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Ascent of Elk Rock on 2013-01-05

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Russell
Date:Saturday, January 5, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Elk Rock
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:4360 ft / 1328 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had never considered this as a winter accessible peak because the highway supposedly closes in winter. With the highway approach going over 3000' it figured that there would snow on the road for most of the winter. But it turns out that they only gate it the very end and they even plow it sometimes. Ken suggested this peak and while I was originally skeptical that we could get access it turned out the road was in great shape and we got the peak.

We parked on the E side of the peak on a plowed shoulder. The viewpoint isn't really plowed thoroughly but the shoulder parking seemed fine. We originally considered the road option but given the parking we decided to just make a direct attempt on the E slope. We started near the drainage that comes down from the saddle between the two Northern-most summits. This provides good access to the slope whereas other spots are tricky because of steep rocky road cuts. We just headed up going E towards the road. Found a track of some sort and followed this. Some deep powder but also a bit of a newer crust as it absorbed rain and sort of froze. Got to the road contoured a bit N to the Northermost of the 3 summit contours. Got on this one and it looked lower than the other two although visibility was poor. Continued to the next summit. Then down to saddle. Then up through open trees to the final summit area which we traversed to the rocky end. From here there is an easy drop to the road on the E side of the peak. Hike road back N a bit and then back E down to the car. No problems. Trees pretty open and snow with a little bit of steep powder but no issues. Some lurking rocky stuff. All public presumably. First peak of the year. Short but good winter option if the road is clear. Not sure which summit is highest but the Northern most seemed lower. Only caveat on that is our poor visibility. No idea on the other two as we certainly couldn't see anything. But easy enough to just touch it all. We almost thought the ground at the S end was going down but continued on a little and found a final rocky outcrop at the Southern tip of the contour.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:720 ft / 218 m
    Elevation Loss:720 ft / 218 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:4 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Snowing, Pleasant, Breezy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:720 ft / 218 m
    Extra Loss:160 ft / 48 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 2 km
    Route:East Slopes
    Trailhead:Highway 504   3800 ft / 1158 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:560 ft / 170 m
    Distance:1.2 mi / 2 km
    Route:East Slopes
    Trailhead:Highway 504   3800 ft / 1158 m



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