2016/1/24 – Olallie Mountain / 歐拉里山

South Fork Snoquamie River Valley
South Fork Snoquamie River Valley

All photos from this trip can be found here.

Olallie Mountain, otherwise known as Radio Mountain, is a no-so-well hidden gem just off the I-90 corridor, northwest of the popular Mount Catherine.

The off-ramp to Summit East as well as Hyak Drive were icy and slippery in the morning. Park the car just beyond the stop sign at north end of the lot and then walked Snoqualmie Drive in microspikes through residential area until the third switchback. From there, the pups and I got around the base of Creek Run ski trail and onto Iron Horse Trail (power lines) where I noticed old snowshoe tracks. I changed into snowshoes and followed the tracks uphill to the East Crossover. We hiked the road for quarter of a mile while dodging snowboarders, and then followed some old snowshoe tracks into the woods.

In an effort to avoid cross-country skiers on the way to Rockdale Lake, we were in and out of the woods and crossed over groomed trails (aka service roads) several times. Even though breaking trail in powdered snow through trees took longer than expected, we managed to avoid crowds plus the monotonous road walk.

After getting past Rockdale Lake and out of the groomed trail area, we got on the trail at the base of Olallie Mountain at 3800’. Then a couple of long switchbacks put us at the lookout area by the tall radio tower at 4200’. At 2 PM, South Fork Snoqualmie River Valley (aka I-90) and all the way to the other side of Snoqualmie pass was still mostly submerged in clouds, which I hoped would dissipate in another hour or so. So I used the wait time to tag the summit by traversing southerly on the north ridge, where there were lots of down trees.

Summit was woodsy so no good views, and visibility to the east through a small opening was even lower when it started to flurry. Got a glimpse of Rampart Ridge, Gold Creek Pond, and part of Keechelus Lake, but couldn’t take too many good photos. Half hour later we headed back down the north ridge to the radio tower lookout, and just as I had hoped, clouds in the valley had vanished.

Now that everything from Humpback Mountain to Rampart Ridge was in sight, I decided to stay until sunset time to take advantage of the nice weather and to capture some gorgeous evening colors. The pups and I left just after sunset around 5 PM and hiked two hours back to the car.

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