April 30 – May 1, 2019

Mount Angeles (6454′)

——————– Trip Report Summary ——————–

Region: Olympic Mountains

Starting & Ending Point: Switchback Trailhead (Hurricane Ridge Road)

Way Points: Morse/Switchback Creek & Klahhane Saddle & Angeles Saddle & West Angeles Bench (hike & snow hike)

Campsite: West Angeles Bench

Summit: Mt. Angeles (climb via Southwest Slope—West Face [Route 1])

Approximate Stats: 4 miles traveled; 2900 feet gained & lost.

——————– Full Trip Report ——————–

Given a pleasantly sunny forecast, Eileen and I headed to the Olympics for our first overnight trip of the season.

Day 1 – Switchback Trailhead to West Angeles Bench:

We pulled into the 4400-foot Switchback TH parking area in early afternoon (the Hurricane Ridge Road had been closed for maintenance all morning), shouldered packs, and headed up the Switchback Trail.  Snow patches started right away, and solid snow began around 4700 feet on this south-facing hillslope.  Snowshoes were not needed, but crampons were quite helpful on the steep, firm slopes.

Hiking Up To Klahhane Saddle

After losing the trail under the snow, we cramponed straight uphill to 5850-foot Klahhane Saddle (1.9 hours + 1500 feet) for a view to the north.

Klahhane Saddle Trail Sign

Mt. Angeles rises west of the saddle and presents a fascinating geomorphology, with vertically curved ribs and slots.  There is also an appealing snow couloir that leads up to a col south of the summit.  Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to throw our ice axes in the car (this being our season-opener shake-down trip), so it wasn’t an option for us today.

Mt Angeles From Klahhane Saddle

Upon leaving Klahhane Saddle, we traversed steeply downward to the Switchback Trail at 5200 feet, then contoured westerly to Angeles Saddle.  From there, mellow snow slopes led us upward and high across the western flank of Mt. Angeles (4.0 hours + 2300 feet from car).

Approaching West Side Of Mt Angeles

Eileen Approaching West Side Of Mt Angeles

We pitched our tent on a flat snow bench and ate dinner as the sun slowly sank below the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Camp On West Angeles Bench

Sunset From Mt Angeles Camp

Day 2 (AM) – Summit Climb:

The night had been clear and cold, and morning sun highlighted Mt. Olympus to the south.  Also, the snow was rock-hard when we headed up Mt. Angeles.

Morning Sun On Mt Olympus

Rather than climbing the northwest snowfield, which was more like an icefield, we scrambled directly up the west face on dry basalt.  The scrambling involved a combination of easy Class 2 ledges and fairly steep Class 3 slots and steps.

Scrambling Up West Face Of Mt Angeles

Eileen Below Mt Angeles Summit

We summited in mid-morning (1.0 hours + 600 feet from camp) and enjoyed the exceptional visibility across the Olympic Mountains.

View Southwest From Mt Angeles Summit

Our descent was uneventful, and we were able to find some easier bypass routes around the steepest parts.

Day 2 (PM) – West Angeles Bench to Switchback Trailhead:

We packed up camp and descended to Angeles Saddle, then located the Switchback Trail and followed it down alternating patches of snow and bare ground to reach the TH by early afternoon (1.4 hours from camp).

——————– Route Map/Sketch ——————–


——————– Photo Gallery (click to enlarge) ——————–