Trip Report    

Winter Scramble: Mt Ararat - Satulick Mtn Traverse

A very strenuous/beautiful traverse of Mt Ararat, Satulick Mt and Rampart Ridge with ~4,400’ of gain over ~15 miles.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Consistent with the delayed arrival of snows this year, we did not encounter significant depth until ~5,000 feet, where we converted snowshoes.  The relatively shallow snow depth allowed us to safely save time by traveling the Kautz Creek trail to ~5,200’, versus the longer (and more circuitous) winter route that follows the ridge crest west of the Kautz Creek trail.  Although crampons were carried, they were not needed for the steep section just below the summit of Mt Ararat on its WSW aspect.  Intermittent snow of wallowing depth was encountered on our traverse along the ridge to Satulick Mountain, but snow depths quickly receded after reaching the Wonderland trail near the Devil’s Dream campsite at ~5,000’ (allowing conversion to micro-spikes for the icy trail below ~4,500’).  All bridges were in great shape with easy access and minimal snow cover.

Normally a Mount Ararat - Satulick Mountain traverse is too ambitious an undertaking for a Winter scramble,  but given the relatively shallow snow depth (see Route Conditions above), the time saved by using the Kautz Creek trail made this two summit traverse a reasonable trip (even on a day with one of the shortest daylight hours of the year, as this one was).  After staging cars at Longmire (and enjoying the heated restrooms ;) we relocated to Kautz Creek and set out just after 7am.  The ascent to Mt Ararat was ~4 hours, followed by a 1.5 hour traverse to Satulick Mountain that included glimpses of Mount Rainier far above.  The Ararat - Satulick ridge crest afforded interesting route finding challenges with steep cliffs on the south and numerous intersecting gullies, encouraging the unwary to veer off the ridge crest.  From Satulick we back-tracked a bit before making an easy descent to reach the Wonderland trail near Squaw Lake just after 2pm.  Easy trail  brought us over Rampart Ridge to our cars at Longmire, with only ~40 minutes of headlamp travel.   Total trip time was 10 hours, which included substantial breaks on Ararat and Satulick.  Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen here.