• Activities:

    Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking, Rock Climbing

  • Skill Level:

    Advanced

  • Season:

    Year Round

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    1400 Feet

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Lake
River
Scenic
Waterfall
Wildlife

Summit a prominent Tatoosh Peak in Mount Rainier National Park, with incredible views in every direction. The route combines snow travel, rock climbing, and fun glissading/skiing.

Start this route at the Narada Falls Parking lot. This route starts by following Stevens Canyon Road until you arrive at Reflection Lakes after 1.5 miles. About halfway along the lakeshore a path breaks off to the right into the forest. This is a popular route so there is often a snowshoe path beaten in (during winter season). Follow the path, or if there is not one, find your own way through the forest until you reach the open slopes below and between Foss Peak, The Castle and Pinnacle Peak (from left to right). You are aiming for the saddle to the left of The Castle. Careful route selection through here is important as it may be avalanche terrain in certain conditions.

When you arrive at the saddle the views really open up. This is a good turn around point if you are not comfortable with steep snow, or rock climbing with exposure. From here you can see the backside of The Castle, where a snow slope leads to the rock wall, which is much shorter on this side and features many ledges and steep gulleys to allow passage to the summit. The rock pitch is generally short and ranges in difficulty from 4th class to about 5.6 depending on route selection. Confident parties can reach the summit without climbing gear. The summit ridge is a very exposed assemblage of rock pinnacles forming a long fin, traversing the ridge and down climbing from the summit requires some technical skill and should only be attempted by experienced climbers. The rock, unlike most in the park, is very clean, solid and provides many interesting holds.

Once safely on the ground, celebrate, high-five, enjoy the world-class views and then return the way you came.

Shout-out to my friends Oren and Mikey, with whom I made a successful ascent of The Castle.

Pack List

Your pack list may vary greatly depending on the season, conditions and skill level.

  • Snowshoes
  • Ice Axe
  • 10 Essentials
  • Guide Literature
  • Whiskey
  • Friends
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I would recommend saying what mountains, cities, and other views you can see from the hike. Which for The Castle on a clear day, you could see St. Helens, Adams, Hood, Rainer, Little Tahoma, part of liberty cap, Paradise, Tatoosh Peaks like Pinnacle Peak and Unicorn Peak, and the Mount Aix Range. Or at least say anything like that. “World Class” doesn’t describe much. I love the hike and am exited to do it again this winter once the snow settles.

5 months ago
5 months ago

Tobin Akehurst Explorer

I am from the Pacific Northwest, where the mountains meet the sea. When I eschew the trappings of the modern world and venture into the mountains I feel as though I am revived by simplicity, renewed by the power of violent geography.

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