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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - The Pulpit

A very enjoyable route in late winter/early spring snowpack.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • There was some snow on the ground even at the river level, fairly constant by 1800’. We benefited by following some recent snowshoe tracks so that some of us didn’t need snowshoes until we diverged from the tracks at 3200’. Avy conditions were moderate and the days prior had been relatively warm, without much recent snow.  Snow conditions were pretty ideal for snowshoes, without postholing or hard snow. The entire route is in forest and would be safe in most avalanche conditions, except possibly one spot 40’ below the summit that requires dropping off the ridge on a steep slope to climbers’ right to bypass an obstruction. 

This was a very fun trip and an excellent conditioner. 
We passed the overflowing parking lot at the Mailbox trailhead at 7 a.m. Saturday, and didn’t see another person on trail until one solo hiker 1/2 mile from the cars. 
On the ascent, we left the summer route of the Rainy Lake trail at 3200’, traversed west across the creek gully then headed mostly south to hit the ridge just north of the 4080’ closed contour knoll. The ridge walk north through old growth glades makes for beautiful snowshoeing.  
On the return we left the ridge descending from the false summit about 40’ above the saddle, taking a more gentle route down that made for great plunge stepping in snowshoes and no dense vegetation. 

7BE38F64-F758-41A6-B0C4-598C34C84993.pngWe used ice axes ascending to the ridge, but the only place they felt essential was the spot where you leave the ridge shortly below the summit. 
On this mostly clear day we had views of Garfield lower down, Russian Butte and the Middle Fork valley from the summit, as well as Defiance and Rainier. There is room for a small party to bask in the sun on the summit on a mild calm day like we had.  

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