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Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake

Mount Rainier Area, Washington

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Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake

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  • Avalanch lily (Erythronium montanum).- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Snowpack along Unicorn Creek.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • - Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • - Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • - Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • - Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • - Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • View looking down at Snow Lake.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • View looking up at Unicorn Peak (6,917').- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Sitka mountain ash (Sorbus sitchensis).- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Snow Lake.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Boulder field exposed above Snow Lake.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • - Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Explorer's gentian (Gentiana calycosa).- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • View toward Unicorn Peak pinnacle (6,917').- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • - Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Repelling down from the Unicorn Peak pinnacle.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Repelling down from the Unicorn Peak pinnacle.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Lupine meadow in front of Stevens Peak.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Lupine (Lupinus), magenta paintbrush (Castilleja parviflora), and western bistort (Polygonum bistortoides).- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • View looking west back at Unicorn Peak from Stevens Peak.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Viewing of Tatoosh Range looking southeast toward Goat Rocks and Mount Adams (12,280').- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • View looking northwest toward Mount Rainier (14,409').- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Contributor Josh Lupkin looking down before descending back to Snow Lake.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Sunset along the Tatoosh Range.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Rappel from the summit of Unicorn Peak.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Evening view of Mount St Helens (in the far distance) from the Tatoosh range.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Mount Adams peeking over the shoulder of Unicorn West.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • A panoramic view from the summit of Unicorn Peak. Contributor Josh Lupkin is setting up the rappel rigging on the summit tree.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Sunset view of Unicorn Peak and Unicorn West from the summit of Foss Peak.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Setting up a rappel from the tree-lined scramble down to the snowfield.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
  • Ridgeline of Foss Peak just above the Unicorn Peak boulder field.- Unicorn Peak via Snow Lake
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Views of Mount Rainier and Goat Rocks. Fun fifth-class climb and rappel at summit block. Low use.
Cons: 
Technical skills and gear required. Trail hard to follow in snowy conditions. Cliff hazard and avalanche potential.
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Region:
Mount Rainier Area, WA
Congestion: 
Low
Pets allowed: 
No
Recommended Equipment:
Ice axe / crampons, Harness / rope / anchors
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade IV
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,400.00 ft (731.52 m)
Parking Pass: 
Mt. Rainier National Park Entry Fee
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
6.00 mi (9.66 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,574.00 ft (1,394.16 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Mount Rainier National Park provides some of the most spectacular sights in the Pacific Northwest. Among these sights is the jagged-topped Tatoosh Mountain Range that erupts out of the shadow of Mount Rainier. Unicorn Peak, the tallest peak in the Tatoosh Range, towers over the alpine lakes below providing picturesque scenes of seasonal creeks, basalt cliffs and knife-edged ridge lines while offering breathtaking views of Mount Rainier throughout the climb. In the winter months climbers must ascend steep snowfields above Snow Lake, while the summer months present tedious scree fields that keep the challenging spirit of this climb alive. A technical single-pitch rock climb brings the adventurous climber up the east face to the 6,917-foot summit overlooking the entire Tatoosh Range.

Early in the season the trail should only be attempted in the company of an experienced alpine climber as snow and avalanche conditions may produce hazardous conditions. The snow covered trail can be challenging to follow, but the dramatic terrain makes navigation by map and compass a breeze. The rock pitch at the top presents opportunities for the beginner traditional climber to place protection up the 5.6 east route with a fun rappel down the overhung south face.

Note: Two backcountry campsites flank Snow Lake, and both require a permit. One site is first-come, first-served, and the other can be reserved in advanced by calling the Longmire Wilderness Information Center (360.569.6650).  The park offers countless opportunities for one and multi-day hikes and climbs. While the Tatoosh range offers more of an alpine climbing experience, there are many nearby trails for the less technical thrill-seekers as well.  For more information contact Mount Rainier National Park (360.569.2211).

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