Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Elwha to Hurricane Hill

Early snowfall made us the only visitors to Hurricane Hill on this 12.2 mile, 5500’ gain winter scramble. Clouds parted on the summit ridge affording stunning views.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Snow cover began at the Elwha River and continued all the way to the summit. Snow was shallow most of the way (~8 inches) and a bit deeper starting at ~4200’ to the summit. With chilly winds out of the north we appreciated the still conditions this afforded us for most of the day as we ascended the SW aspect of Hurricane Hill from the Elwha River. Although we were able to continue all the way to the Hurricane Hill summit, for most winter conditions the wisest variation will probably be to settle for the ~4950’ high spot at the west end of Hurricane Ridge. This alternate can be reached even during unstable snow conditions by ascending through the trees west of the open meadow.

Due to limited daylight hours (daylight saving time change, late 1st ferry on Sunday, and snow down to HWY 101) we opted for an up and down trip from the Elwha instead of a traverse up the Little River, and down to the Elwha. This gained us back the time we would have spent setting up the car shuttle, and we all agreed the traverse would probably have had a ‘turn around’ outcome. We left the trailhead at 10am, reached the summit at 3:30pm, and started the headlamp portion of our descent (on trail at ~4200’) at 5pm. Total time was just over 8.5 hours with 5.5 hours for the ascent. Photos from this and other trips to this venue can be seen  here.