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yellowdog

Ellinor-Washington traverse

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Did the Ellinor-Washington Traverse on Saturday. Saw nobody. There was a tent at the foot of the gully on Ellinor, but we went by it at about 0630. Solid snow on both mountains. No weak layers. Some old avalanche debris near the top of the gully on Ellinor and in the bowl above the gully. Lots of old avalanch debris below the last gully on Washington. Snow starts about a quarter mile below the gully on Ellinor. Substantial amount of snow on Washington route all the way down to the creek and some big patches in the woods all the way to the road. Snow covers almost all of the rock leading to the summit block on Washington, in fact the highest point was snow. We were in crampons from the start of the gully on Ellinor all the way to the creek on the Washington descent. Even on the summit. 5 hours summit to summit, 9 hours total. In the clouds, ice crystals and mist about half the time. We got lucky and it cleared a little bit (sea of clouds view) on both summits although we could not see Pershing and only caught occaisional views of the lake. Either peak is still a good alpine climb.

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Good job. Tried the E. Ridge of washington sunday and didn't get far. Made it to the "huge buttress" but turned around due to nasty weather and crappy route finding ability. I'll be back.

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Did you go down into/toward Big Creek basin, or stay way up on the ridge? I'm really curious; the traverse was on my list of winter "projects" (for lack of a better word) but I never got around to it.

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We stayed up on the ridge. You can't really follow the crest. The book essentially tells you drop way down below the tree line and bushwack. Might as well go all the way back to the road. What we did was: summit Ellinor, drop down a steep chute into a basin, traverse to a large rock band, climb up towards the crest (the rock band could be downclimbed or rapped-but we just went up until we could walk off), traverse until join Washington route near the top of the final steep gully. We were in crampons the whole time, even on the summit. Not sure how long these snow conditions will last. Did this same route last year in June with some snow. Much more fun in winter like conditions.

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Yellowdog--good job. I agree with your decision to stay higher below the ridge. The winter/spring traverse via the described route is often a waiste-deep swim. Sounds like you had a good surface. I'm curious about your cramponing. Ice seems to be a somewhat rare occurance in this area, any time of year.

 

BTW, the trifecta is a decent of Washington via Paradise Valley (his throat) to tackle Pershing. Re: your other post, that might be an option for you.

 

 

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Mostly kept them on for practice - get used to walking and climbing in them again. We could see down into the basin below where at least route 1 for Pershing is. Could not see Mt Ben or any of the Pershing summits.

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