Posts Tagged ‘Mt Adams’

Tanner Butte – Columbia River Gorge 2/1/11

Garmin Interactive Map

20.7 mi

Elevation Gain:
5,806 ft

Min / Max Elevation:
78 ft / 4,111 ft

Matt, Dexter, Sadie & I

Tanner Butte had been a hike on my ‘ to hike list’ for along time. Its one of the many higher mileage day hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. I had finally dedicated myself to getting an early enough start to have the opportunity to finish before dark.

The trailhead starts in an awkward spot right off of exit 40 (Bonneville Dam). You can either park at the Wahclella Falls trailhead (just to the right/South as you come off i84) or the Tooth Rock parking lot (just left/East at the fork). Tooth Rock parking is free and is known for access to the Columbia River Gorge Historic Highway that has been converted into a walking / biking path in different sections. Tooth Rock is just West of Eagle Creek (Punch Bowl Falls & Tunnel Falls) and serves as the trailhead for Wauna Viewpoint. We parked at the Wahclella Falls trailhead (requires a NW Forest Pass) .

From the parking lot you walk back (North) towards i84 where the road forks – the hike begins here. The trailhead is halfway decently marked, but beyond this good luck…

Matt and I brought information about the hike; however, it did not completely help as there were many unmarked and obscure roads. We explored a few roads and one finally led us to the top of some ridge dead-ending. Discouraged as we were hiking down we started to plot our itinerary for the rest of the day – possibly hitting up a couple other hikes in the area. We ended up giving it one last shot and found the correct road, which led us to the Tanner Butte Trailhead … finally!

Apparently back in the day you were able to drive to the real Tanner Butte Trailhead. From the get-go the trail is beautiful! It starts with a series of small cascading waterfalls. We had to hike across a small icy creek that required some rock-hoping preplanning to prevent getting wet. My dog Dexter loved walking through the creek hydrating while my brothers dog Sadie is still deathly afraid of water. Sadie would not budge – I had to grab her scruff and pull her across the creek. This didn’t wade well for my feet as they got slightly damp with many more miles to go.

There was a strong East wind that kept the air brisk – chilly brisk that is! Needless to say, I wasn’t willing to bust out my camera much and sacrifice my hands freezing. Much of the hike we stayed in the dense forest somewhat protected from the wicked East wind of the Columbia River Gorge.


[The Snowy Tanner Butte Trail – Dexter loves to run ahead]

Luckily once we got onto the Tanner Butte trail it was mostly easy to follow. As you can see above the trail clearly cuts through the forest. Sections of the trail we hiked were actually an old road. There was a few areas where it almost got away from us (due to the deceiving snow) that we took loose tree limps and logs to clearly mark  the trail to see on the way back.

The snow level had been at a high elevation for awhile leading up to this trip, but since much of the trail hikes through dense forest the snow is protected from the sun leaving us to hike though it. Most of the way the snow was firm and icy. As the snow melted off the tops of the trees the moisture created divots in the snow – this was definitely wearing on your feet and ankles causing your foot strike changed constantly. Hiking a few miles through this type of terrain slowed us down tremendously. As we reach a vista we felt like we were near the summit, but it was a false summit – a beautiful vantage point though!


[Mt Hood with Tanner Butte in the near distance]

It was starting to get late in the day so we had to make some difficult decisions. From the ‘false summit’ we decided to give the summit a shot. After a half mile or so the trail disappeared as did our summit fever. The snow had gotten thicker and icier and the forest had grown a few too many trees leaving us to poor visibility. Just a few hundred vertical feet from the summit we decided it was best to not show up in the news and turn around.


[Mt Adams in the distance]

When hiking you see so many different things – when you are leading vs following or when you are going ‘out’ or coming ‘back.’ As we were hiking ‘back’ we got a glimpse of Mt Adams in the distance.


