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Trip Report    

Pitcher Mountain

  • Wed, Dec 3, 2014
  • Pitcher Mountain
  • Scrambling

12/2/14—Approximately 2000' gain, 4 miles RT; 6 hours
FS 7810 & 7820 covered with snow virtually from the Carbon River bridge. We were able to drive to the trailhead because we had AWD, high clearance vehicles. The next snowfall will likely make getting this high up impossible. Otherwise there was some damage to the road from the pre-Thanksgiving heavy rainfall, but no extensive damage like there was going up to the Tatoosh Peak trailhead last week.
This was probably my least favorite Rainier 100 I have done. Despite the snow cover we were still entangled in the web of snow covered evergreen, alder, brush, devils club, and shallow covered boulder fields. We left the trailhead at 8:00 a.m.; the old access road to the cabin is well marked on the uphill side of the switchback. We worked our way through the 15’ high snow covered alder to reach the dilapidated cabin that blocked the service road for approximately 50’. From there we wound our way through heavily snow covered evergreens working our way to the left side of the creek/meadow where it seemed easier going. In the meadow we crossed the creek and began ascending towards the saddle up steep forested terrain. We were further south than necessary and had to traverse under the ridge to gain the saddle.
From the saddle we traversed around the west side for 5-7 minutes, dropped just enough to clear the rock and find easier terrain. We identified what appeared to be a gulley heading up, just above a steep 10’ rock step. We followed the gulley until we encountered a rock face. We moved left 100’ or so and found another gulley going up and then just picked our way through the trees to the summit. We were on the summit at 12:00 p.m., ate a quick lunch then began our descent, retracing our tracks back to the saddle and then straight down the gulley. The upper portion of the gulley was easy travelling because of the snow. When it became thinner we worked our way skiers’ right into the trees, navigating some steeper terrain. In the meadow we found our tracks which we followed back to the cars arriving at 2:00 p.m.


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