Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Humpback Mountain

Encountered snow at 3'400, consolidated and firm. Put on snowshoes around 4'500 for the final push up the ridge.

  • Road rough but passable
  • Left all of the cars along Tinkham Road and shuttled up to the TH in 2 cars (wearing masks).  With the steep, rough road and limited parking we wanted to save room for others.  Snow has just melted (in last 3 days) on the tight bend of the road before the spur road making it possible to park next to the spur road.


Snow scramble experience trip for scramble students.  We had 2 students from Everett, 2 from Seattle and one from Kitsap - great to have a mix of branches on this trip!   Parked at the lower spur road and joined the trail off  FS 5510-120.   It was a foggy day with some potential rain in the forecast. We didn't get any rain, except for the drops left on the tree branches. The mountain was caught in a cloud so we didn't get views either on this day.  

The first stretch of trail between the two spur roads is snow free, it's a great boot path that's soft and easy to follow.  Encountered snow around 3'400, following  the ridge.  We put on our snowshoes (axes & helmets) around 4'600 as the route got a little steeper. The snow crust was firm in some places and slushy in other slopes with the top inch sliding off when stepping.  The crampons on our snowshoes helped as we followed the ridge.  Even though there's a lot of snow still on the route some of the rocks are starting to melt out on the ridge.  Had a section that was bare as we scrambled over in snowshoes. 

As we got near the final scramble to the summit the ridge was impassable. It is steep with tall trees growing very close together and rocks, some snow is melting and there are big holes in the snow. I haven't done this route in the summer, I'd guess it would be fun to scramble this area when bare.  Curious to see where the bootpath and trail are when things melt out.   There was a route across the west face through the steep snow slope, the runout below was very steep and exposed.   Decided to turn back at this point , about ~150 feet below the true summit due to the conditions, new scramble students and  no views on this day while in a cloud.  The students had 1000 feet of travel wearing snowshoes getting lots of practice going up/down steep slopes.  

Attitudes were positive among the group and the students shared they learned many new things throughout the trip. Keep practicing those snow scramble skills and doing conditioning trips.  Congrats to Chris from Kitsap Scrambling for completing his graduation snow scramble!! 

Note: If going for the summit (in similar deep snow conditions) there's a cornice on the northeast side.  When right below summit on the ridge heading up north, recommend crossing the steep slope and coming up from the west side. When checking out the route on Tuesday (in advance of this trip) there was a cornice on the north side of the summit.  There are no trees on the north side of the summit so it's hard to know where the solid ground starts.  I stayed about 50 below the summit heading south traversing vertically along the slope, then turned and went directly up slope to the middle of the summit where there are trees popping up.  The views are spectacular on a clear day!  Granite mountain looks lovely covered in snow and Lake Annette under a blanket of snow with Silver Peak above.