Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Comet Falls, Mildred Point Loop

Stunning views and an unseasonably low snow cover (for late November) on this one way traverse of Comet Falls and Mildred Point, with a return via Rampart Ridge and Point 4100. A great workout at 13 miles/~4000’ gain that included lengthy breaks at Comet Falls and Mildred Point.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Encountered substantial snow at ~4400’, although a bigger challenge was ice covered trail due to repeated melt/freeze cycles.  The micro-spikes were greatly appreciated, but snowshoes stayed on our packs the entire day.  An attention getting spot was this bridge crossing of Van Trump Creek just above Comet Falls, an ice hard snow mound in the center of the bridge, with a boot wide snow free (yet ice covered) down-sloping track on its south side.  The best approach seemed to be moving the down hill foot a short distance (digging the micro-spikes in as well as the hard ice allowed) then following with the uphill foot (a very focused shuffle).


With temperatures in the 20s we started out from Longmire just after 7am all bundled up.  This counterclockwise loop/traverse was made possible by a cross country section between the Cougar Rock picnic area and the Comet Falls trailhead (the section with the elevated heart rate indicated by dark orange color).


Comet falls was particularly interesting with unusual ice adornments.  In this video you can see a piece of ice break away and fall to the base of the falls at the 8 second mark (on the left side of the falls, about half way up).


As usual, Mildred Point views were incredible (looks like the Kautz Glacier terminus is now at ~7600’ versus the 1971 elevation of ~6000’)…


… made even better by a sunny spot to enjoy our lunch.


(By Justine Park)

On descent we greatly appreciated the sun on the upper plateau (temperatures were brisk the entire day), and after losing the snow at ~4700 …


… made good time on the Rampart Ridge Trail to the Longmire overlook near Point 4100’.


(By Jesse Bengtsson)

A great finish to our day was the Trail of the Shadows wetland.


(By Justine Park)

A great day in the mountains, made even better by the wonderful weather.  Our total time was just over 8 hours (which included several lengthy breaks), with ~3 hours from Longmire to Comet Falls, ~2 hours to Mildred Point, and ~3 hours back to Longmire on this 13 mile, ~4000’ gain trip.  Photos from this (and other) trips to this venue can be seen here.