Had a solid and fun day in the mountains on Sunday by summiting peak 5574'. Been looking down at this sub peak from Ellinor for quite a long time and have always been curious about climbing it. Was never quite sure of how to approach the mountain. You could take the upper trailhead from Ellinor but then you'd have to hike down from the summer trail saddle and then back up which seems lame but doable. The other option is the one I chose which was to start from the Mt. Rose trailhead.
The original plan was to at least do some recon on the peak and possibly make an attempt if the terrain didn't get to challenging. The route involves taking the Mt. rose trail to the right after horsecamp, to the ridge, then just following the ridge until the peak was in sight. Obviously this involves bushwacking, there was a faint bootpath but it disappeared quickly under the snow.
Didn't bring a map or any navigation devices including a compass which might not have been all that smart, but coming to this area for almost a decade now I felt I could just navigate by locating Copper mountain and the ridgeline. Ice axe and crampons required for the nearly frozen snow that was encountered. Got some looks on the way up the mt. rose trail when sneaker goers saw my big mountaineering boots and ice axe on my backpack.
Felt great to summit this peak first attempt and by a fun ridge scramble, then descending via a different but still challenging way.
Copper mountain from lower down on the bushwacky ridge
Came up over a hump and saw the objective and had a decision to make, take the ridge or try and go up the left gully near the summit. It was difficult to see how steep the gully was so went with the ridge to attain the summit. The scrambling was crumbly class 3/4, typical of this area and the olympics as a whole, but with some descent holds along the ridge. The mental crux was a short but broad tree that required some shimmying to get around. It was a little scary because of the drop next to me and not knowing what my foot was on because of the thick density of the branches, along with the needles being slippery.
The route involved going up a modest snow slope, but with hardpacked frozen snow kicking steps was not an option after the overnight freeze even at 11:30. Then finding a ledge system that switched from traversing the west and east side of the ridge. It felt adventurous finding my way, coming to a difficult section and not knowing if this was the point where the climb ended, then finding an easier way by just looking around the corner to see a ledge just wide enough to walk across fairly comfortably, but still grabbing for holds on the rock to stabilize.
Ascent route in blue, crux move over small broad tree, and descent in green
Looking down on Mt. Rose to the left, Lightining peak in the center and Copper Mountain on the right. Prominent peak in the backgroud is Capitol Peak in the National Forest.
Ellinor north side
Want to get up Copper soon
Shangri La Valley
little snow flurry coming on the descent
* If anyone else has found a trip report on this peak please let me know
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