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kitya
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 9:13 am 
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Polallie means "Dust" in Chinook jargon and due to this uninspiring name and low profile I never had bothered to check it out before. However, now that winter days are short it looked like a great destination. And, spoiler alert, it turned out a lot better than I expected.

There are two common ways of approaching Polallie ridge. Most trip reports I found use Pete lake trailhead off the west end of Copper lake and than going up Tired creek trail. This approach gets to the summit faster, but it involves more driving on the forest road, about 5 miles off HWY 903. The other way is to gain ridge from the Polallie ridge/Cooper river/Waptus river shared trailhead, which is very short drive (only 0.5 miles) off hwy 903. HWY 903 is usually cleared all the way to the end of pavement in winter and has a sno-park parking, so this was my choice as I was unusure about snow levels on the forest roads. Shockingly, even though it is almost December, winter is not yet there and forest roads and mountains had only a dusting of a couple inches of snow on top of hard ice, so driving was not a problem and snowshoes never came out of my backpack, but, if snow ever comes, this route will certainly be a great snowshoe - gentle profile, no avalanche danger, amazing views, easy access in winter with minimal road walk from parking and doesn't seem to be crowded. In fact I saw no human footprints the whole day and no other cars at the trailhead. But lots and lots and lots of wildlife footprints everywhere.

Anyway, I and Cookie did it as a loop, first starting at Polallie ridge trailhead, following the trail on the ridge first and than dropping down to the north-east side with the trail and eventually coming to the frozen Diamond lake. A few more ups and downs through rolling hills in the forest and we left the trail for a short scramble up to the 5560 ft high point of the ridge at 47.455304, -121.17309 (WGS84). The scrambling is very easy, because profile of the mountain is generally gentle and forest is semi open and dry. From the summit the views are starting to be amazing, despite being somewhat obscured by the trees. We followed the ridge to lookout site from there and every few hundred feet at least one side of the slope will become open and show new views - Mount Stuart, Catherdal Rock, Daniel, Lemah, Three Queens, Chimney Rock, Bears Breast, Four Brothers, Daniel, Summit Chief, The Cradle, Davis, Goat, Jolly, Mount Rainier, Chikamin Peak, Chimney Rock, Cone peak, Island Mountain and on and on. I wouldn't have expected such a tiny mountain to be in the center of so many peaks.

From the lookout and we dropped down using tired creek trail and walked back first on Pete trail and than on a boring Cooper river trail (it gets a bit confusing along the shores of the frozen Cooper lake as many campsites and social trails show up) following it to the end back to Polallie ridge trailhead for a short 16+ miles winter-like loop. It was cold and pretty. Only 14F in the morning and about 20F by the afternoon, but Cookie loved it a lot anyway - she has fur.

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Jeff
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 9:44 am 
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I love that as a fall destination.
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RichP
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 9:44 am 
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Some surprisingly good views from this peaklet.
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zephyr
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 12:18 pm 
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kitya wrote:
The other way is to gain ridge from the Polallie ridge/Cooper river/Waptus river shared trailhead, which is very short drive (only 0.5 miles) off hwy 903. HWY 903 is usually cleared all the way to the end of pavement in winter and has a sno-park parking, so this was my choice as I was unusure about snow levels on the forest roads.

This was my reasoning too. 

I think I saw your vehicle at the TH.  It was already there when I arrived at 8:30 am.  I was hiking by 8:50.  It was so cold that by the time I was hiking I had on ALL my layers.  I went up the Cooper River Trail and along Cooper Lake to the Pete Lake TH.  I had not been in that particular area before, so I tried a variety of trails around the lake and boat launch.  The sun coming in up the canyon and around the lake was beautiful.   Once it dipped below the horizon though things really cooled off.  At the end of my hike, I was still fairly high above the river.  I started to wonder if I had somehow gotten onto the Polallie Ridge trail since things just weren't looking that familiar.  But later realized I had started at such a fast pace to warm up that I didn't register too many landmarks. 

