A Loop of Fay Peak, Mount Pleasant & Mother Mountain

Where: Mount Rainier NP, Cascade Range, Washington
When: July 2008
Partners: DB
Route: 3-peak Loop (Class 3)
Mileage/Gain: 8/3,000

Heading in to Mowich Lake on the seldom-visited northwest side of Mount Rainier National Park, DB and I were appalled to see the lake completely frozen over. Geesh, we thought we'd left the heavy snows behind.

And so my big plan for a multi-peak loop the following day withered away. At bed time we settled upon the simple affair of a climb of Fay Peak the next morning instead.

Next morning, we crossed heavy snow to the ranger cabin at the lake, passed a mostly buried picnic table along the way. From the cabin, we started up steepish, snowy slopes and then traversed left until we got into the drainage that would lead us to Knapsack Pass.

Soon reaching the pass, we dropped down below cliffs and traversed right until we could gain a steep, loose slope that led to steep, slippery heather that lead to steep blocks that ultimately led to the crest of the ridge below Fay Peak. Alright! Mount Rainier blossomed into view!

Crossing the ridge to Fay Peak

Crossing over a false summit of Fay Peak, we continued along the ridge and soon found ourselves on the small highpoint. Woohoo! What a day! The sky was blue, the sun was warm, and the lake below was starting to melt...kinda.
Mount Rainier from the summit of Fay Peak

Mowich Lake from the summit of Fay Peak

With conditions so stunning, I asked DB if she'd mind me going off to bag nearby Mount Pleasant. Of course not!
Looking over to Fay's false summit from the true summit

Returning to Fay's false summit, I dropped down steep rock and began the tedious up-and-down process of traversing over to the over peak. With several gendarms and other slow-down features between the two points, it took me about thirty minutes to reach Pleasant's top. From there, the views of Rainier and over to Mother Mountain, a striking summit to the north/northeast, were awesome.
Looking over to Mother Mountain from the summit of Mount Pleasant

Making my way back to DB, I gathered her up and we headed back down to Knapsack Pass. There, we bumped into a man with his nephew and two daughters. Talking for a few, we made vague plans to hike up Mother Mountain together. Setting out, DB and I soon passed them...and never saw them again. Hmmm.
Mount Rainier & Mount Pleasant from the Fay Peak ridge

Mother Mountain from south of Knapsack Pass

Gaining Mother's very nice, hugely exposed (on its south side) summit, we again took in the expansive views of a solitary-rich environment. What we'd expected to be a short, single-peak day had become a multi-peak classic affair!
Heading up Mother Mountain

On the summit of Mother Mountain