May 25, 2008, - Mt. Ellinor

5/25/08
WA Cascades East Slopes North
3472
2
Posted by DCM on 5/26/08 4:36am
I was inspired to try to do this tour from a post a few weeks back, so I posted for partners for a trip out there on Sunday.  Ended up with a good group of four of us (Pete, Tom, Jim, and myself) for what we assumed would be a sopping wet day on the mountain, only to find blue skies and sun.

The previous day, Saturday, I had ventured out to do some sport climbing at exit 38, expecting to find wet rock and rain based on the forecast.  I was surprised to find sunny skies and dry rock.  After climbing for the morning, I set out for a late afternoon run on Granite Mt.  I skied Avalanche Gully from the upper end of the bowl down to water fall.  It was all under beautiful blue skies, with soft surface snow on a firm base.  There was quite a bit of sluffing on the steep upper slopes, but it was still good skiing.  Sorry, no pics...forgot my camera that day.

Naturally, given the previous day's unexpected glorious weather, I was not surprised when I woke up to the rain in Seattle that the forecast had been calling for all weekend.  Nonetheless, I figured skiing in the Olympics in the rain would be more fun than sitting at home. 

By the time we got to Hoodsport, the overcast skies had given way to passing clouds in an otherwise blue sky.  By the time we hit the lower Ellinor TH (road is still full of snow above this point), the sun was beating down.  I couldn't believe my luck with two beautiful days in a row.

We skinned up the road until the snow ran out, ~1/2 mile from the switchback.  A short bushwack cut off the switchback and brought us back to snow on the road all the way to the upper TH.  The upper trail was bare  at first, and then a snow staircase up until we emerged at the base of the climbers chute.  A lot of climbers were out, and their well-worn glissade track down the chute was two feet deep in some spots.  Being the only skiers out that day, we got strange looks from many climbers as we booted up the chute past them in approach shoes. 

The views from the summit were excellent.  The skiing down was decent, with soft snow overlying a firm base.  We opted to not ski the main chute down, since the glissade track was so deep and the boot tracks were all over the rest of the chute.  We found a nice, albeit not as steep, chute off to skiers left.  The entrance was a bit dicey, as there was a surprisingly deep trench where the snow was melting away from the rocks about 1/4 of the way down.  We downclimbed across the trench and skied the nice steep drop into the chute.  There was some sluffing, but it was more than manageable.  The rest of the chute provided good turns down to a short traverse that brought us back to the base of the main chute. 

A nice hike out to the trailhead was followed by a poor "short-cut" decision that led to a nasty bushwack down to the road.  Sorry about the bushwack guys, but again, no Olympics trip is complete without devils club.  All-in-all, a great day on the mountain, complete with scratches on our legs from the bushwacking and sunburns everywhere else from the intense sun.

Pics are posted here (ignore the date on the album, my camera keeps resetting its time stamp to 2002):

http://picasaweb.google.com/roblehtinen/MtEllinor052608

FYI- Others may want to note that the road to the upper trailhead has a major washout about  1/2 mile in at the first creek crossing. It will be unpassable to vehicles until is is repaired.

Great trip, nice to meet you fellows.

author=DCM link=topic=10166.msg40836#msg40836 date=1211830600]
We skinned up the road until the snow ran out, ~1/2 mile from the switchback.  A short bushwack cut off the switchback and brought us back to snow on the road all the way to the upper TH.  The upper trail was bare  at first, and then a snow staircase up until we emerged at the base of the climbers chute.  A lot of climbers were out, and their well-worn glissade track down the chute was two feet deep in some spots.  Being the only skiers out that day, we got strange looks from many climbers as we booted up the chute past them in approach shoes. 


Doh!!!  My camera erased all the pictures I took!  Such a bummer.  Yes I do blame the camera.

Nice meeting you guys though.  That was sweet run!

-Pete

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may-25-2008-mt-ellinor
DCM
2008-05-26 11:36:40