Ascent of Red Mountain on 2014-01-19

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, January 19, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Red Mountain
    Elevation:5880 ft / 1792 m

Ascent Trip Report

**GPS Track note: I had a pair of dying batteries in the GPS for the first portion of the hike, so there are gaps until I put a fresh pair of batteries in partway up.**

This hike is longer in the winter due to FR-46 being closed for the winter where it turns off the main paved road. This added 1.5 miles of hiking to the approach. I made it to the trail split above FR-46 before I needed to use my snowshoes. It has been a light snow year. I realized that I forgot my trekking/ski poles after I put on the snowshoes. Oh well, too late to turn back for them. I generally do not hike with them, but I have found them useful when using snowshoes and almost always use them in the snow. I followed the right fork of the "trail" after the split. Below the split, the trail was easy to follow. Above it, the right fork faded out, though this is not unexpected as I had been in snow since I began walking for the day. Upon reaching the random logging road halfway up the trail, I sought to follow the official trail as the streambed looked very difficult to follow. I followed the trail again for a while until I lost it in an open area. At this point, I decided to stay on the north-facing slopes on the south side of the creek. I was having a much easier time ascending the snow that was more frozen and icy on this side of the creek as compared to the sun-exposed snow below the logging road. Sidehill traverses can be a bit painful on the ankles when in snowshoes, but progress continued to the south ridge of the peak.

I followed the ridge exactly on its spine all the way to the false (south) summit, avoiding some cornices that have been formed by the wind. Ascending the false summit required removal of my snowshoes to climb the exposed rocks. I did not use the snowshoes for the remainder of the ascent of either of the two summits. When taking the rocks directly up the false summit, there are a few class 3 moves, though I am sure that in the summer there is a more defined route that stays class 2. It was easy, so no big deal. I then made my way to the middle summit, which I thought was the highest. I have seen other GPS tracks that continue to the north summit, and I figured other parties just went there for the view north towards Daniel and Chimney Rock. Upon arrival at the middle summit, I took my usual summit photos and pulled one of my sandwiches out to eat. I noticed that the northern summit looked to be as high if not higher than the middle summit that I was sitting on. I would hate to come all this way and not tag the real peak, so I quickly made my way to the northern summit. It is easy enough to do with an ice axe in 1 hand and a sandwich in the other. I took more photos on the northern summit as it was actually a better view. A stunning backdrop of the Cascade Range spread all around me. It was a perfect bluebird day due to the inversion, so I could make out Adams and Rainier in the distance, as well as closer gems like Stuart, Daniel, and Chimney Rock. A sight to behold indeed. I remembered why I do this sport now! A real peakbagger will likely need to do both summits for a true completion of this P2k. I retraced my steps back to the middle summit and south summit when I decided to head for "Red Mountain Lookout" to grab a bonus bump before my descent. Somebody added it to peakbagger, though I don't know why. It is unnamed and has little prominence.

The descent was uneventful. My attempts at glissading were generally unsuccessful, and I mostly followed my ascent track down to the mid-mountain logging road. At this point I decided to try out the official trail, which I found after descending 100 ft or so. It was surprisingly easy to follow in the snow, and I followed it to the stream crossing. The snow at the crossing was not to my liking, as it covered the edges of the stream and looked unsafe to approach unless you are willing to get wet (which I was not). I then decided to just continue down and to the right as I would eventually hit the obvious FR-46. By taking this section diagonally vs. following the trail, I saved 0.4 miles of boring road walking. I just kept my snowshoes on while walking the road though they were unnecessary. I took them off to cross the bridge and for the short walk to the Yaris.

Overall, this is a great winter peak, and one of the better winter climbs I have done in Washington to date. The road is open to Salmon La Sac for a winter Sno Park, so a duplication of my route is possible in the winter.

8.5 miles
7h 12m total time
11.7 mph max speed
1.8 moh moving avg

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3560 ft / 1085 m
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Snowshoes
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3560 ft / 1085 m
    Route:FR-46 to Red Mtn Tr to S Ridge
    Start Trailhead:2320 ft / 707 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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