South Fork Tieton and Conrad Basin, Sept 3-5, 2005

This was my third trip this year along this general route.  On April 22-23, I was stopped by snow at the top of switchbacks on the main loop trail.  July 7-8, the trail was all clear but I stopped at Conrad Creek in its upper basin because of heavy flow and weather threatening.  This trip, my friend Jer was along.  We made this one a three-day hike, visiting Conrad Glacier and Warm Lake as part of the package.

Quick summary of trail conditions and route...  Day one we went up the north side of the loop, took the hiker trail to Conrad Basin, and camped a little past Conrad Creek.  Day two we visited Conrad Glacier, climbed the ridge to look over into the next valley, then backtracked to the top of the ridge over the loop trail and went up to Warm Lake.  Camped near Warm Lake, came down via Surprise Lake on the south side of the loop. All trails were clear and dry.  At the top of the loop, the South Fork Tieton was practically dried up.  Still good flows in the Conrad Basin creeks up top.  Weather was pleasant during the day, near freezing at night.

Pictures, we got pictures...

This is the South Fork Tieton where it crosses the hiker trail to the Conrad Basin.  Earlier in the year, there were waterfalls on the cliffs above.

An attractive mushroom (Amanita muscaria?)  See also


Some little yellow flower, next to pretty much all there was of the South Fork Tieton at this point.

A female Blue Butterfly.  (I know, it's brown.  The females are like that.)

High on the hillside above camp, there was this red shiny thing...

...that turned out to be a mylar balloon.  I guess these things get most everywhere!

Conrad Glacier from the hillside above camp.

"Skeleton Trees" on the ridge above camp.

Milky Way over the tent around midnight.  (5-minute time exposure.)

Goats above camp.

Approaching Conrad Glacier.

Conrad Glacier and the lake beneath it.  Bit of a disappointment.  More than a bit, actually, given the description in an old guidebook that said the glacier calved into the lake.  More of that global warming stuff, I suppose.

Bone on the moraine.

Approaching the top of the ridge over the lake.  Getting cold and windy at this point, threatening rain.

View from the top.

Flowers on the hill above the lake...

Campsite (see the little blue tent a bit below and right of image center).  The white scar right of center across the drainage looked like a sand-slide.  It would make an interesting place to see up close, on another trip.

About two-thirds of a full circle panorama, on the hillside above camp.

Warm Lake.

Interesting hunk of dead wood.  It struck me as "guardian of the campsite".

Trees at the Warm Lake campsite.

We met a couple of other hikers at Warm Lake -- a pair of young women heading up the ridge to climb Gilbert.

Hiking out, Surprise Lake was pretty but the trail below it was not very pleasant -- lots of switchbacks and horse mess.  Retracing our path around the north side of the loop would have been a bit longer but better, I think.


Page last modified July 4, 2006