Anyway, I got back to the TH parking area by 2:50 pm and that particular vehicle was still there.  I hadn't seen any  other hikers than some trail runners at Pete Lake TH.  Hmm.  They must have gone a different route.  So I got out my maps and looked online at home to see what other possibilities there were out there.  I had decided next year I would go up the ridge and see what the views were like.  Then this morning here's your report.  At least you didn't have to use your saw. wink.gif  ~z
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kitya
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 1:31 pm 
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zephyr wrote:
I think I saw your vehicle at the TH.  It was already there when I arrived at 8:30 am.  I was hiking by 8:50.  It was so cold that by the time I was hiking I had on ALL my layers.  I went up the Cooper River Trail and along Cooper Lake to the Pete Lake TH.  I had not been in that particular area before, so I tried a variety of trails around the lake and boat launch.  The sun coming in up the canyon and around the lake was beautiful.  Once it dipped below the horizon though things really cooled off.  At the end of my hike, I was still fairly high above the river.  I started to wonder if I had somehow gotten onto the Polallie Ridge trail since things just weren't looking that familiar.  But later realized I had started at such a fast pace to warm up that I didn't register too many landmarks.

Anyway, I got back to the TH parking area by 2:50 pm and that particular vehicle was still there.  I hadn't seen any  other hikers than some trail runners at Pete Lake TH.  Hmm.  They must have gone a different route.  So I got out my maps and looked online at home to see what other possibilities there were out there.  I had decided next year I would go up the ridge and see what the views were like.  Then this morning here's your report.  At least you didn't have to use your saw. wink.gif  ~z


Blue rav4? That should be me and Cookie's car, yes! It also has dog pup-saver child seat inside, I have never seen any other car with a dog booster seat smile.gif

We must have missed you by just a few minutes - we started at 8:17am on the trail according to my GPS and we only got back around 5:30pm when it was already pitch dark. While it was cold, Cookie has fur and didn't need to wear any layers. The views are really great from the ridge! Did you go all the way to Pete lake? I have yet to checkout Pete lake someday.

Yep, no saw and no political jokes anymore, since everyone seems to have had enough of that during the thanksgiving dinner smile.gif
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zephyr
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 2:19 pm 
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kitya wrote:
We must have missed you by just a few minutes - we started at 8:17am on the trail according to my GPS

Oh my gosh.  That was close.  Yep--that's the vehicle.  Got there at 8:30, but it takes me a few minutes to get my boots on and things in order.  Those 20 minutes were enough to get me very cold.  No, I didn't go to Pete Lake.  I was ready to turn around at that TH.  The sun was sinking and I wanted to be back before dark.  Brrrrrr.  You had some great views up there.  ~z
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HermitThrush
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 3:08 pm 
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About how many miles in is the lookout site?
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kitya
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PostSun Dec 01, 2019 5:16 pm 
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HermitThrush wrote:
About how many miles in is the lookout site?

It will be about 6.5 miles one way from the Polallie ridge trailhead to the lookout. It will however take only 4 miles if you go from Pete Lake trailhead to the lookout site. Also actual summit has slightly better views than the lookout site.

zephyr wrote:
Oh my gosh.  That was close.  Yep--that's the vehicle.  Got there at 8:30, but it takes me a few minutes to get my boots on and things in order.  Those 20 minutes were enough to get me very cold.  No, I didn't go to Pete Lake.  I was ready to turn around at that TH.  The sun was sinking and I wanted to be back before dark.  Brrrrrr.  You had some great views up there.  ~z

I know how you feel! It was cold. I have been thwarted from Jolly Mountain by the cold before (it was 10F that time). When it is cold and dark and windy - it is even worse. At least sun was out on the ridge this time and this gave me hope for solar radiation heating smile.gif
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > Polallie Ridge 29 Nov 2019
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