Mount Ellinor Updated Trip Report
Mount Ellinor skipped right into winter this last week, with over a foot of snow falling at her summit. With the first clear day in a few weeks, we decided to ditch real work and head up to the mountain. From Olympia, the trip usually takes about 90 minutes, which given the view, is well worth the effort up to the top.
While the National Parks may be closed (hiding the beautiful view at Hurricane Ridge), Mount Ellinor is open for business. Sure, the climb is steep, but the views you can get on a good day are some of the best in the world. Mount Rainier looms over to the east, past the Hood Canal and Puget Sound and the city of Seattle is perfectly visible from nearly 6,000ft above sea. On days like October 4th, 2013 the light, the sky and the conditions were perfect. Mount Rainier, Mount Adams and Mount St Helens were all visible to the east, with Mount Baker peering around Mount Washington to the North.
The interior of the Olympics is gorgeous right now. With a visible snowline of about 4500ft, the snow- white contrasts from the deep green valleys (drenched from feet of rain falling over the last week) making the snow even more intense. Mount Olympus rises to the west, perfectly situated. While not often photographed, Mount Olympus is a classically beautiful mountain. High ridges lead up to her glacier-flanked sides, her snow-capped peak pierces the blue sky and all seems right in the world. Except, of course, for gates being put up closing the nature visible from the summit of Mount Ellinor.
If you are looking for an awesome view of the Puget Sound, Hood Canal, the Cascade Range and the entire Olympic Peninsula, you need to hike Mount Ellinor. It isn’t easy, but it can, and should, be done by you!
While only 1.6 miles from upper parking lot, there is an elevation gain of over 2400ft (3500-5900ft). Bathrooms are closed due to the Government Shutdown at the Trailhead. If you need to expel waste while hiking, do so 50 feet from the trail and on a rock or snow patch. The snow currently starts after the 1 mile mark, and the section with the rocks is quite slick. Traction devices/Crampons aren’t required, but if you think you will feel more safe, please use them.
Trail Breakdown: 3 main sections
-Section 1: .30 miles of a straight up trail in a dense forest and well-marked trail. Elevation gain is 400ft.
– Section 2: .70 miles of switchbacks through a forest. Rest benches are available, as you gain 600 feet. Loose pebbles and dirt can cause spots where the trail is loose. Great views are available at the top of this section.
– Section 3: .60 miles of scree and steps carved into rock. This has an elevation gain of over 1400ft, so take your time. In some areas, the rock is a little loose, so test your steps before you commit. Despite the difficulty, amazing views unfold nearly every step. Mountain Goat encounters in this section are possible, so keep an eye out.
You need to hike here. #OlympicPeninsula