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Hike NE (slightly right) up the loose rock then snow at the bottom of Zigzag Glacier from the Mississippi Head area for another Y mi fairly steeply. Traction devices will help to  Karaj Iran completely and safely clear the very top of Zigzag Canyon at more than 8000 ft. See  Karaj Iran the ski area and the top of the Palmer Lift as you traverse E directly toward the lift (perhaps through rock and scree). Mountaineer Trail 798 is reached around 8000 ft, close to the lift, where you begin to descend S almost immediately a fun 1Y mi or so to Timberline Trail. Feel free to glissade down snow-filled gullies W of Palmer Lift that double as ski runs in winter. Continue down these gullies W of Karaj Iran chairlift, or the adjacent rocky Mountaineer Trail, to the  Karaj Iran right along the ski area boundary markers, without difficulty to Trail 600/PCT. Turn left on Trail 600 Y mi easier to the final juncture near the TH. Or cross Trail 600 to stay on Trail 798 traversing roughly the same distance to Timberline Lodge.

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ELEVATION: 9300 ft, with 3400 ft vertical gain.

DISTANCE: 3 5 mi up, 7 mi round-trip with or without a loop; 3 mi round-trip alternate Mountaineer Trail loop (see Trip Report) without Illumination Saddle.

DURATION: 3-3V hours up, 5-6 hours round-trip with breaks; 1V-2 hours round-trip alternate loop.

DIFFICULTY: Strenuous. Route-finding, rocky, narrow, multiple paths, possible rocks falling from above Illumination Saddle, crossing snowfields, glissading, traction devices helpful but not necessary most times in summer, crevasses not likely but not unheard of late fall on Zigzag Glacier.

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