A Mount Ross Do-Over / 羅斯山重新爬

Mountaineering legend Fred Beckey said to allow a full day to climb Mount Ross. And he meant it! The pups and I tried going up four years earlier. But we turned around in terrible weather conditions. Visibility beyond the microflectors was very weak. Plus, at the time, I didn’t realize how involved the rest of the climb would have been.

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

Getting up to the Microflectors

The crux was going from the car up to the radio repeaters at 3300′. It involved gaining 2800′ in two miles. Then the terrain gradually flattened at 3800′. It was clear to see the aftermath of Goodell Fire 2015. So virtually every tree I touched had gone through the burn. We needed to bypass lots of big granite rocks in the gully.

During our first attempt in 2012, snow level started just below the microflectors. So we were able to move faster by snowshoeing from there. But this time, the snow didn’t show up until we went past 4700′ above the granite slabs. So I stashed the snowshoes at 3800′.

Microflectors on Mount Ross
Microflectors on Mount Ross

See more trip photos here.

Getting Through Alder Swatches

It has been bone dry along the ridge. We followed a game trail into the forest by a tiny pond. There the pups finally got to enjoy the water. The path then went along the east of the ridge. That allowed us to bypass an alder swatch entirely. We stayed close to the bottom of the buttresses above the cliffs. From there, I saw a little bit of Newhalem at the bottom.

Soon, we came up to another alder swatch. It spread across the top of the talus field. So I thought we were in for a nasty brush fight. But then at 100′ up from the talus, a small opening on the right caught my eye. So we went up and got through some thin alder. Right on the other side of the thicket was a small gully. We used it to go up to the bottom of the 500′-tall granite wall.

Finding a way to get around
Finding a way to get around

See more trip photos here.

Mount Ross South Ridge via Granite Wall

The continuous slabs turned out to be a fun, exposed class 3 scramble. There were enough ledges and steps to help to get up the steep terrain. Later, we found another faint game trail above us. So we followed it to climb out of the gully and went up onto the ridge. From there, we walked the ridgeline in packed snow. Then we got onto Point 4880 first, followed by Point 5400.

I put on crampons at 5200′ for traction and some mixed climbing. So we could get through more granite slabs. Just past Point 5400, we took a slight dip on the ridge. Then we finished the last 700′ slog up to the top. By now, the top of the snow had melted. But postholing was never an issue. Though, snowshoes would have made the final stretch much more efficient.

Ridgelines for days
Ridgelines for days

See more trip photos here.

Mount Ross Summit Plus Views

This mountain hadn’t seen too many visitors. It’s interesting since the views were excellent! The summit area was relatively flat, with lots of room for an entire army. It was great to see a different side of Davis Peak from here. Plus, we also got a closer look at the southern Picket Range. Paul Bunyans Stump‘s unique shape made it easily identifiable. So it stood out from the rest of the Snowfield group.

All but Primus Peak of the Eldorado group was visible. We also had a clear view of Jack Mountain, Crater Mountain, and Ruby Mountain to the east. Plus, a little bit of Diablo Lake. I spent some time checking out the impressive Thornton Peak, Mount Despair, Mount Baker, and Mount Shuksan west of there.

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

See more trip photos here.

Outro

The pups and I started going back down after an extended stay. Glad we made it through to the 3800′ flat ridgeline while it was still light. Afterward, we scrambled down another 3000′ of steepness. Then we got back down to Newhalem in the dark.

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