Red Mountain (no, not that one)

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Sometimes the hardest part of a trip is picking the destination. It’s especially hard, when your planned two-day trip is a no-go because of a shitty weather forecast. (Who wants to camp on the snow in rain? Not me.) We already had the time blocked out, so we decided that we might as well use at least some of it to bag a peak or two. 

The default destination is often the Teanaway because it sits in a micro-rain-shadow. We settled on a seldom-climbed peak called Red Mountain. (A bit of trivia, there are 12 summits in Washington named “Red Mountain.” After the trip, I had to explain so many times, “No, not that Red Mountain. We climbed the one off FS 46 near Cle Elum.”) It’s ranked #42 on the Alpine Lakes Home Court 100 list and #77 on Washington’s Top Peaks by Prominence, so it’s nothing so sneeze at. It’s just off most people’s radars.

The trail start is a climber’s dream – straight up, no messing around. We reached snow at about 4300′. (Our outing was in early June, so YMMV.) After that, we walked straight up the snow to the saddle on the ridge just south of the summit.

We had bad beta, directing us to Point 5722 to find the remnants of an old lookout site. We didn’t find one, so we headed north to the true summit. Where the snow had melted out, we found a boot path on the ridge and eventually the lookout site. 

After that it turned into a true Cascade scramble. Some ups and downs, loose rock, exposed areas, good views, mostly 2nd and 3rd class with a few 4th class moves thrown in for fun. It was cool on the summit and precip threatened, so we beat a hasty retreat back to the cars. All-in-all a fantastic “consolation” climb.

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