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Mt. Ellinor Winter Route

Peak Summited2021 Mount Ellinor
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadMt. Ellinor Upper TH
Hiking CompanionsHiked with a partner
Road ConditionsRoad rough but passable
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsTrail snow-covered at times - Gear and expertise recommended
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition

Today was the day for Mt. Ellinor! Never did the winter route so was reading quite a bit of trip reports beforehand so we are prepared.  Spent night near Staircase Repids, woke up around 5am for beautiful sunny day (or so we thought!). Got to the Upper Trailhead before 7am, few parking spots available. Mixed weather of fog, rolling clouds, rainbows and sun. Started just after 7am, first part in the forest is in great condition. Just when you arrive at the winter/summer split, the snow appears. Got on spikes and continued to the famous winter chute. Saw few people already climbing up. Chute is in good condition, lots of packed snow, icy at places. Starts of fairly easy, but gets steep real quick. Quite a few exposed trees and rocks in the middle of glissading path. I read reports of people falling in the chute and hitting rocks when sliding down recently, there was even a big rescue about 2 weeks ago when several inexperienced climbers got injured. Got bit nervous as group of four guys in front of us were hiking up without any gear, in pajama pants and tank tops. Clouds were rolling in and out quickly, sun was hot but wind was blowing at times. I was bit worried that those guys are going to fall and take us with them, they were slipping a lot. Apparently some local dad thought it would be a great idea to take his 3 teenage sons who never hiked in the snow like this to Mt. Ellinor on this day 🙂 Once we got in front, we were able to sped up. Chute got really steep. After reaching the chute, you will get to ridgeline plateau and then its short hike to the summit. Once there the weather got even worse, really windy, cold and started to sleep. Time to go back, using poles, ice axe and spikes and descending down quickly but carefully via our kicked in steps. Passed quite few people going up, only half had proper gear. Got back to the car around 10am. Looking back at the summit, ominous clouds were sitting right at the top. We were quite happy to be heading back home 🙂

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