Tatoosh Traverse

March 6-7, 2022

Me on our first real uphill stretch heading towards Unicorn peak.

The Tatoosh Range...

is something of a little Cascades playground, and I fall in love every time I step foot in it. Having only really skied Lane peak in the winter and scrambled some peaks in the summer, Dan and I were itching to get to know this area during the winter months better! However, the park closes the Paradise road each day from 4pm to 9am, and it makes it hard to feel comfortable getting a big day in without worrying about getting stuck in behind a gate unexpectedly. This is where quick overnights shine! We found the one two-day stretch in all of March that we had off together, and quickly pulled together our overnight packs.

We got up to the Narada Falls parking lot at 9:30 and were walking by 10am. We decided to skin Steven's Canyon road to get out to Unicorn peak and travel west from there. The commonly climbed peaks in the Tatoosh range are: Steven's, Boundary, Unicorn, Foss, Castle, Pinnacle, Plumber, Denman, Lane, Whapaneyo, Chutla, and Eagle (from East to West). We decided that Steven's and Boundary were going to be too far for our tour, as well as Eagle and Chutla. This left 8 peaks still for us to try to explore - more than enough for two days!

As we traveled up Unicorn Creek, we noticed a lot of refrozen wet loose slides all throughout the basin. They had clearly happened in the days before, but still gave us pause, and reinforced the fact that the skiing likely would be very bad. With the warming afternoon taunting us, we decided to skip an attempt at a summit of Unicorn - we'd likely have needed a rope anyway - so instead we zoomed up to Foss peak.

From Foss, we skied down to the col on the East side of Castle mountain. We decided to camp at this col as well, as it was almost halfway and in a beautiful spot! Hard to have a bad time when you're gazing at 4 volcanoes for your sunset and sunrise. After a lovely breakfast of ramen (yes, it is better than oatmeal or a cliff bar...), we took off towards our next peaks!

We skirted around Pinnacle, which needed a rope, and topped out on Plumber and Denman. Both just steep snow climbs at the time we were there. Looking over to Lane and Wahpenayo, we decided we'd skip Lane, having been to the top already, and just go for Wahpenayo. Ultimately, our plan was to ski the North side of Wahpenayo to get back to Narada falls before the gate closed at 4pm. After getting halfway to the peak and realizing we were short on time, we decided to bail and just ski down the col on the East side of Lane peak.

Found some Wolverine tracks!

Trying to climb Castle

Skinning up towards the Unicorn col.

Our stunner camp just to the East of Castle peak.

Me climbing out of Tatoosh creek. Some... Tree bouldering?

While this col looked really skiable, and we saw tracks descending towards the creek, we found very quickly that the bottom of the col was lined with cliffs. Ack. After some shenanigans and bootpacking, we finally found an exit on the West side of the descent and made it down to the creek. Some creek crossing shenanigans also ensued, but we made it to the other side and were up and out of Narada falls before we knew it.

Ultimately, a beautiful weekend with adventures galore! Not too shabby of a way to spend a weekend.


  • Total mileage of the weekend - Around 15 miles

  • Total elevation gain - Around 5,500ft

  • Total moving time - According to Strava, around 6.5 hours? I think it didn't track our time bootpacking...

  • Max slope angle of the day - Descending ~ 45 degrees; Ascending ~ 50 degrees

  • Song that was stuck in my head all day - "Girls!" by Terror Pidgeons

  • Strava Day 1: https://www.strava.com/activities/6789839211

  • Strava Day 2: https://www.strava.com/activities/6789844313