Rampart Ridge by Alta Mountain / 靠阿爾塔山的壁壘脊

Rampart Ridge was a last-minute idea. We slept through the alarm this morning. So we ended up being three hours behind schedule. As we drove through Snoqualmie Pass, I decided to ditch plan A and then turned the car around.

Rampart Ridge up above
Rampart Ridge up above

See more trip photos here.

Rampart Ridge at a Glance

Access: NF-4832
Round Trip: 6.7 miles
Elevation Range: 3480′-5870′
Gear: microspikes, snowshoes, ice ax
GPS Track: available
Dog-Friendly: yes

Road 4832

I last drove on Road 4832 on our way to Mount Margaret. Since we were in an SUV back then, the shallow snow wasn’t much of a concern. It looked like most trips up to the ridge took place during the high season. So I knew we wouldn’t get very far.

The road was in decent shape with some potholes. But the brush on both sides had grown over the roadway, so the path felt narrower. Glad we got as far up as 3500′ before seeing snow. Then I parked in the last available pullout and walked a little over a mile to the trailhead.

View from pullout
View from pullout

See more trip photos here.

Lake Laura Trail

Glad that I didn’t keep driving. By the time we reached packed snow, there was no room to turn the car around! It started to drizzle as I put on snowshoes. Later we arrived at the first switchback on the road. It was the start of the trail. But the slide alder ahead made it look otherwise.

So we explored the hills next to the road. Then I realized the real feasible way was through the path under the slide alder. But it was surprising not to see a defined pathway since many people go up to the ridge every year. Later I saw old boot and ski tracks on the other side of the thickets.

Crux of the climb
Crux of the climb

See more trip photos here.

Lake Lillian to Rampart Ridge

We followed the tracks up the slopes before they all disappeared somehow. Then we continued north and crossed the stream coming out of Twin Lakes. Shortly, we stepped into Alpine Lakes Wilderness. There were many dry areas in the forest. But we stayed on snow to avoid the thickets.

To see Lake Laura, we would need to drop 200′ through the dense forest. Instead, we continued uphill to Lillian Lake Basin. Before long, the lake graced us with her presence. Later, we walked through to the eastern shore in the direction of Rampart Lakes Trail.

Lake Lillian with Dungeon Peak
Lake Lillian with Dungeon Peak

See more trip photos here.

Bypassing the Ridgeline

From the lakeshore, we climbed 400′ up to the saddle. There we got our first look into Box Canyon. Then we dropped onto the eastern slopes and avoided the ridge altogether. The ridgeline also didn’t look conducive to traversing. So I was more than happy to stay on the mild ground.

Many old tracks here pointed to the ridgeline ahead. So we made a direct rise through the wavy terrain in the same direction. Soon we made it up to 5800′. It was woodsy here. But trees kept out the wind as we walked to the real summit. The rain had stopped at some point. But it was still cloudy.

The final stretch on Rampart Ridge
The final stretch on Rampart Ridge

See more trip photos here.

Rampart Ridge Summit

Summit boulders were still under snow. So it was easier to go up through the steep terrain on the east. That part turned out better than it looked. The puppy followed Sir Cody’s every move through the exposure. Then we situated ourselves on a dry spot among the trees.

Box Ridge and Alta Mountain were visible the whole time. But most of the time, clouds would obscure Chikamin Ridge and the western horizon. The impressive Mount Thomson went in and out of the mist. I could also see the snowy slopes of Snoqualmie Mountain from here.

Rampart Ridge northern panoramic view
Rampart Ridge northern panoramic view

See more trip photos here.

Outro

Views from the southeast to the southwest were more visible than in any other direction. It could just be terrible weather. But the scenery didn’t look as impressive there. Glad we were able to see something despite the growing clouds.

It rained earlier while we were still down on the road. But then we were in the forest for the most part. So we didn’t get nearly as wet. The heavy rain outlook never formed. But the thunder did rumble a few times just as we left the ridge.

Thanks for a storm-free day
Thanks for a storm-free day

See more trip photos here.

Soon we made it down past the lakes. Then I noticed boot tracks that had turned around in the forest. Back on the road, we met three guys and a pup out on a photo excursion.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Sean

    Thanks for the trip report. Do you have GPS tracks for this?

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