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Trip Report    

Winter Scramble - Mount Ellinor (winter

Beautiful day in the mountains but snow conditions on the winter route caused us to turn around.

  • Road rough but passable
  • The snow on the route was set like cement, with prior people's postholes frozen in place. Microspikes worked perfectly here.  We met some snowshoers who were trekking off the beaten path where the snow was softer. As you ascend the gully along the winter route at around 4,800ft the softer snow is hidden beneath an icy crust and the slope angle gets much steeper. For this section, you would need crampons, ice ax and helmet.

     

Started from Hoodsport at around 8AM after agreeing to try for the lower trailhead instead of starting from the Big Creek campground. The road to the lower trailhead was windy and a little rough (it's a forest road). The last mile had snow and ice on the road, but there were bare troughs due to other people's tires, so that went fine.

We started up the trail and switched to microspikes within about a mile. There was a pretty well trodden path with signs of postholing; however, the snow was almost like concrete along this path and we simply stepped around the postholes. At the junction of the signed summer route (which showed no signs of use) we turned onto the winter route and continued following the boot path along the creek. At around 4,800 ft, the gully pitched upward more steeply and we switched to ice axes and helmets. This section was steep with an icy crust covering softer snow. We saw no evidence that people had continued further than this point, and, lacking crampons, we didn't have the ability to continue this route, so we turned around. 

We did pass one man who continued up the gully, front-pointing with his crampons and high-daggering with his ice ax.

Overall, about 5.5 miles and 2,000 ft of gain round-trip.

 

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