Saturday, March 25, 2006

Mount Ellinore-Olympic Nat'l Forest (3/25/06)

Today I teamed up with eleven hikers from the Peninsula Wilderness Club to climb Mt Ellinore (5944 ft) in the Olympic National Forest.

Three of our team, myself on snowshoes and two cross country skiers, climbed halfway up the chute (5650 ft), assessed the avalanche risks (see snow pit pic below), decided the risk was unacceptably high, and aborted any further attempt to climb higher.

Everyone enjoyed the fantastic sunny day and we all appreciated the rigorous workout and wonderful scenary.

Heavy snow accummulation on the road prevented us from driving up to the Lower Ellinore trailhead. This added about a 30 minute hike to the frontend of our trek. To prevent frequent, deep postholing, snowshoes or crosscountry skis were appreciated greatly by those so equipped, although everyone was able to progress to at least the bottom of the chute.

Our route from parked cars took us up the snow covered forest road, to a location 20 minutes hike beyond the lower trailhead, where we veered from the road, off to the left, up a snow bank, gaining a hogsback ridge that led to the start of the Upper trailhead. From there we mostly followed the standard Winter route to the base of Ellinor's chute (and beyond).

The pictures below start with views of "A" Peak (and me), taken from the upper trailhead. Following this are scenic pictures taken from various places on the Chute (the base or halfway up) and also a picture of the Chute itself.

I have included a picture of the snow pit, dug by a PWC skier, that we evaluated for avalanche potential. And lastly, there is a wildlife picture of of one of our many lunchtime companions.

Note: Click picture for LARGER view.

View of "A" Peak From Upper Trailhead (Paul Shown) Posted by Picasa

"A" Peak Posted by Picasa

Puget Sound & Hood Canal (View from Ellinore Chute) Posted by Picasa

Lake Cushman (View from Ellinore Chute) Posted by Picasa

The Chute Posted by Picasa

Snow Pit Dug Halfway Up Chute Posted by Picasa

Looking Toward Top of Chute Posted by Picasa

Lunchtime Companion Posted by Picasa

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