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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Cowlitz Gap & Rocks (winter)

We began this trip with a mediocre weather forecast. Our student majority scramble lead to proactive and safe decision making in the face of some legitimate snow scramble hazards. The weather turned out much better than expected and the only downside was crummy snow conditions that made us work harder for the summit!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We started down the paradise valley road and starting gaining elevation at the 4th crossing tralihead, right after crossing the paradise river. We took a low avy danger trail up towards Cowlitz rock, veering around the Stevens creek. The Paradise glacier that we expected to skirt on, around the creek, was nearly no more, leading to a longer creek than expected. We ended up crossing the creek (on a hefty snow bridge) rather than going to the glacier source. 

    We heard multiple waterfalls break through the snow on the cliffs to the east of us on the non-existent glacier, so it was a good decision to cross the creek and avoid the runout of the cliff band to the east.IMG_1019.jpg

Great trip with a great group! The weather held out long enough to enjoy the summit and make it back to paradise valley road. The last slog uphill in the rain seemed to take forever!

The majority student group was posed with multiple route finding and hazard decisions. They discussed decisions together and chose the best decision for the conditions and risk at hand.

The snow was pretty wet and heavy even with minimal sunlight throughout the day. We used snowshoes up until the rocky summit block. We attempted glissades and found minimal success. We were slogged down with the wet snow on all but the steepest slopes. IMG_1033.jpg