[Matt in good spirits]

The decision to turn around or keep trekking is a difficult one to make. Like many, I want to reach my final destination – the summit! However, there are many factors that are considered prior to turning around – time/day light, trail conditions, supplies packed, individual’s fatigue. We probably would have been okay, but didn’t want to risk coming back to the wrath of our significant others for arriving way late 😉

IMG_2624[Munra Point just West of us]

On the way back we took full advantage of the downhill keeping a solid pace. With just a couple miles left the sun started to set behind the might ridges of the Columbia River Gorge. It made for a cool shot of Munra Point and reminded me of how steep of a climb it was!  We arrived back to the car just as it was nearing complete darkness. The dogs fell asleep instantly as they probably put in double the mileage we did!


Cooper Spur / Tilley Jane Area 1/22/2011

Garmin Interactive Map

3.91 miles

Elevation Gain:
1,401 ft

Min / Max Elevation:
3,803 ft / 5,213 ft

Kristin, Dexter, Myself

Cooper Spur is located on the Eastside of Mt Hood. Cooper Spur is a smaller resort (hotel/cabins) with one ski lift. The last few winters the resort itself hasn’t had the greatest snow winter with having to be closed much of the season. This side of the Mountain is a nice escape as it is much less busy compared to Highway 26 side with Timberline Lodge, Ski Bowl, Summit and Mt Hood Meadows traffic coming from Portland.


The trailhead is just above Cooper Spur Resort off of the Cloud Cap Road. This trail is popular for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, snowboarders, and climbers. Typically most people hike to the Tilley Jane Cabin area, which is about a 5 mile RT hike. During the winters the conditions beyond Tilley Jane toward Cooper Spur (Top of Spur – 9,000 ft) can be wicked windy. During the summer time the trail is heavily used by hikers as it accesses the Timberline Trail#600 (Loop around Mt Hood).



[Trail is well marked]

This area has changed dramatically over the last few years due to major wildfires. The Gnarl Ridge Fire burnt many acres leaving behind limbless trees. Prior to the fire the forest was dense and cozy feeling – now the terrain is much more open with just burnt trees standing behind. With the help of mother nature the forest’s openness provides much clearer views of the Cascade Mountain Range.


[Looking into the Valley through the burnt trees]


[Mt Hood]


[Mt St Helens]


[Mt Adams]

Sadly, there wasn’t any fresh powder or really any snow. I had packed our snowshoes thinking we may use them on a few steep parts, but it wasn’t necessary as other hikers had imprinted the trail with their large snowshoe prints creating a stairway to Tilley Jane.


[Snow Hiking]

I was surprised how little snow there was and how many bare spots lay at 5,000 ft in the dead of winter! It definitely made hiking less tiring minusing out the extra weight of snowshoes on the feet.



[Dex & I]


[Kristin & Dex]

This is a popular trail for dogs. Most of the dogs (huskies) we saw were more winter-fit compared to our short-haired friend Dexter. Dexter definitely got a workout in sprinting up and down hills investigating the trail ahead. We discovered afterwards that Dexter’s paws were a little raw due to the ‘ice’ so it might be wise to get some booties for these types of conditions in the future…




[Cloud Cap Cabin]

We decided to turn back before making it to Tilley Jane due to the sun setting. I tried reassuring Kristin that I had headlamps and it would be doable – needless to say we turned around and headed for Hood River. We hit up Big Horse Brew Pub in Hood River for a quick burger and brew before making the trek back to the city..

Pacific Crest Trail – Goat Rocks, Mt Adams

Goat Rocks – Mt Adams

51 miles

Elevation: 10,000

goat rocks

[We combined/layered all 3 of our GPS stats]

Daniel, Brian, me

Photo Credit – Daniel took most of the pics (he has a sweet camera!)

More pictures Here!

3 near death situations.. sort of –

  • Saw a tree fall and it definitely made a sound!
  • Saw a giant 200+ pound boulder roll across the trail
  • Traversing eroded rock and glaciers
  • Backpacking 51 miles with 10,000 ft gain 🙂

We started Thursday evening getting to the trailhead off highway 12 (just past Packwood) at 8pm. I was way excited for this trip because it was going to be the largest section of the Pacific Crest Trail I was going to hike to date and we were going to an area I have never explored before.


