Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Norse Peak

A great scramble with a classic ridge run that does not disappoint even in the face of gale force winds.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • IMG_20181229_111730.jpg

    This trip took place Saturday, December 28, 2018.  One could choose to wear snow shoes starting at the Norse Peak Trailhead, but the trail portion of the scramble had a well-beaten boot path on thin snow for a good segment so we did not put them on until about 4600’-4800’.  The snow conditions for the rest of the scramble varied from wet and heavy below the treeline (saw evidence of a number of small slides on the steep sides in between the trees as a result), to deep, drier, well-consolidated snow above tree line, as well as wind-scoured icy segments.  The NWAC forecast for the region was considerable, but careful route choice and constant evaluation of conditions paid off for an enjoyable day.


This trip was led by Andy Cahn.  The weather forecast called for heavy rain and gale force winds.  With advice to bring “plenty of rain gear,” a hearty party of eight (plus an amazing mountain dog) decided to venture forth anyway.  Fortune favors the bold, they say.  Or perhaps it’s just that fools sometimes get lucky.  The torrential rains that drenched everywhere else decided to stay away from Norse, and most of the scramble took place under partly cloudy skies with sun breaks!

With the avalanche forecast at considerable, a conservative route was taken that significantly minimized exposure to the problem areas.  The party took the switchbacks of the Norse Peak Trail until about 5680’ at which point we turned off the trail to ascend a steep ridge to a minor peak that one of the party insisted was called “Kahuna” – situated west of peak #6304.  This avoided taking the more common ascending traverse across potential avalanche terrain.  Once on top of Kahuna, we followed the path of least resistance southeast, along a series of ridges to gain a series of false summits until Norse. 


The weather continued to cooperate until the ridge walk when the promised gale force winds bore down on us.  One section of the scramble close to the summit requires not insignificant sidehilling, and on this day this portion was scoured and somewhat icy.  We were able to do the section in snowshoes, but there will be days when that section would be better in crampons or at least microspikes.

Stats – Approximately 8 miles roundtrip, 3200’ of elevation gain, and 8.5 hours (with ample stops and a leisurely pace down) car to car.