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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Humpback Mountain

An early season, after hours scramble up the NW ridge. Started at 2200' and made it to 4750'.

  • Road rough but passable
    • Able to drive to 2200' (past the railroad bridge), but not all the way to the lower trailhead.
    • Intermittent snow from the parking lot to the intersection of the ridge with the upper road.
    • Snowshoes highly beneficial at 3800' and above.
    • Upper mountain had evidence of fresh rain soaked snow.

We met at the high point trailhead at 4:00, consolidated cars, and drove out to see how far up toward the first trailhead we could get. Early scouting had revealed that we could get past the railroad trestle. With the heavy rains over the weekend we had hoped to be able to park higher, but still only got to about 2200' on the road (in an outback and a pickup). Weather forecasts had been calling for a fair amount of rain and snow, and we were pleasantly surprised to find that we had only intermittent clouds and zero precip as we embarked.

We opted to start in boots and made decent time to the lower road / ridge intersection. Getting off the road onto the ridge was the crux of the trip - veggie belays helped up the steep embankment. From here it was easy travel up the ridge to the next road (3150'), where the snow became much heavier. The ridge from here was standard off-trail snow walking, winding our way through dense trees and around covered (and sometimes not so hidden) deadfall, swapping kick step duties throughout.

We donned snowshoes at ~4100', right where the trees begin to open up on the ridge and when kick stepping transitioned to postholing. Snowshoes proved to be quite helpful. We made it to 4750' where we hit out turnaround time. The weather had held out and we were blessed with some cool sunset views of interesting clouds over the surrounding mountains.

Mother nature validated our turnaround decision. Winds and sleet came in with a vengeance as we were changing into downhill clothes. We left our snowshoes on back to the boulder turnoff from the Hansen creek road.

  • 1705 - depart cars
  • 1810 - second road / trail intersection
  • 1905 - snowshoes @ 4150'
  • 1945 - turnaround at 4779'
  • 2200 - back at the cars