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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Sourdough Mountain

Sweeping and stunning North Cascade views, on a brief but greatly appreciated good weather window.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Almost perfect conditions to visit Sourdough Ridge, with the narrowing at ~5600’ amply covered by well consolidated snow. The trail was snow free to ~2700’, with conversion to snowshoes at ~3000’.  Higher than normal afternoon temperatures increased our workout, with balls of snow on the bottoms of our snowshoes!   As always, the huge cornice just south of the constriction motivated an approach slightly lower on the west side of the ridge:

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On the early morning drive to the trailhead the steady rain on the windshield did not bode well for this trip, especially with the major winter storm forecast for arrival that evening.  Yet a short time later found us heading out in dry but overcast conditions that continually improved throughout the day, eventually yielding great views and intermittent sunshine.

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A particularly impressive area (as in “glad we’re not there”) was the natural avalanche machine on the NE aspect of Davis Peak.  We heard constant slide sounds from this slope throughout the day, thanks to the sharp NW-SE trending summit ridge of Davis.  This ridge efficiently squeezes snow from winter storms to form massive cornices, then with a bit of warming drops them onto a steep half mile wide slope bordered by sharp ridges on either side:

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The moisture from this slope, ultimately contributes to the 200MW generating capacity of the diminutive Gorge Dam via its 2 mile long tunnel to the Gorge Powerhouse:

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With Point 6308 socked in with heavy gray clouds we opted for a summit destination of Point 6010, for a total of ~11 miles and ~5000’ of elevation gain.  A great day in the mountains with 5 hours on the ascent and a total trip time of 8.5 hours.  Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.