Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Red Mountain (Salmon La Sac)

Really challenging conditions but still a successful summit and snow scramble credit for 3 students

  • Snow and ice on road
  • FS46 has not yet melted out so we were only able to drive 3/4 of a mile in with our two Subarus and Ford Escape.  Should melt out completely in the next two weeks.

    Intermittent snow on the trail up to first road at 2,800 feet, plenty of postholing snow to the second road at 3,900 feet and then snowshoes required above that.  A lot of fresh, slippery snow which made ascending in snowshoes difficult and glissading impossible.

We had a group of 8 which included 3 students - 1 from Olympia and 2 from Seattle.  We met at the bridge by the Salmon La Sac swimming hole (too cold too swim today) at 7:45am and then combined into three cars with the hope that we could drive to the trailhead 1 1/2 miles away.  We only got 3/4 of a mile in when we weren't able to proceed further because of snow covering the road.  So we pulled over and walked the remaining 3/4 of a mile to the trailhead


From the trailhead at 2,600 feet to the Section 8 Pit Road at 2850 feet we could not find much of a trail, so we just alternated between dirt and snow up to our first break spot.  We then continued from that spot to the  Red Mountain Road crossing at 3,900 feet, postholing frequently with many choice words spoken along the way.   Above the Red Mountain Road, we continued heading up but we put on snowshoes to try to reduce the postholing.  Travel was marginally easier with the snowshoes on but because the snow was so fresh, it was slippery.


Above 4,400 feet, the slope got steeper, but we continued on up to 5,700 feet where we made the final traverse to the summit.  The very top of the summit was well corniced, so we didn't go to the final 20 feet, but close enough!  My three students all got summit credit and we enjoyed lunch with nice views of Mt. Daniel to the north.

Red 11.jpg

From there, we plunge stepped down.  I attempted a glissade, but the snow was way too soft and fresh to get anything going.  It took a while to make our way back to the road, but we returned to the cars safely around 5:30pm.

Red 12.jpg

The weather was pretty good considering the storms over the previous two days, but the conditions were challenging.  Definitely Type 2 fun!  But, there was a feeling of accomplishment (and relief) after over 9 hours of challenging work.