Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Alta Mountain 6240'

   I had a devil of a time deciding what I wanted to do for this day. After last week's long and arduous trek I wanted something mostly on trail. I wasn't opposed to a lot of miles or climb but I wanted to avoid anything too taxing on the mind or to wrestle with too much brush. I got up 30 minutes early to try to decide without any success. I picked up Bruce in Issaquah and we had some discussion about the day's objective. First it was Silver, then I decided a return to Hi-Box would be a good fit. I didn't have a parking pass so I parked at the spur road about 1/4 mile short of the Rachel Lake Trail Head. Some time along the way we decided to head for Alta instead. The weather was cool but we both knew that that would be short lived. We kept the pace up making our way for the mostly flat initial 3 miles to Rachel Lake. In short order we reached the climbing portion of the approach to the lake. Bruce peeled off to adjust clothing and I pushed on. I had great legs so I pushed pretty hard up the rooty rocky trail to the lake. In short order I reached the lake and chatted with a lone hiker who was already there.

Shortly thereafter Bruce joined me for a short respite at the lake. Despite the warm sun the temps were perfect with the stiff breeze. After a short stay we headed up towards the junction with the Rampart Lakes Trail. The trail improves despite the increased pitch. I marvelled how quickly we were able to climb above the lake
After reaching a junction we headed North for a short ways before the trail again split. Here we headed left and started the climb past the numerous false summits along the way to the true summit. The colors were a bit past there prime but with the beautiful weather the views were something to behold.

The trail is easy to follow and in good shape. It does pass multiple false summits and does have some minor exposure. Once at the summit I soaked in the views along with the warm sun.

Even though it was still early I needed to get back so retreat I did. We were treated on the descent with an eagle soaring below us, along with the beautiful fall colors.

We had an extended break a couple of hundred feet below the summit before pounding our way back to Rachel Lake. There was a nice couple at the lake that we chatted with before the descent back to the valley floor. It did seem longer on the way out than it did on our way in. Finally we made it back to the car.
Approx 10 miles 3600 ft of climb 7 hours car to car. 

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