Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - (Roughhouse Mtn) Old Pass Hill & Cairn Hill

Although posted as a winter scramble, this could easily be done as an Intermediate snowshoe. Lovely even with very few views.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • We set up a car shuttle with 2 cars.  There was easy and safe parking at the pullouts off US97, before Blewett Pass.20191231_052301.jpg


Although posted as Roughhouse Mtn, our main objectives were Old Pass Hill and Cairn Hill.  We never attempted Roughhouse Mtn.

We all arrived at Pioneer Coffee in Cle Elum at 8am.  After a break we depart for trailhead #1 where we dropped off the passengers and gear.  The 2 drivers dropped off the second car east of trailhead #1 (about 1.5 miles down) and returned promptly.  Photo of parking area and TH #1.20191230_090439.jpgWith snowshoes on, we leave around 9:30am for  Old Pass Hill.  We soon intersect a service road and take it for about a half mile going north east.   From there we turn slightly west and follow a ridgeline up.  Sometimes there was enough snow for easy snowshoeing,(not too deep, dry and light.)20191230_100512.jpgAnd sometime there were large bare areas.20191230_094814.jpgThe winter scenery was beautiful even without the expansive views so many stop often to take photos.20191230_101442.jpg20191230_100432.jpgAt about 4400' we head northeast getting on an open ridge where it's a little chilly..20191230_104745.jpgThe sun is trying to break through, but only occasionally and unfortunately we only get a few glimpses of the Stuart Range.20191230_110512.jpgBy 11am we're on our first objective, Old Pass Hill (4885'.)   We have a bit of lunch, but don't stay long because it's too chilly.20191230_110810.jpgBy 11:30am we're continuing east for our second peak, Cairn Hill.  Most of the time we're moving downhill on an old logging road.   The road is on the north side of the ridge which has more snow than the south side.  Glad we're heading downhill when in the deeper snow.  20191230_114246.jpgAbout 2.5-3miles (@4250') from Old Pass Hill we leave the old logging road and head northwest.  We arrive at the summit of Cairn Hill (4745') at about 1pm.   It's breezy and viewless up here so we take some quick photos and depart.20191230_125920.jpgThanks Catrina for this  nice summit photo with a better view of the cairn.81146149_10221294259373814_8179852317168762880_o.jpgFrom here it's all downhill for about 1300' to where the car is parked.   A few areas are a little steep, but there are no problems getting down.20191230_133448.jpgAbout half a mile before reaching the car, we're again on a service road.20191230_135522.jpgFinal group photo taken at 2pm.  Our car at the pullout.20191230_140140.jpgIt's been a chill and easy day with this great group.  Thanks to Andy Boos for pointing out Cairn Hill is my 100th peak for this year.  I'll always remember this peak now.20191230_130049.jpgCottage Cafe in Cle Elum for a meal before getting back to Seattle by 5:30pm.   

C2C  4.5 hrs

Est 5 miles/2200' gain

Lots of stops for photos  & 45 min stop on Old Pass Hill