Ascent of Mount Etna on 2014-10-10

Climber: Vic Hanson

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, October 10, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Etna
    Elevation:7163 ft / 2183 m

Ascent Trip Report

Getting there: From Etna go southwest on winding Sawyers Bar Rode to Etna Summit. The PCT crosses the road there but there are no signs. The actual trailhead is on the left just past the summit, off of a gravel parking area.

Go south on the PCT (actually SE) for 1.8 miles to the Ruffy Lakes Trail. I'm trying to remember but I don't think there was a sign there. Downhill to the right the trail follows an old road, uphill to the left it is just a trail. After about 2/10 of a mile the trail reaches the top of the ridge and you can see Etna Mountain, as well as Ruffy Lakes. Follow the trail down to the 5th switchback (the 3rd time it turns away from the mountain) and just past that there is a use trail going down to the left, straight towards the mountain (to the left of the lake). As you look at the mountain, it looks like a fairly clear route to the summit, except for some trees and manzanita. At the outlet of Ruffy Lakes the use trail disappears, or at least I lost it. I did follow various animal paths as they wound through the trees, and higher up manzanita and rocks. I stayed towards the left of the larger patches of manzanita and always found an easy route through, in general following the ridge line, or a little to the right of it.

When I got to the rock scramble to reach the summit, I started too far to the right but soon moved over to the left to an easier route. It was an easy 3rd class scramble to the top after that. The survey markers are on the left rocky peak, the one to the right looked a little lower. I didn't find a register on either point, but there were great views on top. Before starting down I got momentarily confused as you can see two lakes from there. The route goes just on the right of the larger lake on the left. After getting back to the PCT I continued south on that until the trail crossed the ridge leading to the peak above Smith Lake. I had considered scrambling up that as it looked a little higher than Etna but the weather took a turn for the worse, cloudy and a cold wind so I returned to Etna Summit.

A Strava GPS track of the hike is here:
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2259 ft / 688 m
    Elevation Loss:2259 ft / 688 m
    Distance:8.1 mi / 13 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1514 ft / 461 m
    Extra Loss:330 ft / 100 m
    Distance:3.3 mi / 5.3 km
    Route:PCT, Ruffy Lakes Trail
    Trailhead:Etna Summit, PCT TH  5979 ft / 1822 m
    Time Up:1 Hours 49 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1929 ft / 588 m
    Extra Gain:745 ft / 227 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:PCT, Ruffy Lakes Trail
    Trailhead:Etna Summit, PCT TH  5979 ft / 1822 m
    Time Down:1 Hours 40 Minutes

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