Trip: Trappers Peak - South Ridge Trip Date: 01/23/2021 Trip Report:
The incredible weather window on Saturday (1-23-2021) coupled with low avalanche danger inspired @Alisse, Silvia, Rio, and myself to aim for something with a little more adventure than the ski tours we'd been enjoying around the passes for the last few weekends. Trappers Peak seemed to offer a good taste of all the requirements- Questionable forest service road, icy creek crossings, crusty tree skiing, steep enough snow to be fun, and incredible summit views.
We found the forest road to be generally easy going despite recent wind events. Instead of blowdown it was snow on the road that stopped us about a mile from the trailhead. With one steeper section on the road and a few modest ruts to navigate I'd recommend a vehicle with more than a few inches of clearance though I'm sure @Alisse could have made it up with her off-roading Civic.
We took off from the car in ski boots, carrying skis to the trailhead where we decided to start skinning. Of course this was short lived to the first of the creek crossings. The first two were a bit icy taking some care to not dunk the boots. A nice bridge got us over the third.
After crossings to the north side of the valley we were forced to pack up our skis and start booting due to the inconsistent snow on the southern aspect. At about 3,500' we started skinning again on firm and at times icy snow. Conditions and terrain were a bit less consistent than expected and we ended up transitioning more times that I'd like admit before reaching the ridge proper.
Continuing up was generally easy going. We followed the summer trail pretty close all the way to the ridge. The first bit of steep snow was encountered at about 5,200'. This open, south facing slope had old avalanche debris towards the bottom and on a warmer day could be a concern, especially on the descent. We topped out that slope to be greeted with ever improving views of the final stretch to the summit and beyond.
The ridge was basically all corniced to the east and required some consideration and a little bit of route finding as to not creep too close to the edge. The snow was not too difficult to boot, postholing was generally minimal.
Around 5,800' the ridge chokes up for less than 20'. The snow here felt shallower than in previous sections, we bottomed out down to rock on a few steps.
The final step to the summit offered some fun moderate snow that steepened up enough that daggering the axe felt good for a little over a body length. The snow here had great purchase, solid footing.
On the descent
Trip Details: 13 miles, 3,800' gain, 10 hours
Skis, ski crampons, boot crampons, ice axe. A whippet or second tool could be useful for the final summit step if not super comfortable on steep snow, however it climbed fine with just an axe. Approach Notes:
Typical forest road. Winter route generally follows summer trail.