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Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Satulick Mountain, 4-1-17

One day scramble conditioner in heavy snow conditions.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles


April 1st Satulick Mountain Conditioner/Scramble

The final count of our group was 6.  We left the Martin Way Park n’ Ride at 6am and arrived a Longmire before 8am. The departure time from Longmire was intended to be at 8am and we were on schedule. The composition of our group was seasoned Mountaineer and two Basic Climbing students (new to scrambling with snowshoes). A fellow Mountaineer completed the scramble a few weeks before and provided us a GPS track from their adventure.  There was a steady rain at Longmire which continue until around 11am-ish.  The Wonderland Train up to Rampart Ridge and to the Nisqually River was well use and the show was compacted.  We did not have to use snowshoes.  At the river we needed to put on our shoes because the trail was no longer apparent. We did not see evidence of human tracks for the rest of the day. Crossing the river and the tributaries went relatively well.  One of the members of our group has done the scramble before and visually knew where the trail connected on the other side; the GPS was an added bonus. Many of the river crossing (logs) were covered with snow.  We had a shovel (highly recommended), to clean them off for a safe crossing. East of the Nisqually River was a combination of route finding, bushwhacking, and heavy snow conditions.  It slowed our group way down. At around 2pm we decided to turn around at Devils Dream Creek. This was shy of @700 feet from the summit.  The decision was made due to a large snow bridge that needed to be shoveled out (which would take time) and past the steam crossing, we still had around 1.5 hours of climbing left.  We were going to run out of daylight hours.   We arrived back at Longmire at 7pm.  It was a long day. Eleven hours on the snow.  The objective was a conditioner. We did not summit, but our two Basic Climbing students received their conditioner credit and I believed learned a lot about traveling on snow.  It should be pointed out that navigation without GPS, although doable, would be extremely difficult.  Typical trail markers were not apparent due to the deep snow.