[the start…]

Daniel, our “trailmaster” had explored this area and had done large sections of this trip at one time or another – but never in its entirety. We were all set with mapping devices – Daniel with his Garmin GPS handheld, Brian with his spanking new Garmin Tri Watch 310tx, and myself with the Garmin 405. Also, we had the old fashion compass and map if all else had failed.

The temperature was chilly and there was a light mist. After much debate I had decided to outfit my feet with trail running shoes versus boots. The weather forecast had been promising with sun. This decision would prove to be the wrong one….

Thursday night we hiked for about 2.5 hours to get about 5miles out of the way. These first 5 miles were gradually climbing through dense forests – so it ended up being the best 5 miles to hike in the dark because we weren’t missing out on any views.

Unfortunately for me, the trail was pretty muddy. Brian and Daniel both decided to go with boots… a wise decision. I ended up hiking between Daniel and Brian so that I would have the best light and be alerted by muddy spots.

A little about me and my feet…

My feet are completely flat – no arch at all. They are long (size 13), wide and are incredibly prone to being destroyed after just a few miles. Blisters are inevitable and a way of life… until I met and fell in love with Montrail Streaks.

Last summer my friend George and I planned to hike the Timberline Loop. I had been going back and forth between boots and trail shoes and had decided to try out my new Danner Boots. Being the procrastinator that I am I waited a few days before the hike to break in my boots and test run them. Inevitably I got the blisters that I probably deserved. After my short test run hike up in Forest Park I immediately went to Fit Right Northwest where my buddy Andrew works. I pleaded with him to hook me up with a shoe that was “blister-free” just 2 days before my hike. After the videotaped gait analyst of my running style and ugly awkward feet he fitted me with the Montrail Streaks. I flip-flopped it for the next two days to eliminate the hot spots I had developed. Without any breaking in I hit the Timberline Trail hard (all terrain- snow, dirt, sand, rock – you name it) and came out a new man – blister free!


[The Montrails in all their glory]

… This is where the story is sad. Montrail Streaks are discontinued. I cannot locate the Streaks anywhere! So I had to put my trust into the North Face trail shoe.

In the first 5 miles in the dark I had already gotten hot spots on my heels. I applied some Body Glide the next day in hopes of stopping the blister build up there… it didn’t work 😦

We had hiked to for a few hours and found a solid camping spot right off the trail that was relatively flat and sheltered from the wind. Throughout the night the wind and rain came down continuously. And then it stopped. My sleep came in the form of 30 to 45 minute naps throughout the night. I immediately noticed the constant sound of the rain hitting our rain fly as it stopped around 4am when the temperature dropped below freezing cooling things down.


[Our frozen camp in the morning]

It was difficult to get out of my mummy sack and be exposed to the chilly morning air. With the sun starting to rise we could see that our camp site was pretty sweet. We were perched on this platform with great views of the sunrise and mountainous valley.


[Sunrise from camping spot]

It was great to get 5 miles out of the way Thursday night. It warmed us up for what was to come, but at the same time low enough mileage we weren’t sore.

After a hardy breakfast we bundled up and hit the trail. Immediately I was impressed with how beautiful the area was.


[the snow covered peaks we would soon hike through..]

For most of the day we were blessed with amazing views of the Mountains and Valleys as we hiked. I was very impressed with the amount of Pacific Crest Hikers that were trekking onto Canada this late. We passed by 15 to 20 PacCresters’ along the trail.

When you hike in an area as remote as this and see very few people it is always nice to stop for a minute to shoot the breeze with other hikers along the trail. Many of the PacCresters’ we spoke with were pushing 20 plus miles a day to beat the nasty snow of the Northern Cascades. As we were speaking with one hiker we heard some crackling of a couple branches falling off a tree. Just as we look to see the branches drop the entire tree went timber falling not 50 feet from us. It was a cool experience to see mother nature being so powerful. However, the rest of the trip we were all weary of the trees as we heard them sway from the powerful winds.


