Seattle got a bunch of snow! We got nearly a foot where we live and my husband and I were confined to the house for two days. Today, I had to make a break for it. Luckily the roads were in good shape.
A Tiger summit has been on my short-term list and I was glad to get out of the house to do it. West Tiger #3 is a trail that leads to one of the six peaks of Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah Alps area. It is an out-and-back trail that leads to a bald summit.
This hike is off of I-90 and exit 20, High Point. We took a right at the stop sign and another right on SE 79th Street and went all the way to the parking lot. You do need a Discover Pass to park here, but it is also possible to park outside of the lot and hike in for free.
West Tiger #3 is a single out-and-back trail going from the parking lot to the summit. There are a few trails that start from it or cross it, but these crossings are well-signed so that you stay on West Tiger #3. It is about 3.2 miles to the summit, for a total of 6.4 miles. The trail steadily climbs the mountain with very little reprieve from the incline, but it is stair-steep in only one place, close to the summit.
Today the trail was very snowy. In the lower elevation (first mile up, or so), it was icy in some places. The trail is fairly wide in most places, so you can easily pass people. Toward the summit, it narrows a bit. Any windstorm debris has been cleared and there were no issues except for the snow and ice.
I used my Asolo TPS 520 GV sturdier backpacking boots and my Montem poles with the rubber tips removed to expose the sharper metal tips. While I did not use any traction device such as micro spikes, I would recommend them because the snow is starting to be compacted by people walking on it.
The trail provided a steady incline and I had to spend most of my energy watching my footsteps. Though the scenery is woodsy and great, it does not have many interesting features except from the few peek-a-boo views as you climb in elevation. There are a few areas of switchbacks but nothing remarkable.
At about .8 or so miles, the Talus Rocks Loop appears on the right, but I stayed left. The Talus Rocks Loop is an excellent hike if you are looking for more exciting scenery or if the summit is a little out of reach skill-wise.
From here it is mostly gaining elevation, and quickly in some places. Once I got about two miles in, it started becoming really difficult. For me, it was probably mostly mental, but it did get quite steep here. For the first time in my 100 mile challenge, I ran into a bad attitude problem from myself. At this two-mile point, I had to do some internal smooth talking to get myself to not turn around and go back down. It took me about .7 more miles to get back on track mentally.
At .6 miles from the summit, the Cable Line Trail meets West Tiger #3 and the trail/s got a little confusing. I couldn’t tell if the two trails run parallel or not, but I opted for the left trail. At this point the left trail started to narrow.
Once the trail narrowed, I went up a few stairs and to the left I saw an amazing view of the snowy Cascades and foothills. This is the best view you will get on this trail. So definitely stop and take some photos here!
Sooner than I thought, the summit appeared! Boy, was I happy! I met three other women up there. There were a couple of boulders to sit on, but the view was unremarkable as trees had grown up all around the spot. It was sunny and warm and made for a nice break spot.
I stayed for about five minutes to explore and drink some water before heading back down. This is where some traction would have been useful. To be honest, it was not that bad until the last mile down where it was icy. It was mostly compacted powder until that point.
This is a good training or workout hike. There are a couple nice views, but mostly just a trail in the woods. I don’t think I would come here strictly for the views, however. It took me a ridiculous amount of time (4 hours and 30 minutes), mostly due to my attitude issues, stopping constantly, and the snow. I could see that on a non-snow, non-attitude problem day I could do this in about 3 hours or so. Many more fit people were doing it much faster than that. Man, was I glad to get back to my car at the end!