Ascent of Red Mountain on 2017-12-14

Climber: Connor McEntee

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, December 14, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Red Mountain
    Elevation:5880 ft / 1792 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was an absolutely great winter hike in early season conditions.

It hadn't snowed for around two weeks, and avy danger was almost non-existent. Despite some warm weather, the snow line was still all the way down to Cle Elum Lake, and there were a number of patches of ice on the plowed road to Salmon La Sac. Fortunately, FR 46 was still open and a number of trucks and snowmobiles had been using it meaning that the road was drivable all the way to the summer trailhead on compacted snow.

From the trailhead, I found a snowshoe path that went maybe a third of the way up the mountain sparing me from breaking trail the entire way. Their path veered further to climber's right than I might have otherwise gone, but in the end, I was very satisfied with the route I found all the way up to the summit. It's generally moderate in slope and the trees are not too dense. With more snow, it would be even better, since I did have to navigate around some brush down low.

Around 4800 feet, I punched through the inversion layer and was met with stunning views of the Cascades. From there the terrain opened considerably with wide open slopes perfect for skiing. I was expecting Cascade concrete, but on these north facing slopes, I found great unconsolidated albeit wet powder. If I hadn't been recovering from an injury, I'd have been regretting not hoofing up skis. One could easily ski directly off the summit. I mostly stuck right on the ridge, which was treed all the way to the north peak and had more consolidated snow.

As others have mentioned, the north peak has superior views, which I enjoyed after quickly layering up and eating a sandwich. The south peak did appear noticeably higher and is marked as the true summit, so I made the short traverse. There is noticeable relief on the west side of the ridge and maybe cornicing could be a problem later in the season. Otherwise, it is pretty mellow and no scrambling was needed. Ironically, the north peak appeared higher from the top of the south peak as well. From the south peak, I could see several large fields of avy debris in the gulley that the summer trail ascends. I only saw occasional signs of old pinwheels on some of the sun-exposed slopes near my route, which could easily be avoided by sticking to the trees.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3359 ft / 1023 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3359 ft / 1022 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route Conditions:
Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3359 ft / 1023 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3284 ft / 1001 m; Extra: 75 ft / 22m
    Loss on way in:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Route:NE Ridge
    Start Trailhead:Red Mountain TH  2596 ft / 791 m
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3284 ft / 1000 m
    Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route:NE Ridge
    End Trailhead:Red Mountain TH  2596 ft / 791 m
    Time:1 Hours 7 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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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