"Washington-Ellinor Traverse"

Here are a few shots from the interesting routefinding of the Washington-Ellinor traverse in the Olympics. That is, the Washington part before the routefinding of the traverse. A detailed route description follows.

You may remember the days of film, when quality, not quantity, reigned. Well, I'm still in that era, for 3 more rolls of Kodachrome - roll 3 is still in the camera with the Traverse and Ellinor shots!

Russ and Anita   meadow view  

ramp 2   summmit ledge  

anita summit   summit ledge return  

summit ridge  

Route description. If you enjoy routefinding adventures, stop reading now and go figure it out for yourself!

.1-.2 mile past the road 014 turnoff to the Upper Ellinor trailhead, and about 100 yards before Big Creek is a small parking pullout. Find the climber's trail left of a boulder. It climbs clearly and steeply through trees and roots for about an hour to a small open area.

Climb up scree, then a steep track through trees and slide alder that takes you into the right side of a V-gully. Watch for a small 10-yard track left into the bottom of the gully. Climb the gully, more trees, then 4th-class gully for 100 feet until you see a faint ledge system left that gains the ridge above the gully. (There is a secret way to gain the ridge earlier, but the gully is fun.)

Follow the ridge to a notch that accesses the upper basin meadow. Cross this meadow, trending up and right to the base of the cliffs, toward a clear left-rising ramp. Follow this ramp, bypassing an exposed 4th-low 5th face, through a small group a trees. A short scramble puts you on a long, exposed rightward ramp, passing under a ridgetop placque to a fallen climber, taking you to a broad saddle on the ridgetop. Follow the open ridge, then right around a gendarme, to options up, left, and right; easiest is an overhung ledge system climbing right. Turn the corner left, then scramble up to a notch. Climb a groove in the ridge top 20 feet to the summit (3 hours).

Begin the traverse to Ellinor by descending the route, down the long ramp, continuing past the descent to the first ramp. (Some parties ascend to the plaque and traverse ugly talus slopes on the west side of the ridge. Don't. 'Nuff said.)

Continue traversing at the base of the ridge rock, climbing 30 feet to a notch. A rappel station should be in place on a "nearly dead" tree 10 feet past the notch. Back it up to the adjacent dead tree for the first raps. As you prepare to rap, take note of a small notch to the SSW, at the base of the upper continuous rock portion of the east ridge below "A" peak, at 4900', about 900 feet below you. This is your objective.

Rappel 25 meters, or downclimb if you are brave/foolhardy, then descend the talus rocks into a talus basin. Follow the easiest, gradually descending traverse line across heather and scattered trees, dropping lower if the heather is slippery. Then ascend heather to the thickly treed notch. (Note - instead of the descending traverse, climbing 75 feet of steep trees from the talus basin crosses above a deep gash and gives access to the basin under A and B peaks and the "Horse's Mouth", where you can choose from various rock ridges and loose gullies for a more adventurous route.)

Ascend the most open areas on the ridge about 200 feet from the notch, and find a suitable horizontal traverse left through trees into the basin. A rising traverse over the left side of the basin takes you into the Ellinor winter chute basin. Ascend the chute 200 feet up and rightward in a gully to a notch, into the upper basin. Due west of you is a clear switchbacking trail to a small notch between two high points. Go there. Before you is the final 150 foot slope to the Ellinor summit, ascended by the summer trail. Total time for the traverse is 3.5-4.5 hrs.

Follow the well-maintained summer trail down the ridge, taking the .15 mile cutoff to the upper parking lot (1 hr).

A few GPS points just in case this isn't enough objective detail for you:

Ramp up from big creek basin:
10 T 0481370 5263949
Rap Station:
10 T 0481208 5263806
Top of Ellinor Chute:
10 T 0480691 5263144