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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Red Mountain (Salmon La Sac)

With rain everywhere, we managed a successful late=spring scramble of Red Mountain while encountering minimal precipitation, and with a minimal amount of brush bashing.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • I'm not sure why this mountain is only listed as a winter scramble - it made for a fine late spring trip. I'd give it an S3 rating with T3 for rock and somewhat steep snow that we encountered on the route.

    We started up using the Red Mountain trail from Road 46 off the Salmon La Sac road. The first difficulty we encountered was the stream crossing at 3,100 feet. Luckily no one's boots were soaked in getting across, but this is a definite possibility. This and other stream crossings could be simplified by bringing water shoes.

    After the crossing, we continued up the trail, encountering another stream crossing further up (I believe at about 4,200 feet) with similar difficulties to the first one. Again, no one ended up with soaked boots. We began to lose the trail off and on in snow at 4,400 feet, finally losing it almost entirely at approximately 4,700-4,800 feet, soon after encountering a small, flat clearing with a cairn. At this clearing, we ascended a flagged trail which veered right (north) that I don't believe is the main trail, but which let us to a few interesting mine shafts at about 5,000 feet or so with some recently used equipment which had been left up there.

    From the mine shafts, rather than trying to find our way to the pass, we decided to ascend north to the first small rib, then turned southwest to ascend directly to the summit. The rib had some fun (but somewhat loose) rock followed by moderately steep, firm snow. After ascending the snow a ways, we exited left for a straightforward uphill climb to the summit. 

    From the summit, we dropped north to the saddle and then ascended to the north summit. From there we dropped back to the saddle and managed about 400 feet of glissading before descending the northeast ridge which drops from the north summit. We followed the ridge crest, taking the path of least resistance until we got to the road at about 3,700 feet. We then followed the road south/southeast until picking up the main trail.

    The road itself has a fair amount of slide alder growing on it, and we could not find the alternate trail which avoids the stream crossing. (We thought about taking the alternate trail down to avoid the 3,100 foot crossing). In the process of following the road, we encountered an additional stream crossing in which we again avoided soaked boots. 

    Once we picked up the main trail from the road, we descended back to the cars, avoiding soaked boots at the 3,100 foot crossing. 

The road is paved all the way to the trailhead. There is room for about 3 cars on the road shoulder directly across from the trail, but about 50-100 yards further down there is a pull off which has room for several more cars.

Participants' GPS apps recorded a distance of about 4.5 miles with 3,200 gain. Some of us were definitely feeling the prolonged steepness towards the top. It took about 3.5 hours to summit, and about 2 hours total for descent.

Recommended equipment for this route would be helmets, ice axe, and water shoes for the stream crossings.