Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Comet Falls, Mildred Pt, Rampart Ridge Loop

A great way to access snow accumulation as we move towards the winter scramble season. This beautiful counter-clockwise loop provided lots of variety (both scenery as well as skill practice) during an unexpected day in the sun.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • All the bridges are still in.  Significant snow did not begin until ~4000’ and by ~5000’ we were into some serious post-holing with a hard crust (yet not so hard to allow standing on it, boo hoo ;).  Probably would have used snowshoes (had we brought them), yet the crust might have caused problems with the leading edge. We were hoping for light, unpacked snow cover that was easily brushed aside by our boots, this was definitely not the case.  The hard crust/post-holing conditions have apparently been caused by substantial precipitation of all kinds with a radically oscillating freezing level. The relatively short distance of the post-holing (2-2.5 miles) allowed our successful loop in spite of the difficult conditions.

This counter-clockwise loop added appreciated variety to the normal out-and-back route.  The party did a great job navigating via compass between the Cougar Rock Picnic Area and the Comet Falls Trailhead (note the relatively straight section of our route in this photo):


… and we made good time on the Comet Falls trail to view the greatly decreased volumes of water going over the falls:


With the difficult post-holing conditions we appreciated the start of our descent (Pyramid Peak, our original venue in the background):


Even better, the hard crust conditions left at ~4900’ which allowed us to really start boogeying along Rampart Ridge.  As our original venue of Pyramid Peak had been a longer trip we added to the workout by traveling the entire length of Rampart Ridge and descended from Point 4100 on the trail just West of Longmire.  A great workout at ~15 miles and ~4000’ elevation gain at under 10 hours.  Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.