[We took side trail to Hidden Springs… and found the Springs – awesome view from above]



[Good eats on the trail..]



[Let the climbing begin…]



[Almost to the top…]

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[Mid-Hike snooze]

After doing some major climbing it felt amazing to peel off the pack and get off the feet for a few minutes. Having the sun beaming down us in this high alpine meadow and a slight breeze– I could have stayed here for weeks!


[The climbing resumes]


[Looking over the shoulder – man o man have we gone a ways!]


[Climbing through the snow covered peaks]

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Some pretty tricky traversing here. We ended up taking the “stock” trail versus the “hiker’s trail” this trail would prove to be much more technical and dangerous due to the snow fields and loose rock. Through this section the wind was whipping really good causing some loose rock to fall down the hillside. Just as we were coming up over a ravine we saw a 200+ pound boulder come off the top and roll right across the trail diminishing all other rocks in its path. To continue along the trail was a little daunting. I was on high alert.


We hit the last 100 feet or so of traversing. It was probably the sketchiest part. The traverse was much more vertical along some extremely loose rock. My rock climbing background provided me with the mental toughness, body balance, and technical moves needed to get through this small section.


[Goat Rocks, Mt Rainer, Tranversing the snowfields]



[Mt Rainer with a “linticular” cloud looming over the summit – Goat Rocks to the Left]


[Goat Rocks, Goat Lake, Mt Rainer… but no goats :(]


[Our final destination glooming in the far distance (Mt Adams)… Coolest looking camp spot here]

This was one of the coolest camping spots along the trail. Unfortunately for us it was taken and we had to hike for another 7 miles before shutting things down for the night. Apparently this area is accessible by a fairly easy 8 mile hike. Hearing this got me excited about taking our wives here. I began to day dream about spending a few days here bouldering on the rock and exploring more of the Goat Rocks area.


We took a few minutes to watch the sunset over the beautiful Cascade Mountains. We could see Mt Adams, Mt St Helens, Mt Rainer, Goat Rocks and Old Snowy – it was a spectacular site. As quickly as the light of the sun disappeared the Moon’s light appeared. We ended up hiking until 11pm in attempt of getting to the half way point. The traversing/climbing and rock hopping really killed our pace so we had to push through the late night. For most of the  night we hiked under the moon light. I have not done much hiking under these conditions, but absolutely loved it.


[Lake we camped near]

Let me tell ya – it is tough to find a lake at night, especially when you dog tired! We ended up being just a few 100 yards from it so it worked just fine when washing dishes and refilling water. Throughout the night we awoke to 2 owls working together as a team – one was hooting while the other was scanting. After a minute or so if hooting and scanting we heard a loud thump assuming they captured their prey.



Feet problems persist…

IMG_0155IMG_0195 IMGP3008

Early on Daniel hiked a good portion barefooted on the wet forest floor to allow his soggy boots to dry out a bit. My usual MO of blisters was the issue so I hiked about 11 miles in the flip flops. After flip-flopping it for a few hours I developed other hot spots so I switched it up with some barefoot action as well. At this point the trail was soft and mostly made up of sand.


I’ve heard many stories of people getting caught on Indian land and things not working out so well for them. As I understand it – the Pacific Crest Trail has right away. We fortunately did not test to see – we steered clear of their property!


[Mt Adams… Getting closer]

The entire trip we knew that our exit point was Mt Adams. We first saw Mt Adams towards the end of Day 2 as we were hiking through Goat Rocks area. From Goat Rocks on we pretty much starred at Mt Adams the entire way out. We kept looking up and thinking – wow that is a long ways away!


