Trip: Mt Ellinor - Rose to NW gully Trip Date: 05/27/2018 Trip Report:
The first time I attempted this was almost 20 years ago, we made it up onto Mt Ellinor from the Mt Rose trail but were turned away by chest deep postholing. The route we took up and across the south face was awful, loose steep and no fun at all. However with no desire to retrace our steps we were forced to find another way down, which appeared to be a 14 mile hike down to the 24 and back to the Mt Rose trailhead. As the trail gained the ridge overlooking the lake the GPS said we were 1/2 mile from the car and the dirt slide of death descent was dicscovered! The second half of the puzzle was solved but it took a chance encounter with a Mt Rose trail crew member to figure out a better first half...
We started up the Mt Rose trail about 8:30, not sure of our beta to search out a new trail and hopefully make it up the unillusive Mt Ellinor, the whore of the Olympics, ready for any and all comers. Sure enough we found the sign proclaiming Bear Camp was a mere .7 miles away. Kind of a neat destination in itself.
After poking around a bit we headed westward on a trail as we knew we needed to gain the ridge or we'd end up where I did so many years ago. The trail got us quickly over to the ridge where we promptly lost it and did some serious Olympic bushwacking and log crawling with some slide alder/Devils club action to spice it up.
But really not too bad as there was still snow covering a lot of it and the DC was just starting to sprout. After traversing under the ridge for an hour or so we stopped and looked at the map and wisely decided to cross the ridge before we followed it down to Mt Pershing, accomplishing this feat at the highest point on the ridge! We were rewarded with a new view of the summit we were after.
Braver men might have stayed high and followed the SW Ridge? (right skyline) up but my fear of the south face and desire to ascend the steep snow of the NW gully won out, forcing us to descend about 500 feet and work our way around the left shoulder in the pic above and up 1000 feet of easily kicked in steps. Approaching the summit we could see the ess shaped route of our descent off the ridge and be content knowing we took 7 hours to climb what most people climb in an hour or two.
Tagged the summit, slid down most of the the rapidly disintergrating winter chute and scampered down the trail to the head of the dirt slide of death.
The dirt slide went pretty well but became overgrown about halfway down, necessitating, you guessed it, more schwacking! Moving slowly with tired legs on a never ending descent we finally hit the road just a couple hundred yards from the car. It was a great day and a challenging way to climb an old friend.
Gear Notes: Axe, lightweight traction Approach Notes: A little schwacky here and there