Photo Diary: Winter Summit of Mt. Ellinor

Mt Ellinor Sunrise-12.jpg

On Friday, February 1 my friend Nate texted me and asked if Alex and I would like to join him for a sunrise mission to Mt. Ellinor in Olympic National Forest the very next day. It would mean we would have to wake up at 1am two Saturdays in a row (the weekend prior we climbed Mt. St. Helens), but we immediately said “yes!”

The hike up to Mt. Ellinor is just over 3 miles from the lower trailhead but requires 3,300’ of elevation gain, using crampons and an ice axe to climb up an avalanche chute in the pitch dark of night. But, all the effort would allow us to witness the first light of day illuminate the landscape.

At 7:30am, after a climb that pushed Alex and me outside our comfort zone (in a healthy way), we made it to the summit of Mt. Ellinor and my jaw dropped as I took in the sprawling view before me. Stretching on for as far as the eye could see to the west were the snowy, jagged peaks of the Olympic Range. And to the east were Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens looking like islands sitting atop a sea of clouds. The view was more than worth the early wake up call and strenuous hike!