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Author Topic: December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park  (Read 21797 times)
Peels
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December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park
« on: 12/16/14, 10:26 AM »

David and I had a great, albeit windy, day skiing Van Trump Park on Sunday.   For the approach, we followed the hiking trail.  We were able to start skinning a handful of switchbacks beyond Comet Falls where the trees start to thin out, though there was a light dusting of snow on the trail almost the whole way.  Once in the park, we followed a ridge (we think the ridge to the right of the standard gully approach) all the way to the glacier.  Above tree line, winds were consistently high and we were repeatedly pelted by ice chunks.  Overall, the snow was decent, with excellent powder in the trees and pockets of wind deposited snow interspersed with wind scour up high.   We also encountered a short section of bulletproof ice near the start of the glacier which required booting up and a somewhat frightening side slip down.    We had mild aspirations of making it onto the Turtle but turned around a bit short due to a lack of time.  A lovely day nevertheless!


* van_trump1.JPG (65.51 KB, 640x640 - viewed 1527 times.)

* van_trump2.JPG (88.08 KB, 958x718 - viewed 1494 times.)
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runningclouds
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Re: December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park
« Reply #1 on: 12/16/14, 05:37 PM »

Nice area! Is the trailhead accessible all year round?
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Peels
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Re: December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park
« Reply #2 on: 12/16/14, 06:22 PM »

Yes, it's the Comet Falls TH about 4 miles past the Nisqually gate.
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Rowan Stewart
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Re: December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park
« Reply #3 on: 12/16/14, 07:11 PM »

Awesome! van trump is such a beautiful place to ski in - glad you found some nice snow too.
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Walking makes the world much bigger, and thus more interesting.
-Edward Abbey
vogtski
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Re: December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park
« Reply #4 on: 12/16/14, 08:34 PM »

Nice area! Is the trailhead accessible all year round?

Very strong parties can access this area, even when the Paradise Road is closed, with a dawn start via the Wonderland Trail west from Longmire, then north along upper Rampart Ridge.  It's about five miles from Longmire to Mildred Point, where one finally breaks out of the trees.  There are a couple short uphill sections on the return.

Another possibility when the snowpack is fat at 3000' (and the road is closed) is to follow the Wonderland north 1.5 miles to Cougar Rock, then continue between the road and the river to the far end of the picnic area, across the road from the campground.  Angle left to the Paradise road and look for an unplowed service road on the far side a few hundred yards north of the CG (might be a bit hard to find in deep snow).  Follow this an easy half-mile to the large CG water tanks.  Behind the tanks, a moderate forested gully leads up steeper terrain for a few hundred yards to the large hairpin turn on the plowed road just below the Comet Falls trailhead.  Remember, no hiking or skiing on the closed road.   Wink

If there's enough snow to ski this low approach, it may not be wise to risk traversing all the avy paths below Comet Falls on the summer trail.  A safer alternative with deep snow is to leave the begining of the trail before the initial high bridge, then switchback ~1000 vf through open old growth to upper Rampart, just below Mildred Point.

There is also a moderate route ('Dream Bowl') to Van Trump from Glacier Bridge (can be reached via the Nisqually River gravel bars from Cougar Rock), but it is exposed to large lee-slope avy paths much of the way... PM me for a detailed description.

Peels - Comet Falls trailhead is about four miles above the Longmire gate. 
« Last Edit: 12/16/14, 09:09 PM by vogtski » Logged

I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
runningclouds
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Re: December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park
« Reply #5 on: 12/16/14, 10:53 PM »

Thanks guys, I appreciate your replies. Wishing you (and myself) some significant snow dump.
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Peels
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Re: December 14, 2014, Van Trump Park
« Reply #6 on: 12/18/14, 03:49 PM »

:-) Thanks for all the beta! And LOL! No clue how I came up with Nisqually Gate!
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