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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Norse Peak (winter)

Despite a lousy weather forecast, we set out and had a wonderful time. We avoided the avalanche risk in Bullion Basin by taking the northern route.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We had to use snowshoes and break trail right from trailhead.  Needed crampons on the final two false summits. 

We had a whole raft of last minute cancellations, some due to work commitments, some due to illness, and some were honest and said it was the lousy avalanche and weather forecast. In the end, just five of us disregarded the forecast and ventured out.
A few days before our trip, it snowed more than 2 feet and the day before our trip it rained heavily, producing extreme avalanche risk. On the day of our trip, the forecasted avalanche risk was "considerable" and the weather called for 5-8 inches of snow and brisk winds. Due to the avalanche risk we opted for the northern approach and returned the same way, skipping the car-shuttle loop.
As it turned out, the weather was far better than expected. We even had a brief moment of blue sky although it snowed lightly on us most of the day. The temperature was in the twenties. With this below freezing temperature the snow firmed up and we had no avalanche concerns. We did have deep snow with a thin crust and we were breaking trail the entire day. Crampons were needed on the final two false summits as the winds had scoured off everything except ice. It was exhausting work, but after seven and a half hours, three of us reached the summit . 
On the way home, we tried the Griffen and Wells Cafe in Enumclaw and recommend it highly. 
All in all, it was an excellent day.