[The END! ]

Daniel’s family had come up to the area during the day hiking around and went swimming in the lakes. Daniel’s Dad was so gracious to wait for us and hike out the last 4 miles. It was nice to have him along for the last bit as he told some great stories and boosted morale. At the truck his family had left behind cookies, sandwich fixings, fruit, and hydration. It was definitely refreshing to eat something other than power bars or candy. We all limped into the truck and ate like Kings. Not but 30 minutes into the drive I was out and then suddenly awoke in Portland. I definitely appreciate Daniel’s Dad for hooking it up big with the food and driving us out of there!

Over all I truly enjoyed the hike. I would however recommend taking 3-4 days to truly enjoy the area. On many parts we weren’t able to explore as much because of time constraints. I plan on adventuring back to the Goat Rocks – absolutely beautiful country!

Munra Point

July 17 2010

2643 Feet
5.7 mile Round Trip (plus Wahclella Falls 2 mi RT)
Myself, Kristin, Brian & Nina
Munra Point Hiking Photos

Munra Point Garmin Connect – Details

Brian and I were set on summiting Munra Point on a clear sunny day as our last hike up Munra Point was foggy/cloudy/windy/rainy. We recruited the girls to join us with great promises of amazing pay offs at the summit. We purposely kept the elevation gain on the dl. Only until we were approaching the trailhead did we discuss the steepness. A few miles before the exit Munra Point is visible from Interstate 84 –

munra point i 84 I always like to park at the Wahclella Falls trailhead as there are many great hikes in the area. I usually hike Wahclella Falls as a pre/post hike to my hiking day as it is just 2 miles round trip. This time around we hiked it pre Munra Point.

Wahclella Falls is located just a mile in a small gorge. The high basalt walls, beautiful flowing creek and powerful waterfall make this place a photography hot spot. While we were there 3 vans full of photographers pulled up and started setting up at multiple points near the falls.

The water was definitely cold – much colder than Oneonta Gorge! I walked into the water to snap a few shots of the falls and could only withstand the frigid water temperature for less than a minute.


[Wahclella Falls]

After our quick Wahclella Falls outing we started our “real hike.” The trail was extremely overgrown and looked like it hasn’t seen much trail traffic (i imagine most approach Munra Point from the West). Brian and I cleared the way for the girls chopping down overgrown weeds/brushes utilizing our multipurpose trekking poles.

The approach from the East entails hiking on Gorge Trail #400 for nearly 1.4 miles until the “up” begins. The cut off trail up to Munra Point can become overgrown and difficult to locate sometimes, however, people are good about placing markers along the trail. These markers are great to locate the trail and to keep people on the actual trail to prevent further erosion. Munra Point is an unmaintained trail – Please keep to the trail to prevent more erosion!

From miles 1.5 to 3 things are pretty steep. You start at about 250ft and end atop at mile 3 at 1,870ft. The key is to take your time and find good rest spots. There are a few great rest spots that allow you to sit down and relax for a couple of minutes to rejuvenate.

IMG_9223 [Picture taken in May – the first time we hiked it – Great rest spot that shelters you from wind/rain. Located in the midst of the steep climbing in the forested area next to the exposed basalt rock wall.]


[Rest stop 2 just above 2nd rock scramble area… great views]


[views… Looking West towards Multnomah Falls area]

. IMG_0628 IMG_0661IMG_0637

[Towards the top the trail turns vertical – Brian reaching the top of Munra Point]

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[LEFT: Nina, Kristin & Daisy atop Munra Point RIGHT: Mt Adams, Bonneville Dam, Columbia River]

We hung out at the top of Munra Point for about 30 minutes or so. Looking out on the Columbia River we could see white caps on the river and could definitely feel a strong breeze atop Munra Point from time to time. It was comfortable on the top with a decently flat area to rest as we ate lunch and soaked in some sun. The views are spectacular – Beacon Rock, Mt Adams, Mt Rainer, Bonneville Dam, Bridge of the Gods, St Peters Dome, & Columbia River.

