Mount Ross by Davis Peak in North Cascades via Newhalem / 羅斯山

  • Reading time:4 mins read

Mount Ross by Davis Peak looms over Newhalem and Skagit River. This mountain inside North Cascades National Park doesn’t see many visitors, even with a highway at its feet. The overall altitude rises 1300′ per mile over the long ridgeline.

Mount Ross summit up ahead
Mount Ross summit up ahead

See more trip photos here.

Mount Ross at a Glance

Access: Newhelem, Washington
Round Trip: 8.5 miles
Elevation Range: 500′-6052′
Gear: helmet, microspikes
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: no

The Preface

The pups and I tried climbing the peak four years earlier but turned around in bad weather. Visibility beyond the microflectors was weak. At the time, I also wasn’t fully aware of the effort it would involve.

Fast forward to four years later. This time, we armed ourselves with more daylight and less snow. But talk about the timing. Little did I know, Mr. Cooper’s right cruciate ligament would tear in another month.

Parking area in Newhalem
Parking area in Newhalem

See more trip photos here.

The Microflectors

The steep climb went from the car to the radio repeaters at 3300′, and it gained 2800′ in two miles. The aftermath of the 2015 Goodell Fire was evident, and every tree I touched had been through the burn. En route were many granite rocks in the gully until the terrain eased at 3800′.

During our first visit in 2012, the snow started below the microflectors. So we were able to move efficiently in snowshoes. But this time, we didn’t see any snow until past 4700′ above the granite slabs. So I had stashed the snowshoes at 3800′.

Microflectors on Mount Ross
Microflectors on Mount Ross

See more trip photos here.

Through Slide Alder

It has been bone dry along the ridge. Soon, we followed a game trail into the trees with a tiny pond. The pups soaked in the water for a bit. The path then went along the ridge’s east, bypassing an alder swath. Then we hugged the buttresses above the cliffs and caught a glimpse of Newhalem.

Soon, we saw more alder that stretched over the top of a talus field. I thought we were in for a nasty brush fight. But 100′ up the rocks, an opening in the thin brush had caught my eye. Then we went into a small gully and up to the 500′-tall granite wall.

Finding a way around the slide alder
Finding a way around the slide alder

See more trip photos here.

Mount Ross South Ridge Granite Wall

Ledges and steps had helped to go up the steep slope. The sustaining slabs turned out to be a fun, exposed class 3 scramble. Soon, we found another faint trail to go out of the gully and onto the ridge. Then we traversed the ridgeline in continuous snow to Point 4880, followed by Point 5400.

I put on crampons at 5200′ for traction and mixed climbing to go over some slabs. Then past Point 5400, we took a slight dip on the ridge to finish the last 700′. By now, the snow had softened, but postholing wasn’t an issue. But snowshoes would’ve made the final bit more comfortable.

Ridgelines for days
Ridgelines for days

See more trip photos here.

Mount Ross Summit Plus Views

Oddly, this peak hasn’t seen many visitors since the views were excellent! The top was pretty flat, with enough room for an army. I could see the entire route on Davis Peak from here and an intimate look at the Picket Range. Paul Bunyans Stump‘s unique shape stood out from the rest of the Snowfield group.

All but Primus Peak of the Eldorado group was visible. We had a clear view of Jack Mountain, Crater Mountain, and Ruby Mountain. Plus, I checked out the impressive Mount Triumph, Mount Despair, Mount Baker, and Mount Shuksan to the west.

North view to the Southern Picket Range
North view to the Southern Picket Range

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The pups and I headed down after an extended visit. Glad we had made it back to the flat ridgeline at 3800′ while it was still light. Then we scrambled 3000′ down the steep terrain and returned to Newhalem in the dark.

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