Mount Teneriffe

October 30, 2022


North Bend, WA

Mt. Teneriffe is one of those hikes in the immediate vicinity of North Bend but it isn’t nearly as popular as Mt. Si or Mailbox Peak. About 6 years ago I drove down south and scrambled Mt. Si. I was saving these objectives for the down season when I really didn’t have much other options. The weather forecast for this Sunday was terrible but I happened to be in the area thank to the annual Bulger party on Saturday. I didn’t want to drive that far down south without bagging a peak, so even with an “atmospheric river” approaching the west coast I was still keen to ascend something. Selena and Dave from the party decided to join me and we agreed on Mt. Teneriffe. Originally I was considering West Tiger Mountain but I was happy to jack up the ambition a little bit. Selena had done this hike almost 30 times and she ensured me that it’d be sheltered from the weather system.

I drove out to Issaquah the night before and slept in my car at a local trail-head. I woke up at 6:15 am and drove to a neighbouring McDonald’s to get some food. Selena grabbed Dave and I from that same parking lot and we drove out to Mt. Si parking lot. We were there just when head-lamps weren’t needed (7:30 am) and the entire lot was empty. The forecasted rain had not started yet and we hoped it’d hold for another couple hours.

Mt. Teneriffe roughly via the standard route. GPX DL

The lower portion of this hike follows some well-engineered trail to the viewpoint of Teneriffe Falls (formerly known as Kamikaze Falls) and much of this lower trail was actually on an old logging road. We ignored the switchbacks under the falls to make a straight-up ascent using the old trail. These switchbacks were newly constructed on top of the old trail and we all rather preferred the more direct option. From the Falls we picked up the proper trail ascending onto the forested SW Ridge of Mt. Teneriffe. This entire zone was steep and there are even some spots with scrambling and minor exposure. The grade on the ridge was actually not as steep but nonetheless it was an unrelenting grunt to the very top. We encountered fresh snow on the final stretch below the summit but there wasn’t any post-holing involved. The snow did make the footings extremely slippery at places. The summit was soaked in as expected, but the rain had been mostly holding off. I anticipated a miserable ascent but it was actually not too bad.

The lower trail follows some old logging roads
The fall colours were apparently still here
Looking back towards Mailbox Peak
Selena and Dave hiking through this only area with views
Dave taking the old trail to bypass the unnecessary switchbacks
Ascending steeply onto the forested ridge
The typical plod up the SW forested ridge
Started to finally encounter fresh snow
The final push to the summit. It was windy and wet but not rainy
Negotiating some slick terrain.
Me on the summit of Mt. Teneriffe

We didn’t linger any longer than necessary on the summit knowing the weather was not going to improve. We made careful work down the slippery, snow-covered section and then enjoyed a leisure descent on the soft trail bed. We again, used the old trail to short-cut those switchbacks under Teneriffe Falls and continued taking the old trail by skip that huge circle on the old logging road. I think we saved at least 15 minutes of boring road-walking by taking this exploratory short-cut. This would not be possible with Selena’s expertise of the area as none of the old trails was labelled on my Gaia map. The rain however, was still holding off so the forecast was quite wrong. We made back to Issaquah at lunch time but I somehow did not feel hungry. Instead, I pushed the northwards drive in one shot and got home a few hours later. It started to finally pour cats and dogs when I drove into Burlington area.

Selena starting the descent as the weather was supposed to get worse
Descending back through the misty ridge
Dave on the few scrambling steps
The trail is very steep…
Selena led us exploring the old trails much farther down than I anticipated.