The trek down always seems to be much more difficult. Not only are you fatigued mentally and physically, but with the rocky unstable trail you are more prone to slipping requiring much more concentration and slower movements (equaling muscle burning!). I enjoy taking it slow to have a chance to divert my eyes from my feet and gaze off to enjoy the scenery.


[Taking it easy hiking off of Munra Point]

Larch Mountain – Columbia River Gorge


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Now that we are in the Holiday season I find myself with even less time to get out and play. So to “get my blog on” this week I decided it would be best served by reminiscing about one of my favorite hikes in the Columbia River Gorge – the almighty Larch Mountain.

Larch Mt is one of my favorite hikes in the Columbia River Gorge due to its close proximity to the city and diversity of scenery along the trail. This hike can be done a few different ways –

Popular Starting Points: Larch Mountain

Multnomah Falls*

Horsetail Falls

Angel’s Rest

These are a couple of my favorite approaches. Multnomah Falls is definitely the shortest amongst all. However, Multnomah Falls (15 miles RT) is usually crowded and makes for a longer hike having to weave in and out of the numerous people making the “short” hike to the top of the falls. The “short hike” to the top is a far too common misconception amongst tourist as well as many Portland Metro Goers. Despite people even being able to visually see where the top viewpoint (noting the elevation gain) and seeing the mileage marker sign of 1 mile at the trailhead.

*A side note* – I have hiked up this trail passing women walking in high heals, pregnant women, people that were pulling up their 16 year old son in a wagon, morbidly obese people who look like they are going to collapse out of exhaustion, and many other misfits – but hey, at least they are out there right? Multnomah Falls recently has updated the one mile climb up with signage on each switchback to show what # of switchback you are on and the distance to go so people can decide if they still feel its worth it…

The trail follows up Multnomah creek most of the way up providing for beautiful views of multiple waterfalls and vistas. At the top – Sheppards Point 4,050 ft – views of Mt Hood, Mt Adams, Mt St Helens, Mt Rainer… on a clear day.

The first and last 2 miles are the most strenuous. Generally speaking – in the Columbia River Gorge, the first mile of most trails are steep and strenuous climbing to the top of the ridge of the gorge.

Just beyond the top of Multnomah Falls the trail traffic slows. The trail parallels Multnomah Creek for most of the way as it continues a slow but steady incline up to Sheppards Point. There are many waterfalls ranging in size – each very unique in their own way.

Three bridges cross over Multnomah Creek as the trail winds through the rugged hills up to Larch Mountain. Shortly after the third bridge crossing there is an open rock clearing. At this point it begins to steadily become steeper.

The next big trail juncture is 2 miles from Sheppards Point. The last 2 miles of the trail climb through a highly dense forested area with little visibility of the surrounding area making it difficult to navigate in the dark or when snow is on the ground.

I have gotten out of some sticky situations by understanding the topography of the area. I have hiked this trail in June on an 80+ degree day and 2.5 miles from Sheppards Point we hit snow. By knowing the topography of the area I knew it would be more efficient to stay along the ridgeline rather than following up the trail through the dense snowy forest. Many people have gotten lost in this area by coming into similar situations – the dense forest turns people around and disables their sense of direction completely.

I will be the first to say I have been lost. I actually like to phrase it more like “I was temporarily misguided.” I believe that being lost in somewhat of a controlled environment (comfortable weather; within close proximity of civilization; readily prepared – food, first aid kit, emergency blanket, etc) only strengthens your abilities to navigate and survive in more extreme situations. In some of my experiences of being lost people have the tendency to make irrational decisions that can potentially be damaging. It is absolutely quintessential to think clearly through each decision and action taken.

For all day hikes I go prepared with –

  • Day pack
  • Water (water treatment – iodine tablets)
  • Food (energy bars, trail mix, candy, etc)
  • First Aid (athletic tape, alcohol pads, pain reliever)
  • Clothes (Layers, rain jacket, fleece, gloves, beanie hat)
  • Knife
  • Whistle
  • Emergency Blanket
  • Headlamp
  • Fire (matches/lighter)

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Happy Hiking!