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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Foss Peak

Six Olympia and two Everett Scrambling successfully completed a snow scramble on a nice weather day.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Stevens Canyon Road is still closed and is estimated to open on May 14th per MRNP website.  Hence, we started from the Narada Falls trailhead.  The snow was firm in the morning but softened as the day progressed.

We had a group of 10 - 6 Olympia students, 2 Everett students, Todd (assistant leader), and myself.  Since it was an experience scramble for our students, the students were aware that we would utilize the time to practice our snow travel skills and with any luck, we would have a fun glissade at the end. 

We met at Narada Falls at 7:30 and were on our way up the "Narada Wall" at 8:00am up to the Stevens Canyon Rd.  The snow was firm, so with microspikes on, we kickstepped up the slope occasionally using a self belay.  Once on the road, we walked to the Reflection Lake trailhead.

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From the trailhead, we ascended in a southerly direction up to 5,600 feet and then in a SE direction to catch the ridge east of The Castle.  We continued on the south side of the ridge skirting just below the trees.  Though the snow was soft by this point, a few of our scramblers were a little nervous about the side hill travel, but everyone made their way along the ridge to the base to the snow covered Lake at 5,950 feet.  Because there were a couple of skiers ahead of us, we had a decent boot track from there all the way to the summit.  There were a couple of sections where we used a self belay including the final 100 feet, but everyone made it to the top.

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After a lunch break, we descended the same way we came up.  The final 100 foot section was a little icy, so we could not plunge step, but using our self belay skills, we slowly descended back to a safer location.  We were then able to glissade the rest of the way down to just above the 5,950 lake and then ascended our ridge line back to where we captured the ridge near the Castle.

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We then glissaded from the saddle in sections almost all the way down to the trailhead.  Our final glissade from 5,560 down to 5,200 feet was epic.  The snow was soft enough where we were able to get some good speed without being unsafe.  At the road, we walked back to the Narada wall.  I glissaded down to the parking lot, though a couple of our scramblers were pretty tired, so they just walked the road over to the trail connecting Narada Falls and Paradise.

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For a couple of scramblers, it was a physically and mentally challenging day.  But, I am so proud of our 8 scramblers for persevering, for using their snow travel skills successfully, and for their great attitudes that really makes scrambles so enjoyable.  A couple of us went to Basecamp for a burger at the end.  It's safe to say that everyone slept really well that night.