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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Rampart Ridge & Alta Mountain

Beautiful two-summit scramble, but website difficulty misleading!

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • Route was in great condition, but if there is a T1 route up Rampart Ridge, I have no idea what that would be. It's all blocky slabs with high consequence if one were to fall. Loose rocks on the steep trail sections were the most serious hazard, but mosquitos were the most annoying.

The road to the backdoor trailhead was in generally decent condition, but only wide enough for a single vehicle (and that single vehicle would constantly be thwacked with branches!). Would highly recommend high clearance vehicles only. We reached the trailhead at 7:30 AM and there were already half a dozen vehicles parked.

The trail started out pretty soggy but quickly dried and turned steeply upward, gaining 1k feet in less than a mile. Loose dirt and rocks are hazards on this trail approach to Laura and Lillian Lakes. 

We opted for a fairly gnarly route at Lake Lillian up some rock slabs. There are apparently other, more trail-like routes that can bypass these slabs. After reaching the north end of Lake Lillian the trail began climbing steeply again until we reached the saddle at the base of Rampart Ridge.

The hike up toward the summit of Rampart Ridge was all on trail, but the final summit block was easily T4, no-fall rock. For the descent, we went down the rocky steps and ledges to the north to eventually work our way back around, but I have no idea how this could be considered a "T1" route.

Returning to the saddle we descended steeply down to Rampart Lakes and on past the junction that leads to Lila Lakes, beginning the ascent toward Alta. Initially the trail climbs very steeply, but then begins a more gradual ascent on trail. After no fewer than 3 false summits, we finally reached the true summit, where we were assailed by mosquitos. While the Alta ascent is mostly on-trail, there is some moderate exposure and I would classify this T2 instead of T1.

Sorrows on the return trip included dealing with steep, dusty trails and loose rocks, as well as having to regain the saddle below Rampart Ridge, but otherwise things went smoothly.

Overall I feel I would have rated this as an S4/T3 scramble, made T4 by the way we gained the Rampart Ridge summit.

 

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