Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Rampart Ridge 5870'

    I again wasn't in the mood for an epic adventure so something familiar seemed like the best choice. I have been up the fisherman's trail to Lake Lillian a few times and I love the area of Rampart Lakes in Fall. I toyed with running all the way to East Alta but in the end I opted for a return to the Rampart Ridge Hi-Point. Exit 54 was open which I wasn't sure would be the case. There is however plenty of road work so keep a wary eye for workers and trucks. Once past the construction the road is in passable shape. I left the main line at the second switchback where I kept heading straight instead of following the mainline. In past years this road has had plenty of encroaching brush. Today the road was in much better shape saving the paint job on the old Subaru. Once the road makes a big bend there is plenty of parking.

I was a bit surprised to see a few cars. After suiting up I was off the trail starts flat but soon climbs steeply to a junction with Lake Laura the right junction continues to climb steeply until it joins the trail coming from Mt Margaret. A short ways later in flattens out and you can see Lake Lillian. In the past I tried making my way along the South shore but it is slabby and a slip would result in falling in the lake. Instead of making my way to the lake I headed East and climbed on good tread to make my way around the unpleasant slab traverse. After 100' of climb you can drop back down to lake level and continue towards the Northern Shore. The trail again splits with one staying near lake level to a nice campsite on the North Shore. I instead climbed steeply to gain the ridgeline above the lake. Once reaching the ridge the trail wanders through some nice tarns and meadows. The views are nice despite the smokey air.

   Once I reached another junction I decided to head up instead of dropping to the uppermost Rampart Lake. The trail is in good shape and spits you out onto the summit ridge. Once on the ridge I headed West to reach the highpoint. The summit is guarded from a direct ascent by some airy steps to reach easier ground.. I had hoped that the dog would stay below me becasue I wasn't sure if he could make it both up and down unscathed. Not feeling good about continuing I backed down and dropped pack in the warm sun. After a short break I thought I could drop down a bit a traverse to the Northern side on some nice ledges. This proved to be fruitful as I was able to find easier dog friendly scrambling. Once reaching the summit the views to Snoqualmie Pass are pretty cool.

  I retraced my steps back to my pack and relaxed a bit before the knee jarring descent back to the car. Just North of the lake I passed a couple of nice guys heading up. After a short conversation I made it back down to lake level.


  The ballance of the trip was hard on the old knees but I quickly made it back to the car. I was hoping to give myself plenty of time to return home to watch the Seahawks take on the Packers on Monday Night Football.

Approx. 5 miles 2700' of climb 3:45 car to car

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