As a heatwave brought temps in the region to well into the 80s F, I was a touch nervous to see if the the previous day's end of the avalanche warning would prove correct.
However, I was pleased to see that the snow covering the approach road (FS 2419) had receded from the last time I was on Mount Ellinor. Currently, you can park about a mile below the lower trailhead.
The temperature was still in the 60s when I arrived though I didn't sense in my gut any real avalanche risk. It was cloudy with breaks through which one could, from the upper trailhead see Rainier in the distance to the east, Lake Cushman below and some great Ellinor architecture above.
About a half mile past the upper trailhead the snow begins. With these cooler temperatures and forest canopy, the footwork was pretty easy and thus I made my way to the chute.
At the chute, the snow softens up a bit but footing was good getting progressively softer as you approach the basin. In the basin the views go from good to incredible and you realize why this little mountain is such a great scramble. The final pitch, though presenting opportunities to fall on all sides, was solid and comfortable.
At the summit, it all comes into view: A gorgeous view of Mount Washington and the eastern edges of the Olympics, The Sound, Mt Rainier, and the interior of the Park. I also got to share the summit with another climber, a four-footed variety.
Now, for those of us old, jaded types: The Glissade down the chute brought me back to my childhood like nothing has for a long time. It may be one of the best in the state.