Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Banshee Peak

Excellent scramble on an early wintry day.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Trail to Summerland in good shape, easy to follow. Muddy in places.  Rocky approach to Panhandle Gap had skiff of snow with several inches of soft blown snow in surface gaps.  Icy in places, but still fairly easy to follow and no traction devices needed.  Temps pretty chilly with cold wind at the gap.  About a foot of snow had accumulated in surface gaps on the traverse to Banshee Peak.

Very enjoyable scramble.  The snow added drama to the stark beauty of this area.  Clouds were high with patches of blue sky and many peaks were visible all around, but the top of Rainier was socked in above about 10,000 feet.  No goats or bears were seen.  The mileage and el. gain are understated in the default Mountaineers description; GPS tracked 15 miles rt and a little over 4,000' gain that included up and down from Panhandle Gap to Banshee.  No rain at all, just a little hail on the way down.  A long trip, but well worth it.  My group of nine was very strong and completed it in nine hours car to car, including several breaks and a leisurely lunch with photo ops on Banshee.