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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    WAshington
    Posts
    2,206

    TR: Storming the Castle (Rampart Ridge - Snoqualmie Pass, WA)

    Across the highway from Hyak stretches a long ridgeline topped by a vertical cliff wall. Appropriately named, Rampart Ridge is a spectacular destination which affords views in all directions of the central Cascade mountains of Washington state. But getting there is not for the faint of heart - there are two approaches, one from Lake Kachess which involves slogging into Rachel Lake, a 4mi & 1600' hike where the last mile entails a 1200' gain to the lake basin, then continuing another 500' & 1.5 miles to Rampart Lakes and, finally, another 750' up a steep gully to the ridgeline. The other approach entails "driving" along an abandoned logging-turned-forest road where the brush closes in so tight you have to fold in your side-view mirrors and pray nobody is coming the other way as there's nowhere to pass or even turn around until you reach its end. This "backdoor" approach saves several miles and about 800' of gain, but what you lose in distance you gain in pitch. The "trail" starts in a mucky swamp where you must navigate through a tunnel of slide alder before crossing a raging creek after which it heads straight-up, gaining 1000' in a mile to an alpine lake nestled at 4800'. From here, there are a few different options to gain the ridge, all of them steep, loose climbers trails. We chose to ski across the rapidly-melting lake to a gully on the other side and then skin about a 1/3rd of the way up before carrying our equipment to the shoulder of the high point above the lake. This route puts you into the alpine, around 5500', in about 2 miles.





    Upon cresting the ridge, a bevvy of terrain options greets you. What is in late summer and fall an area of rolling heather and small tarns, is a backcountry skier's paradise. A mini-Alpental, if you're so inclined to compare it to what's nearby. We gained the 1st highpoint of the ridgeline and, after a lunch break, rode a sweet line down to the main tarn that forms in the summertime. From there, we donned skins and gained the 2nd highpoint from where we skied down into the Rampart Lakes basin. After some exploration and a safety break, we booted out the aforementioned steep gully back to the ridge, returned to the tarn and began the slog out.









    The summer trail to the lake stlil held a thin ribbon of skiable snow with only one short carry near the very bottom. It was below here that one party member decided to attempt another pond skim and came-up short as the ice sheet cracked beneath him. Fortunately, he was able to extricate himself and save his phone which was in his pocket. After a quick sashay across the lake without further incident, we strapped skis back onto our packs and began the steep descent back to the TH. Portions of the trail were so steep that with sticks on our packs we had to go backwards but all made it to the bottom without further issue (mosquito and fly bites, OTOH...)





    All-in-all an excellent late spring ski day, taking full advantage of the daylight and great weather. We clocked-in somewhere close to 4200' of climbing and 8 miles of distance, a considerable amount of it on snow for mid-June. The area had been on my spring skiing bucket list for years and now I'm stoked to have properly gotten it done. Enjoy some footy from our BIG day:

    "Pay your nickel and take your chances"
    "they don't groom Alpental, they just move shit around."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    heart in terrace, ass in cowtown
    Posts
    2,871
    Nicely done! Looks like a worthy objective buddy. Great shots.
    “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don't let anybody tell you different.”
    ― Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country

    www.mymountaincoop.ca

    This is OUR mountain - come join us!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Alpental
    Posts
    4,068
    There’s a third way
    “I have a responsibility to not be intimidated and bullied by low life losers who abuse what little power is granted to them as ski patrollers.”

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Alpental
    Posts
    5,572
    and TNT in the drink!
    Move upside and let the man go through...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    WAshington
    Posts
    2,206
    Quote Originally Posted by Mofro261 View Post
    and TNT in the drink!
    Fishing w/ dynamite
    "Pay your nickel and take your chances"
    "they don't groom Alpental, they just move shit around."

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    WAshington
    Posts
    2,206
    Quote Originally Posted by snoqpass View Post
    There’s a third way
    It's true, there is. I've only been out that way, never in
    "Pay your nickel and take your chances"
    "they don't groom Alpental, they just move shit around."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    north aspect
    Posts
    39,824
    truly a good lookin trip!
    bF
    Alpental Indigenous

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    708
    Nice one! Cool learning more about our territory (for me) and congrats on your bucket list trip and safe completion


    Sent from my iPhone using TGR Forums

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Location
    The High 12 Hill
    Posts
    4,017
    Nice work!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    No longer Alexandria, VA
    Posts
    647
    Excellent! Thanks for keeping the summer stoke high.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    4,528
    Great TR. It looks like the snow was still in good shape without too many suncups.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Eburg
    Posts
    13,406
    There's also a 4th way

    Looks like a fun day. It's a very fun line, IMO worth the high grunt-to-turn ratio when conditions are right.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Posts
    349
    Pics already fucked?

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