Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Cowlitz Gap & Rocks (winter)

Perfect conditions and with a strong team finished with time to spare

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow was perfect for snowshoes, a few inches of fresh powder and solid snow underneath.   The last 100 feet to gain the top of the rocks was hardened ice and needed crampons and ice axe to get through.  IMG_4005-01.jpeg

Met our party of 8 at Renton P&R at 7 and got to the lower gate of Rainier at 8:45.  Gate opened soon after 9 to get up to Paradise with us on trail at 10:15.    Temps were forecast to be in the 20s, but with mostly sunny skies and light wind, it always feels hotter than that especially going up to gain the ridge into Von Trump. 20200308_103709-01.jpeg

Snow was in perfect conditions for snowshoe travel and made good time up the glacier towards the rocks all the while enjoying the day that was turning out better than forecasted.  By 12:45 we reached just below the rocks and changed to crampons, axes, and helmets as the last 100' of slope (as always) was very hard ice under a dust of powder.  As soon as we were able to touch rock, we were no longer sheltered from a 10-15mph bitterly cold wind coming from Panorama so we took a couple of photos and then quickly descended down to the glacier for lunch.  Weather held for the entire day and surprised we were the only snowshoers out that day (with only a few skiers zinging past us on the way back).  DAC03295-01-01.jpegGot back to the cars at 3:30 with a good hour before we had to leave  Paradise to beat the gate.  Strong group this year which beat the time by 45 minutes from the year before (maybe partially due to not enjoying the view from the rocks as much)