Trip Report    

Alpine Scramble - Sorcery Peak (winter)

Challenging and rewarding trip to a spectacular viewpoint, the only drawback being the approach road.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • Snow started about 1/2 mile from trailhead.  Several creek crossings requiring care.  Very good conditions up from trail to Horseshoe Lake with no brush.  At times steep and icy west ridge required caution, though never high exposure.

The unpaved part of the Middle Fork Rd after the campground by Taylor River took at least 45' each way with 4WD.  We had a highly experienced group and were able to summit on a sunny cool day after a week of warm temps and rain followed by several inches of light snow above 3000'.  Used snowshoes from about 1/3 mile past Pumpkinseed Falls to the summit. Crossed all branches of Goat Creek then turned north up to Horseshoe Lake.  Encountered a solo climber who went directly up slope from there, but we crossed the west pointing peninsula of the lake then headed east in hopes of easier terrain.  Instead it quickly got steep and firm.  Self belay was always possible.  There is room on the false summit for all 12, but only about 6 on the true summit.  Spectacular panoramic vistas from the summit, notably of Big Snow and Chimney Rock group.  Sun had softened the snow by the time we descended after 2, and we descended with boots only; some used microspikes.  Had we brought crampons most would have used them.  Consider bringing them unless plenty of new snow or very warm temps.  We dropped off the ridge to the north several hundred feet above Horseshoe Lake to make a side trip to scenic Goat Lake.  Cross to the west of the outlet stream and move several hundred feet west for the easiest descent from Goat Lake to Horseshoe Lake.  I would rate this S4T4; only confident scramble students should attempt it in similar conditions.  A trip to the lakes would certainly be a worthy stand-alone trip, and suitable to most skill levels.  With detours and long summit break we took 10.5 hours.