down. Awesome view!
Beautiful trip. Perfect weather. We (my girlfriend, that is) decided on impulse at 5:00 am to change destinations from Camp Muir to Three Fingers just as we were getting out of bed that morning. We left the trailhead at 8:45 and were on the summit by 1:00. This is such a scenic trip, I was surprised that we didn't see more people on the route. I guess it may be the mileage and the exposure that turns many of them back. Being that it was late in the season, and a low snow year anyway, it was possible to avoid the snow and ice completely (though we did cross it going up to save time). I found it convenient to dump my pack on the ridge near Tin Can Gap. It looks like it is easier to get up the ladders and through the chimneys without it. Great trip!
WHY is this climb not more popular? This is a great climb, one of my favorite ever and i've got 150 lifetime summits. Of course the fact that the weather was bomber perfect helped. Great meadows and vistas, varied climbing challenges and then....the ladders. Very cool.
Since this hike takes almost as long as there is light in the sky, we drove up friday night and slept in the truck at the trailhead. A 6:30 start also ensures the first few miles are done while only semiconscious. The first five miles to Goat Flats were quick and uneventful, the campers just starting to stir. Immediately above the flat is a snow patch. We mistakenly followed the tracks up and straight ahead, as opposed to the correct move of going down and right. When the 'trail' petered out, we spotted the actual path 400' below us. We found our way through the trees and cliffs to scramble down a rock slope, much to the distress of resident marmots. The fat boys are everywhere, just about ready for a six month nap.
The trail was well defined into a basin where it crossed several small snowfields, and switchbacked up to Thin Spam Gap. It seems like an average hiker could definitely make it to Dim Ram Gap. The view from Spin Clam Gap includes the Queest-Alb glacier, the true name of the peak we call Three Fingers. Not wanting to haul boots and crampons, we followed others advice and walked the moat. It was cold and a little weird. A little scrambling took us up on the ridge, and across a well stomped path at the glaciers edge. Afterwards the trail stays on the south side, with only an occasion airy step. More switchbacking up through rocks, straight up a snowfield, another rock scramble, and three cool wooden ladders brought us to the top.
Unbelievable views of the Boulder River Wilderness, Puget Sound and all the islands,and of course, three ancient volcanos. We could see the Coast Range in Canada! How about 4000' straight down into the Squire Creek basin? Woo-hoo!! All good things must come to an end, and the arrival of a dozen boy scouts prompted our departure. Despite the length of the trail, it was the biggest crowd I've seen all year. Bugs were bad until crossing the gap. Saw one group crossing the steep glacier in tennis shoes, no axes. Bad, bad, bad. Talked to many friendly people, and didn't see a single dog. Many flowers were out, and several hawks were riding the thermals. If this trail wasn't so long, it could be five stars.
Approximate statistics: 16 miles r/t, 4000' elevation gain, 5 1/2 hours up, 4 1/2 hours down, 1/2 hour wondering where we missed the turn, and two days of sore calfs.
Left Seattle at 345am and got to trailhead at 530am for 6 am departure. Got to Goat Flats in 2 hours, then to the summit in 3 hours. We were the first ones to summit that day, although a group of 4 spent the night in the lookout tower. Hung out on top for about 30 minutes before descending. Saw way too many people out of their element that were traveling on thin ice (actually!)
I hate summiting something with glacier climbing equipment and then seeing someone else do it in sneakers and no axe or crampons. I call it ignorance I guess. There is some high exposure on the glacier traverses, where we encountered some 45-55 degree slopes.