We Attempt Pinnacle Peak

It’s impossible to hike the trails around Reflection Lake without admiring Pinnacle Peak just to the south of Mt. Rainier. Eventually, we noticed hikers heading up a trail right across the road from Reflection Lake which we later found is marked “Pinnacle Peak Trail.”  However, since we usually hike Reflection Lake at the beginning of summer, Pinnacle Peak looked too steep to tackle.  This year after a few easier hikes, we thought we were in good enough shape that we would tackle it. 

We started out confidently through the Old-Growth forest, with Mt. Rainier barely visible through the trees.

Mt Rainier Through the Trees

We were still going strong as we neared Tree Line and Rainier almost became completely visible. 

Mt. Rainier Emerges from the forest

We knew we were finally above Tree Line when we were greeted by a Marmot family, 

3 Marmots

Unfortunately, once we were above Tree Line, the trail got rougher and narrower with steep drop-offs which triggered Leslie’s Acrophobia.  She decided that she didn’t want to go any further but urged us to go to the top.

Thinking the top couldn’t be too much further and it wouldn’t take too long to get to, Paul and I decided to plow ahead.  Turned out to be further than we thought.  After 20 minutes of steady climbing, it was clear that the top would be at least another 30 minutes ahead, which would have meant that Leslie would end up waiting nearly two hours for us, and, looking across the ravine to the next mountain peak, it might take even longer than that.  

After some discussion, I decided I could settle for a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier, despite being unable to see Mt. Adams and St. Helens from the top of the pass.

Mt. Rainier from the South

So, we headed back to where we had left Leslie, resolving to return another time when we didn’t have to leave anybody behind.  

I still can’t quite shake the idea that when you don’t reach your intended destination that the hike is a flop, but as I age I consider it more of a failure when you don’t try to go beyond your limits. I spend the hiking season testing my limit.

2 thoughts on “We Attempt Pinnacle Peak”

  1. That’s the thing about mountains: they keep looking like the next one is the peak, and then you climb that peak and you see three more above it. I’ve been lost & wandering in circles like that all day a time or two: humbling!

    Hang in there, Loren: it’s the effort & the experience itself that really counts! (And great shots of birds & peaks help, too…)

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