By: Greg Gerlach
I woke up Thursday morning wondering if the weekend weather was going to be good enough to squeeze in one last trip. The forecast called for a chance of showers on Friday, with better weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday. Therefore, my plans were set. I gathered up my gear and packed the backpack in preparation for leaving early Saturday morning.
I was up early Saturday morning and on the road by 6:30 a.m. for the 280 or so mile drive to the trailhead. I followed Dave Johnson's driving direction to the Red Lake trailhead, which I got from climber.org. His directions were right on. The road requires a high clearance vehicle, and a fourwheel drive vehicle is recommended. Upon arriving at the trailhead, I was surprised to see 3 other vehicles and a group of two hikers just starting up the trail. I grabbed my pack and was on the trail heading for Red Lake at 12:30 p.m. This was a good time of year to do the peak because of the cool weather and the fact that the trail would be miserable in hot weather due to the lack of shade. The trail starts off by going steeply up the ridge, levels out slightly as it contours over to Red Mountain Creek, then continues steeply up the canyon along the creek before leveling out again 1/2 mile prior to reaching Red Lake. I overtook the 2 other hikers at about the half way point to Red Lake. I reached the lake at 4:00 p.m., where I made camp and read and relaxed for the remainder of the evening. At around 10:30 p.m. I heard two climbers returning from a climb of Split Mountain.
The next morning I was up at 6:30 a.m. and hiking towards the peak by 7:30 a.m. I had attempted Tinemaha twice before, and both times failed to get the peak because I did not pay close enough attention to the map. I was not going to make the same mistake a third time. The route leaves Red Lake and ascends steeply northward to a valley. The upper reaches of the valley had recently received a light dusting of snow during the past week, which melted and refroze to form ice, causing the rocks to be extremely slippery. Nonetheless, I made good progress up the valley, proceeding to the obvious low point just southwest of the peak. From the low point I climbed up the northeast ridge of Tinemaha, passing several peaklets along the way, and arrived on top at 9:30 a.m. The climbing was class 1 through the valley and class 1-2 along the ridge. After signing the summit register, I followed my ascent route back to Red Lake. By the time I started down, the ice on the rocks had melted. I arrived back at Red lake at 11:00 a.m., packed up my gear, then hit the trail. I lost the trail in the willows after about 1/2 hour on the trail, and it took me another 1/2 hour of bushwhacking to find it again. I arrived at the trailhead at 2:00 p.m. and was home at 7:30 p.m.
Trip statistics: 15.0 miles and about 6,000 feet of elevation gain.
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