Trip Report    

Ruby Mountain

A gorgeous late-spring day with an early start, good conditions and fantastic views.

  • Thu, Jun 2, 2022
  • Ruby Mountain
  • Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow on top of Happy Creek and its broader drainage system is getting thin, so we tried to stay in the woods to climbers left to avoid postholing into the creekbed.   There is a big cornice on the ridgeline to the summit, so we stayed to climbers left to avoid its fall-line.  Snow was well-consolidated and debris from previous cornice failures didn't seem to travel far.ridgeline cornice and failure debris

    On the way down, after a bit of solar heating, we were setting off rollerballs and slow trains of slush, but nothing big enough to knock a person over.  We also encountered a hole with running water in one of the little gulleys on the way down that might have been tempting to glissade, reinforcing the oft-repeated lesson to be aware of what is below you when glissading:hole along an otherwise tempting glissade path

Aiming to avoid the forecasted "slight chance" of afternoon thunderstorms and to find firmer snow, we slept at the Happy Creek TH and got started at 4:45 am just before the sunrise.  We followed the Happy Creek trail until it disappeared and then detoured from the creek to climbers left from around 3200-3600 feet before crossing a mossy talus field and traversing back to climber's right toward the creek bed.

ascending the mossy talus field

Traveling up along the drainage system we began to encounter continuous snow at about 4000 feet.  Unsettled by the sound of rushing water under us and the occasional large hole, we mostly ascended to climbers left of the creek at the edge of the forest.  After a bit of ascending, we looked behind us and were rewarded for our early start with first views of Ross Lake and Hozomeen peak in the morning light, making me forget how early I'd gotten up and triggering the start of my day-long ear-to-ear grin:
"Hozomeen, Hozomeen, most beautiful mountain I ever seen"Despite our early start, the snow was pretty soft and we never used our crampons.  After we got above the broad drainage area we ascended to climbers left of the visible waterfall of Happy Creek, kicking steps and only postholing occasionally.  Soon we got our first view of the summit ridge, and Andrea powered up to the ridgeline, taking care to stay well to climber's left of the large cornice:

IMG_2503.jpgSoon we were on the summit ridge and it was an easy ridge-walk to the summit, where we basked in sunshine and gorgeous 360 degree North Cascade views.  We got to the summit at 9 am, making 4h15' from car to summit.  After 45 minutes of summit revelry, we descended our ascent route with lots of fun plunge-stepping and glissading, and were back at the cars by 12:30, with plenty of time to get back to Seattle for crevasse rescue evaluations. What a fantastic start to June with new friends made in our basic climbing SIG!


(photo courtesy of Sarah Smith)

More photos from the trip can be found here.