Trout Lake

141 reviews

This trail is typically done in two days. Most people camp too early. I strongly suggest camping on your left-hand side of Lunch Counter right before the big push up. However, the right side did have a running stream from snow melt. All camp spots have access to snow for melting drinkable water. The camp spots are typically parapets made of lava rock with sandy floors. They make excellent wind breaks. We did this the last two days of July and I brought way too many warming layers. It was maybe 40°F on lunch counter and 60°+ in our 2-person summer lightweight. I suppose you should always prepare for a cold snap tho. Bring crampons and axe. The glissading chutes are deep and although steep, they are safe to slide down and I’ve been told on good years you can slide down all the way from the false summit to Lunch Counter. Bring a waterproof layer for glissading. Also, some snow gators would have been helpful. My wife’s feet remained dry with the gators, mine were soaked. Bring extra socks and leave another pair in the car. There was a large mountain sheep that gets within arms reach that apparently lives around Lunch Counter. The smoke from all the fires blocked our views of Hood, St. Helens, Rainier and others, but we could kind of make out the shapes. The top was super windy and cold. Bring some warm layers in daypack for the last ascent. I suggest snow gloves.

The Rangers’ at the ranger station were not very helpful. They warned of a massive thunderstorm when multiple websites we checked had “sunny w/ heat” advisory. I asked where she got her information which she seemed to take as a challenge, and said “NOAA is the only one you can trust for mountain climbing. Also you can’t see anything with the fires anyway.” SASSY! NOAA confirmed a heat advisory. We took her warning with skepticism and checked it out for ourselves. It was super sunny both days. I’m really just ranting at this point, but she would say things like, “conditions at altitude change in an instant,” and “It gets dark under those clouds real quick,” but when asked, she admitted she had not been up there and had no intention of climbing a mountain.

All things considered, this was a great climb. Will do again.