Castle and Pinnacle - Tatoosh Backup Trip

4/21/21
WA Cascades West Slopes South (Mt Rainier)
598
6
Posted by Grant on 4/22/21 10:41am

Started the day with grand plans to go up to Van Trump Park leaving at 5:30 AM, but with the warm weather we bailed a little over an hour in after crossing across one to many steep slopes with already soft snow below avalanche chutes down low for our comfort level (unsure how snow conditions would be for overhead danger and triggering wet loose into the creek in the afternoon).

Back up for the day was getting into the Tatoosh Range to do some runs near Castle and Pinnacle. On the false summit of Castle, had glorious views of Rainier, Helens, Adams, and Hood! Good corn around 11 am on the southeast aspect of Castle. Waited for things to soften up on the north facing bowls. Did north facing runs from Castle saddle at 12 and the Pinnacle-Castle saddle around 1 hitting a steeper chute back down to reflection lake. Snow was firmer corn, but still fun! The S-SW face below pinnacle looked like it would be a whole lot of fun.

 

 

It aint much, but its honest work

IMG_5932

 

"It aint much, but its honest work"

Haha, I like that. It describes much of spring skiing in the Cascades, especially Plan B fall-backs. 


I saw the road was partly plowed at the fork. Is there snow on the road above Narada Falls?


@dakota-jensen Road is plowed slightly past reflection lakes, but was closed when we were up there. Snow machines were still doing work past reflection.

 

@tooslim Haha thanks, every day out cant be epic, but it can be fun!


With the warm weather we bailed a little over an hour in after crossing across one to many steep slopes with already soft snow below avalanche chutes down low for our comfort level

Indeed, I found all the traversing the summer trail does above the creek (terrain trap extraordinaire!) to be spooky in the spring.  Once upon a time, I had reasonable success heading due north after the first crossing of Van Trump Creek and climbing (booting at times places) some steep old growth that leads onto a plateau west of Cushman Crest.  The plateau was a little undulating and odd to navigate across, but lead to direct and relatively safe access to Van Trump Park above.


@andyrew Yeah!? Looking back at van trump from the Tattoosh, I kept wondering if you could have booted straight out of the drainage. Glad to hear it is doable! What did you all do for the return? We kept asking ourselves "this is soft at 6am, whats 3pm going to look like?"


Sort of late to this conversation, but if there's sufficient snow cover down low there's a hazard free and straightforward way to get into Van Trump Park.  Remain on the left (western) side of Van Trump Creek to the point where the creek drainage makes an obvious rightward bend to the north.  In that general area veer left (west) away from the creek and easily ascend to Rampart Ridge, then follow the approximate route of the summer trail to Van Trump, crossing the deep creek swale easily at around 5,500' below Mildred Point. This route avoids all the avy hazard traversed by the summer trail, is not unreasonably steep, and offers reasonably open tree skiing if coverage is adequate.

When coming back out  one must take some care not to get disoriented amid the sort of featureless humpy ground atop Rampart Ridge where one can easily go astray...unless, of course, you're all 21st century with one of those fancy electric things.


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castle-and-pinnacle-tatoosh-backup-trip
Grant
2021-04-22 17:41:23