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19 October, 2014 Scarface

KR7W's picture
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19 October, 2014   Scarface   W7W/RS-029

Directions to the TH are from the book '100 Peaks in Mt Rainier National Park' by the Seattle Mountaineers:

"Drive to Enumclaw, WA and head east on SR 410 toward Mount
Rainier. Turn right on FS 73 and drive 10 miles until you
reach Eleanor Creek. At this point the road is almost directly
on the northern border of the park. There is a sign on the left
side of the road marked “Eleanor Creek, elev. 4520.” Park just past the sign".

Our goal for this outing was to hike the E-W ridge west to the summit, do the SOTA thing, hike the N-S ridge south to the Grand Park Trail, enjoy the views as we hiked back to Lake Eleanor. 

It's 100 yards to the National Park boundary and one mile to Lake Eleanor on a boot track originally made by fishermen.  Hike another 4/10 mile on the National Park trail to Grand Park to the base of the E-W ridge ('Scarface X' on map below) up towards the summit of Scarface.

CAUTION:  Before I go any further... The Mountaineers book I cited above rates this climb with a difficulty level of 2 (out of 5).  I personally think it is a bit more difficult.  Also, I do not recommend going to this SOTA summit unless the seasoned hiker possess decent route finding skills.  The hike is mostly in dense forest with very few landmarks to sight to. A GPS with an adequate map is highly recommended.


The hike along the E-W ridge is about a mile.  There's hundreds of blown down trees to navigate around.  If I interpret my GPSs stats correctly... the one mile straight line route ended up being approx 2.5 miles of walking.

We followed the ridge for 3/10 miles until a large rock outcropping detoured us to trek along ascending the steep ridge at approx 100 ft below the ridge line.  Because we are not on top of the ridge- we are walking at a steep angle.

The map shows a 'bump' at 5800 ft along the ridge.  After passing under the bump, we hiked up 30 V ft to see what we could see from the ridge top.  The above photo shows our destination.  At this point I am somewhat discouraged because it's taking more time than I budgeted and we aren't close yet.

We arrived at the true summit about 50 minutes later than I estimated.  I began the activation with 2 meter FM and attempted to make comms with hams in Tacoma.  I was barely heard on the club repeater.  My only contact on 146.520 was with a ham driving through an espresso stand in Mt Lake Terrace, WA, north of Seattle, 63 miles away.  Also, there were no APRS comms until I reached the summit. 

HF propagation was sketchy due to a CME, so I had to cut the activation short after 10 QSOs to be sure to have enough daylight to safely get back down the N-S ridge and then to the National Park trail back to Lake Eleanor.

The trek down was nice at first as we walked on game trails along the N-S ridge.  We ascended a high bump on the ridge for the views and could see Grand Park and some of Mt Rainier.

After passing the bump we ended up on a rocky drop off.  At this point we had run out of time to follow the ridge down to Grand Park.  We descended east following the lay of the land hoping to intersect the National Park trail back to Lake Eleanor. The lay of the land took us to many detours around trees and rock formations which resulted in the 'not the most direct way' to the trail.  A mile on the Nat. Park trail to the lake and another mile to the car gave us one hour of daylight left.

Credits:  Hiking partner Ms Pat WT7N for the photos and encouragement to keep going to the summit after the going got tough and frustrating for me.  Thanks to chasers for the QSOs and waiting for me.  

End of Blog.  72, KR7W

*** Hover mouse pointer over photos below for captions ***

Scarface in Mt Rainier National Park, Garmin Trail Map
E-W Ridge to Saceface
E-W Ridge to Saceface
E-W Ridge to Saceface
E-W Ridge meet N-S Ridge on Scarface
Summit of Scarface
KR7W on summit of Scarface
Scarface rocky face from summit
Grand Park in Mt Rainier National Park
N7KRN's picture


A hearty "Well Done" for a difficult summit and the excellent trip report. Wish I'd been around to work you.