Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Preacher Mountain

A great group and favorable weather and snow conditions helped us achieve the summit

  • Road rough but passable
  • The trail to Rainy Lake is snow free until around 2000', then immediately goes to several feet deep in places.  The trail is also rather muddy with numerous blowdowns a mile or two in.

We started hiking around 7am, and made very quick progress for the first two or three miles when there wasn't snow.  Put snowshoes on around 2200', and generally followed the summer trail when visible to about 3200' when I was misled by another trip report that said there was a viable route closer to rainy creek straight up to Rainy Lake.  Perhaps there was, but we didn't find it.  Best bet is to stick to the summer trail (even though we couldn't see it, the terrain was much better).  We took the summer trail on the down from Rainy Lake on our descent.

Took us four hours to reach the lake.  We took a 10 minute break, then immediately started heading up the ridge that heads east and directly away from Rainy Lake.  For the most part we stayed on the ridge.  Bypassed a few cliff bands on the left.

At around 4800' we left the ridge and started heading southerly to the tarn at 5200'.  Took another 10 minute break here.  Headed toward the NW ridge of Preacher, until it met the north ridge.  Massive cornices on the north ridge that we stayed below.  Reached the summit 3 hours from Rainy Lake.

Stayed on the summit for 5 minutes, then descended to a flatter area for a longer break (15 minutes).  Started our descent at 2:20, made it back to cars around 7:30pm.  12 miles, 5600' gain.

Weather was cool and partly to mostly cloudy.  It had snow about 4-6 inches the night before, but the cool conditions (in the low 30s), seemed to keep the snow pretty stable (and not dripping off the trees until Rainy Lake).  We took off snowshoes for the steepest parts of the descent. One person wore crampons, a few microspikes and others (myself) just boots.

GPS track here (or email me if it's not).  There may be better or different ways to go depending on snow or brush conditions.