OverviewThe Rampart Ridge highpoint, point 5870, can be attained via a trail, and a short scramble at the end. It is ranked #43 on the Home Court 100 list , and offers excellent views of the Rampart Lakes and neighboring summits. I had wanted to explore this region since reading a trip report 4-5 years ago.
The Rocky Run approach to Lake Lillian is direct, and in good shape for a climber's trail. There was one place where a washout area is getting close to the logging road, so it would be best to use this route sooner rather than later. This page describes the route to Alta Mountain and the Rampart Ridge highpoint, a fun two summit day trip.
This route description refers to my topo map waypoints. Our ascent route is red, and the return is yellow. We parked at WP-001, and headed up the Rocky Run trail toward Lake Lillian. At WP-002 a trail leads left to the Lake Laura basin. The standard trail from Mt Margaret is reached at WP-003. You go left toward the Lake Lillian outlet, WP-004. The first part of the lake traverse is on some slabby rock. It was snowy and icy, so we doubled back and headed up a trail that goes up and over the little bump south of the lake, and leads you back to the lake shore. After following the shore for a bit, the trail climbs steeply out of the Lake Lillian basin.
The trail follows the ridge, and then drops to the right of it before reaching WP-005. If you are going to climb Rampart Ridge first, go left, and follow the trail to the E-W ridge saddle, WP-008. We traveled this section on our return, and took a more direct cross-country route from WP-PT5870 back to WP-009. If you are headed to the Rampart Lakes or Alta Mt first, consider going right at WP-005. It makes an efficient traverse, and saves you about 150' of elevation gain compared with going over WP-008.
WP-006 marks the southern edge of the Rampart Lakes basin. There are multiple trails through the lakes, and we got off route to the left, and ended up on a little hill above the northern lake. After backtracking a bit to get back on route, we continued N-NE, past the right (east) turn that heads down to Rachel Lake. Turn left at WP-007 to follow the ridge all the way to the Alta summit. We went right and ended up in the Lila Lakes basin, and needed to climb west over open slopes to regain the ridge crest. A trail follows the ridge to the summit. There are one or two spots with easy 2nd class scrambling.
Rampart Ridge, Point 5870
Retrace the route back to WP-006, and climb the gully to the saddle, WP-008. A trail leads to the high point, and there are different options to finish the climb. A series of ledges can be followed around to the right, or the trail ends at a short gully leading to the summit, with a direct, unexposed 4th class move up a large block, or a more exposed 3rd class move around to the right. You can follow the E-W ridge back to the saddle and the trail, or cross open slopes toward WP-009, which is what we did.
Stats for Alta and Rampart Ridge high point (WP-PT5870) route:
Ascent (red route): 5.5 mi, 3100'
Descent (yellow): 5.2 mi, 1000'
WP-001 to WP-PT5870:
2.3 mi, 2250', 250' return
Roundtrip: 4.7 mi, 2500'
Getting ThereFrom Seattle take I-90 East to Exit 54. Turn left at the Stop, and in about 0.2 mile take another right onto Gold Creek, road #4832, which runs parallel with I-90. In a mile there is a left turn onto spur #144 that leads to Gold Creek Trail #1314. Continue straight on road #4832. At about 3270' the road makes a switchback to the right, and you turn left(north) onto Road #136, which may be unmarked. Follow this road two miles to waypoint 001, the start of the Rocky Run climbers' trail to Lake Lillian. (see topo map) The official trail to Lake Lillian starts a little ways past the Rocky Run turnoff. Continue on to the Mt Margaret TH. This adds quite a bit of distance to the trip.
Alternatively, you can come in via the standard Alta Mt approach on the Rachel Lake trail.
CampingThere is camping available in the Rampart Lakes and Lila Lakes basins.