Distance: 7.0 km
Elevation gain: 600 m View map Download GPS track
Finally, a sunny day in the mountains! And we didn't waste it either, snowshoeing up high for great views from Rummel Ridge. The temperature at the top was hot as well, melting the snow and allowing us to hang around for about an hour rather than retreating quickly to the trees for warmth.
Rummel Ridge is the unofficial name for the ridge roughly northwest of Rummel Lake and southwest of the summit of The Tower. If you're snowshoeing to Rummel Lake, it is the ridge you glimpse to your left through trees. While you can simply break off from the Rummel Lake trail and ascend the ridge when you see it, this route is very steep and potentially prone to avalanches. The route we took - and the one that others appear to take - starts about 1.3 km north of Mt. Engadine Lodge where Rummel Creek crosses the road. The elevation gain is steady the entire way by this route - 650 m+ over 3.5 km, so it is a workout, but there are no terribly steep spots that can cause trouble for snowshoes. While the route is straightforward, it does require a small amount of cross country navigational skill if the trail is unbroken.
The trail starts at the firebreak/road about 1.3 km north of the Mt. Engadine road and follows the creek coming from the valley between The Tower and Mt. Engadine for about 1.5 km. This creek is not
Rummel Creek. While the trail is at present broken along the north bank of this creek, crossing to the south bank after about 750 m, a more direct and easier route would be to cross to the south bank nearly immediately after departing from the road. Regardless, don't wait too long to cross as the banks of the stream become impassably steep further upstream [see 2015 route update
]. Once on the south bank, the route essentially follows the high route all the way to the top of the ridge. The thick forest makes a GPS handy to keep you from straying too far from the ridgecrest. As you approach the top be cautious of the overhanging snow on the east face of the ridge.
The views from the top are spectacular! Particularly impressive is the northwest face of Mt. Galatea, just a kilometer to the south, but the views to the north and west are nearly as inspiring as well. It is possible to descend from the ridge to Rummel Lake (or pass), but this route does come close to areas of avalanche danger, and with bus loads of people visiting the lake today we weren't particularly eager to join the crowds after having had the ridge all to ourselves.
UPDATE: See our latest trip report
on Rummel Ridge for additional route information.