Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Norse Peak

Beautiful day to be on the Ridge - Good thing we brought the mittens!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snowshoe'd all the way.   Route almost all in the trees until final approach to Norse Peak (which we decided against due to high cold winds).  Some sidehilling that made it a bit more work, but relatively easy snow scramble conditions on a sunny but cold day.

Pretty much the only party on the trail today.  Saw only 2 others late in the day that went up part way. We choose to park along side of the road versus the small parking area where the road is gated. 

Strong bitterly cold winds in the forecast at Rainier pushed us over to Norse Ridge instead as we thought the bigger mountain would provide a good "wind shadow" for us.    Got to trailhead at 7:30 just as the morning light was starting and started off with snowshoes with only some faint tracks from previous days were there.

Very pleasant getting up towards the ridge with only some mild wind once we got into the old burn of the Norse Ridge fire.   As we got to the relative open slopes right before the final ridge walk to Norse the winds came up fierce as if Odin himself was blowing the spindrift off the mountain and we could see it was constant all the way to the Peak.  The effective temperature was in the single digits and with some fingers already barking loud as Fenrir and as we weren't quite ready for our resumes into Valhalla we decided to "keep it fun" and head north over to the warm sunny paradise of Kahuna where the winds were light and pleasant and we bagged Kahuna and the slightly taller West Kahuna.  West Kahuna was pretty wind scoured with light snow coverage but still enough to keep our snowshoes on.  Took our time at the summit before an uneventful descent starting back at the saddle.  The snowshoes became "noshoes" as we decided to shun them for only slightly better mild postholing which by the last two switchbacks we had enough and beelined straight down thru the trees which we wondered why we didn't do earlier.

3000' gain and a little less than 8 miles round trip. Total time car-to-car around 7 hours

YouTube of the day:  https://youtu.be/39-znynKPxU