Tatie Peak - 7385' & Grasshopper Pass - 6530'
 Pt. 7125 / 7528 / 7540+ / 7405
Miles: 16 Gain: 6400' GT Washington Pass #50
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 September 24-26 , 2010
I can honestly say that in addition to wonderful views of the North Cascades and Pasayten peaks there really are grasshoppers to be found at Grasshopper Pass.  Water along this part of the PCT is scarce this time of year, but if you know where to look (as Carrie and Dave did) you're all set.

Stanwood (P&R) was wet and overcast as we met around 7:30a to carpool.  A pleasant drive on Hwy 20 to Mazama where we made a quick stop for pastries and coffee before driving 19 miles up the road to the TH near Harts Pass.  This road has a reputation for being rough and exposed, a real white knuckler.  There is one section about 1/2 mile long where the road clings to the hillside but it seemed pretty well engineered and maintained to me.

A short distance before reaching Harts Pass go left on FS Rd 5400-500 up hill past Meadow Camp to the road end.  Locate the PCT at the west end of the parking area.  By starting here, we were able to save some time and 2 miles of hiking on the trip in to set up camp.  Given the iffy weather, getting camp set up early seemed a good idea.

The trail spends just a short time in the trees and opens quickly on to a talus slope before rounding the west shoulder of Pt. 7405 in an old burn.  From there it climbs slightly to a saddle then dips as it contours below Tatie Peak to another saddle continuing a mild descent while crossing the double basin NE of Pt. 7528.  About mid way across the second of the basins you'll see an established camp on the trail.  Not more than 100' below is the water, which for us was not visible from the trail.  There are 3 more (largish) well established camps below the trail here all within easy walk to the water.

With camp arranged we decided to hiked back up to the PCT to check out Grasshopper Pass perhaps making a side trip to explore the ridge above.  As we hiked along the peaks nearby were drifting in and out of the clouds on the whim of the breeze.  On the trail it was mild and pleasant until we turned north from the pass up the broad shoulder of Pt. 7528 and the wind got hold of us. We all made it up to Pt. 7528 but Dave

and I couldn't resist the freedom of walking the easy ridge north for a while before turning around and heading back to camp with the others.

The next day we woke late to swirling fog which would in short order burn off leaving just blue sky behind. This time as we set off for Grasshopper Pass we could see much of what was only hinted at the day before. Golden Horn, Tower Mtn, Silver Star, Handcock Ridge and a knock your socks off view of Azurite and Ballard Mtn's just across Slate Creek to the west awaited.

An easy ridge walk south from the pass brings you to Pt. 7125 and more great views.  Glacier Pass is visible 1500' below, Brush Creek and an up close look at Handcock Ridge.  Dave and I started down the south side of Pt. 7125 with the intention of trying to get to Pt. 7073, but were stymied by a knife edge section after a few hundred feet.  We likely could have figured out how to drop down a 100' or so to get around it, but it looked grungy, loose and given our mood on this nice sunny fall day, too much like work. 

Instead we returned to the pass and repeated our path up Pt. 7528.  The prospect of walking this high ridge in the sun was too good to pass up. We followed the ridge top to Tatie Peak where we met the others before returning to camp for dinner.

Steady rain overnight but by 6:30a when we all started to get up for breakfast it had pretty much stopped.  We were abe to pack up our wet gear and head back to the cars by about 9:00a.  On the way out I couldn't resist wanderling up Pt. 7405, for no other reason than the trail crosses about 400' from the summit.

An uneventful drive back to Mazama and then a little further east to Winthrop and lunch at Duck Brand before making the long trek home. My first time to Duck Brand. The burgers were large and good but they don't serve either of my post hike favorites... french fries or onion rings.  Seems odd to me not to have something deep fried with a burger.
drive Hwy 20 to Mazama (11 miles west of Winthrop).  Go left in one mile on Harts Pass Road (Lost Lake Rd or FS Rd 5400) past the Mazama General Store.  The pavement ends in 7 miles and a good if often exciting gravel road continues for 12 additional miles.   Just before Harts Pass we went left On the Meadow Campground Road, and then right up hill on Rd 5400-500 to a parking area and access to the PCT. This shaves 2 miles off the hike to camp vs starting at Harts Pass.

more reports:
WTA - wolfwoman

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