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Hiked up to the summit with my brother. Started from trailhead around 9am, lots of compact snow and ice on the trail. Left the trail and headed up the avalanche gully somewhere around 4000 feet or so, snowshoes not necessary. Veered left and ascended the SW ridge. Two inches of soft, new snow over a very stable, icy layer made it challenging at times. Ice axe and crampons definitely recommended. Warming during the day facilitated some shallow loose snow avalanches, but nothing dangerous. Snow coverage is minimal in places, post-holed down to the heather a few times. Near the summit there was some wind slab deposited in select areas on the ridge, but it was easily avoidable and not in especially hazardous terrain. Made the summit shortly before noon, cleared up enough to see Rainier. Back to the trailhead before 3pm.
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