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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Arrowhead Mountain (winter)

Delightful day in the Cascades.

  • Snow and ice on road
  • It was actively snowing the entire day, keeping the plows busy. I'd recommend tire chains or AWD vehicles to get over the pass safely.

There was a lot of turnover on this roster leading up to the scramble; I guess that is normal for a holiday trip. Two of our cancellations were backcountry skiers who looked at the Arrowhead route and decided it would be more fun to ski it than to snowshoe it. They cancelled from our trip to do their own thing, which ended up being great for us!

The skiers left the parking lot ~10 minutes before us at around 9 AM, so we assumed that we wouldn't see them again. We walked along the railroad tracks for about a mile before heading right into the woods. The skiers were kind enough to draw arrows in the snow for us, making navigation incredibly easy. We followed their tracks as we gained the ridge, which saved us a bit of time relative to breaking fresh trail. (Thanks, Rob and Ben!) The elevation gain and early season snow made it a slow going adventure, taking about 4.25 hours to reach the summit. The first of our group caught up with the skiers as they reached the summit, where we were treated to surprisingly good views of the surrounding peaks. We spent about 15 minutes eating and taking photos before descending. The skiers quickly passed us on the descent, beating us back by over an hour. We were back at our cars at around 3:50 PM.

We used snowshoes and poles, but did not need crampons, ice axes, or helmets. It was really enjoyable conditions for a scramble, and I think the skiers had a blast, too!

Stats from GAIA: 6.47 miles, 3,632' gain. Total moving time: 5:13, stopped time: 1:38.