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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Happy Lake Ridge

A bad weather workout alternate using the beautiful Barnes Creek and Happy Lake Ridge trails.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow cover started at ~4100’, becoming continuous at ~4300’.  We brought but did not use snowshoes with only a foot of snow at the higher elevations.  Unexpected but welcome blue skies above Storm King on our return around 3pm.

We had originally planned for a traverse along Happy Lake Ridge (the 4 miles between the trail from Barnes Creek, to the Aurora Creek Trail), but with poor weather conditions and substantial fresh snow we opted for an out-and-back instead.  A nice bonus was regaining the time needed to setup a car shuttle for the traverse (appreciated with the shorter daylight hours).

Our destination was the treed 5000’ summit just east of where the trail gains Happy Lake Ridge.  The small lakes just below the ridge crest at ~4300’ made for a picturesque lunch break (shielded from winds out of the SW by the ridge).  As the trail between 3500’ and 4700’ frequently crisscrosses several avalanche gullies, this route will become problematic in the not too distant future.  A great workout at ~16 miles and ~5000’ of elevation gain, with a total trip time of 8 hours (5 hours up, 3 hours down).