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[TR] Red Mountain, Snoqualmie Pass - Southwest Face/Ridge 2/24/2015


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Trip: Red Mountain, Snoqualmie Pass - Southwest Face/Ridge


Date: 2/24/2015


Trip Report:

At 8pm Friday night I sent out what could be called a frantic email. It hit me that I did not have a partner for a day in the mountains on Saturday. I was slacking! I sent out a desperate email trying to get someone to join me. An hour went by and no replies... Looks like I would have to settle with household chores. Just as I gave up, bzzz bzzz bzzz my phone! I rushed and grabbed it. It was an unknown number. "My name is Don, what do you have in mind?" YES! A parnter! We met up that night discussed plans and decided Red Mountain was a suitable objective.


The next morning Don picked me up in his Jeep and we were off! We were caught up in conversation and we quickly realized we missed our exit as we started to descend the other side of the pass. We turned around and made it to the parking lot just before 7am. We strapped our boots on. Packed our packs. And it was on!


Red Mountain from the parking lot.


We took the Pacific Crest Trail right as we went under the underpass. The trail was bare with several spots of ice and snow. We left the PCT at the junction, taking a left into Commonwealth Basin. As the sun climbed, morning light shrouded the peaks in a glorious glow of magnificent gold. Up ahead were numerous small creek crossings under beautiful waterfalls. Rocks in the water were frozen, making for a wet and wild crossing. A log lay across Commonwealth Creek, we would have to balance our way across. I took the first go and decided to completely dunk my left foot. Great! Don made it across fine. I got the water out of my boot and we carried on. We lost the trail and decided to just walk up the dry creek towards the ridge, which we could just make out through the timber. Soon we were snaking our way up the southwest ridge through the trees. As the path climbed the views became more grand.



Guye, Snoqualmie, Red and Kendall Peaks (Left to Right)



Sherpa Don and Rainier


The snow on the ridge was great. It made for great steps. The ridge started to become rocky, and there was little snow cover in some spots. We came to a spot where I just could not seem to make it over! We dug down and realized that the snow had started to ice up. We were in an exposed spot so we traversed over by some rocks and kicked out a platform. We put on the crampons and continued up with ease. The snow changed its tone around this time and turned into styrofoam. NWAC said there would be windblown snow on the southwest face of the mountains. We had found it. Soon we were out of the treeline and the summit was tantalizingly close.




Don high on the Southwest Face


We crested the summit and enjoyed the great views. After sharing some cheetos and some chocolate chip cookies we decided to head down. Eventually making it to the crux log crossing. This time i cruised it! Hooray! We made it car to car in just under 6 hours. Red Mountain is fun if your just looking for a short day. I highly recommend it!



Summit views to the south and north



Looking back after the climb.


Gear Notes:

Ice ax, and Crampons will get you up the 45 degree snow slopes for sure.


Approach Notes:

Follow PCT, Cut left at the junction into Commonwealth Basin and aim for the Southwest Ridge.

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