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Red Mountain


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Here are some conditions info: This morning I climbed Red Mountain via the Southwest Slope. Snow conditions were pretty good, with a packed trail leading to the end of the flat part of the Commonwealth Basin. I had hoped for very icy slopes, but settled for step kicking. Great views to Kendall and Snoqualmie Peaks on the way up, but the summit view was "cloud interior" and blowing snow. Out of the trees the travel was on wind slab which seemed stable, but was constantly loading with snow blown from the east. I saw no other parties. The steepness of the climb was fun, but probably best on a very cold day! 5 hours round trip.

Happy climbing!

--Michael Stanton

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Congratulations on what sounded like a successful climb! We're planning Red Mountain on January 12th or 13th. Probably 2 teams of 2. Do you see a need for ice tools, or will a glacier axe do? We are doing this as a warm-up for some bigger winter ascents and I was hoping to try and bivy near or on the summit. What's it like up there?



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Hi Drew,A glacier axe is enough, but don't forget crampons. There wasn't enough flat terrain for a tent, as the summit seemed to be mostly cornice. A better spot might be ~300 feet lower on the ridge at a relatively flat area below a rock step.

I would hate to bivy up there in a snowstorm and have to worry about making it down without triggering a slide the next morning! shocked.gif" border="0

Have fun!--Michael

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Memories of Red.

One weekend several years ago I snowshoed in for a planned bivy on the summit. But I was sick and our progress slow. We made camp on a small shelf perhaps 700 vertical feet below the summit on a ridge just south of the usual winter climbing route.

As I fell asleep it was but 5F inside the tent, and frost was growing on the ceiling. I had on all my clothes and burrowed down into my sleeping bag.

I awoke some hours later soaked in sweat. "What the hell is going on?"

I checked the thermometer and found that the temperature was more than 40F inside the tent, and it was raining outside. Exhausted, but worried of being trapped by rising avalanche danger, we packed in the dark and rain and descended to safety in the trees below, where we spent the rest of the night and a good bit of the morning.

Ya gotta love the Cascades.


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