July 16-18 Mt Margaret Backcountry via Norway Pass

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July 16-18 Mt Margaret Backcountry via Norway Pass

Post by Quince » July 19th, 2019, 9:08 am

Guessing if you’re reading this you already know about the incredible vistas, flowers and natural diversity on this loop, so I will just focus on conditions. There are multiple (permit only) camps up in the area so need to check on what's available for where you might be heading - website info includes water availability.

My buddy and I headed up on Tuesday to Dome Camp from the Norway Pass trailhead. Washout on Norway pass between the intersection of the now closed Independence Ridge trail and the intersection of Norway and the Boundary. Might be challenging for some to work around, but it is do-able. Minimal spattering of snow patches - no special gear needed for them. Trail visible at all times. Water available in Dome camp - there is a spring.
(Side note. We were the only people at Dome. If you get a permit and don’t use, please let them know.)

Wednesday we hiked from Dome Camp over to Snow Lake via Coldwater and the Lakes Trail. We had lots of rain and wind, so mosquitoes were not a bother. But they are just waiting for better weather. Lots of them. The landslide noted by authorities is still there and there is actually more than one. They are short and not too bad to work around. Lakes trail is maintained up until the first slide and then things get weedy for awhile. We were told maintenance crews would be back up there by next week. Trail not always visible in the not yet visited by trail crew area and is rocky. Helpful to have GPS through this section. Snow Lake has plenty of water. Lake and stream. Beautiful camp.

Thursday from Snow Lake back out Norway. Trail visible, some overgrowth but nothing crazy, couple small water crossings (very easy), trail visible.

Overall, trails we walked were in good condition except for the slides and small sections of weediness. Fairly exposed in many areas.

Minimum navigational needs are a good topo or Green Trails map. GPS very helpful in some sections. Many of the junction signs are a bit cattywampus and/or have fallen off the posts so it’s necessary to have at least a map to help confirm your turn at any junction. (One couple we talked to had spoken with a group that was completely lost the day we hiked in, so, yes, it can happen).

Beautiful area to explore.
Last edited by Quince on July 20th, 2019, 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: July 16-18 Mt Margaret Backcountry via Norway Pass

Post by lbennis » July 19th, 2019, 10:29 am

This was a fantastic tromp. The backcountry reminded me of Alpine Lakes Wilderness. So many flowers peaking and jaw-dropping vistas and mountains. We only saw three other people in the three days on the trail. It felt like a wilderness adventure. The trek from Norway Pass to Dome Camp was my favorite part of the trip. Here are a few pictures:

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Re: July 16-18 Mt Margaret Backcountry via Norway Pass

Post by JustSomeHiker » July 20th, 2019, 2:08 pm

Quince wrote:
July 19th, 2019, 9:08 am
We were the only people at Dome, yet all permits were taken
I believe in years past most of the camps would allow two different groups on the same night, but this year they are exclusively 1 group per night at all camps except for Ridge Camp, which still allows two groups at a time.

Taken directly from their website: "Camping is limited to 8 designated sites, with one permit issued per site per night (except Ridge Camp, which allows for 2 permits per night). Group size is limited to 4 persons per group."

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Re: July 16-18 Mt Margaret Backcountry via Norway Pass

Post by Quince » July 20th, 2019, 2:32 pm

Explains that.

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Re: July 16-18 Mt Margaret Backcountry via Norway Pass

Post by K.Wagner » July 27th, 2019, 7:57 am


We just got back from 5 days at Snow Lake, will get a TR together soon.

We had a totally different take on the 4th rock slide chute. We are both old rock climbers, so are usually not deterred by some exposure. We both found that first couple of steps into the chute unnerving, to say the least!

Here is Jim, about to make the step onto the sloping, dirt covered rock. Notice the classic Kelty pack, (that says something about our ages .....
There is no shortcut to anyplace worth going to.

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Skamania 231
"How to really get off the beaten path in Skamania County"

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retired jerry
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Re: July 16-18 Mt Margaret Backcountry via Norway Pass

Post by retired jerry » July 27th, 2019, 8:29 am

I finally got rid of my "classic" Kelty pack. New house, not enough room.

I just gave it to the Goodwill

That's a nice area. I need to get back to it

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