Elbow Peak + Yellow Hill / 手肘峯+黃色山丘

Elbow Peak is a popular destination in the Teanaway Backcountry. The southern route makes the most feasible way to climb the mountain in the snow. So one can also include Yellow Hill en route.

Elbow Peak up ahead
Elbow Peak up ahead

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Elbow Peak and Yellow Hill at a Glance

Access: NF-133/NF-230
Round Trip: 12 miles
Elevation Range: 2560′-5720′
Gear: snowshoes, microspikes
GPS Track: not available
Dog-Friendly: yes

The Preface

Glad I had taken Friday off to go outside. It was hard to pass up the gorgeous weather for another opportunity of the panoramic view. But with the snow, it was hard to find an ideal destination.

Elbow Peak and Yellow Hill have been on the back burner. The pups and I haven’t explored Teanaway since Hex Mountain. So despite having to walk the road, I thought we’d give the peaks a try.

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Middle Fork Teanaway Road

The roads were free of snow until we reached the end of the pavement past the ranch. The packed and shallow snow made looked okay to go farther. But I certainly didn’t want to repeat Tonga Ridge. So I tried to play it safe.

Later I parked by the Road 113/230 junction before the Indian Camp Campground. It was only about a mile from the trailhead. I tried going past the fork, but it wasn’t a smart thing to do. We nearly stranded ourselves in the narrow roadway.

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Yellow Hill Trail

Snowshoes weren’t necessary for the first mile. But later, I put them on at 3800′ by the junction. Then I began postholing before the ridgeline steepened. But the snow conditions were a hit or miss. I regularly checked the GPS to stay on track.

After we dropped down the other side of the ridge bump, a group of three hikers caught up to us. They were Suzanne, Barry, David, plus their dog Gus. It was exciting for the pups to meet another dog. I was no longer fun for them.

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Onward to Yellow Hill

I asked to join the hikers to keep moving rather than taking pictures and losing more time. Our first stop was Yellow Hill. There we had views of Mount Rainier, Mount Stuart, and Kittitas Valley.

But here, the trees still blocked the panoramic view I had craved. We took a short break, enough time to get on some food and water. Then we pressed on and continued to Elbow Peak.

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En Route to Elbow Peak

Traversing the snowy crest with cornices was pretty awesome. Not sure if we’ve done that before. There was also less slush high on the ridge. Soon, the ridgeline led us directly up to Elbow Peak in a straight line.

Able to the peak helped with the navigation. Funny that the map showed the first bump as the peak. But there was a higher knob past that point. So that’s where we went. I called it the “unofficial” Elbow Peak.

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Elbow Peak Summit

What a gorgeous day with beautiful views! But by the time we reached the top, the clouds had slowly moved in. But I managed to get some photos before the mountains vanished entirely.

We stayed long enough to wipe our sweat, catch our breath, and take photos. Then we proceeded to make our way down Elbow Peak. We still had to go back to Yellow Hill.

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Back to Yellow Hill

Going back to Yellow Hill was a chore because I ran out of water. I had relied on snowmelt and slush. But it was barely enough to quench the thirst.

Walking up to Yellow Hill required going back through the ridge bump we came down earlier. But it wasn’t as arduous as I the first time. Beyond there, it was all downhill back to the trailhead.

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Outro

Later we made the one-mile road walk out to the car. Then I gave the hikers a ride back to their vehicle. They had parked at the end of the pavement. Another two-hour drive and we’re back in civilization.

What a beautiful day! Glad to have the hikers’ company during our trip. So, one hike down, and many more to go!

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