HAMILTON Mountain Route: East Side (snowy)

Category: Washington      Trip Report #: 276
Partners: Matt Burton, Elle Mclees, Carla Schauble, Izzy
Summit Elev: 5,093 ft

A President's Day slog to the top of a peak in the Olympics.


President's Day 2018 was forecasted to be clear and sunny, a day to be outside in the mountains. But due to a recent winter storm system that had dumped a few feet of snow, avalanche conditions were considerable across the Cascades. The Olympic Peninsula—which had received less snow and had a more stable slope forecast—seemed a good choice. So a few friends and I decided to hike to the top of Hamilton Mountain, a peak on the east side of the Olympics with pretty good accessibility and good views of Mt. Constance across the way. 

The pros: Good workout, nonexistent avy danger, good views of Mt. Constance from the top, being on the Peninsula and experiencing a different area.

The cons: Rhododendrons, unremarkable forested terrain, seemingly endless little up and downs, no views until the top.

My conclusion: I wouldn't really recommend this climb, but it was much better than sitting at home and it was good to be with friends, be outside, and get a nice workout. So a great day in the mountains!

The following page gives a short trip report for the adventure. 


GPS track of drive from HWY 101.
(GAIA map screenshot)
GPS track of climb.
(GAIA map screenshot)
GPS track of climb.
(Google Earth screenshot)

Total trip (from GPS track): ~10.5 miles, ~3500 ft gain/loss, ~9.5 hours (car to car time, includes breaks)
  • 7:09 AM : Sun rises
  • 7:10 AM : ~0 FT : Ferry (Edmonds-Kingston)
  • 9:05 AM : ~2,000 FT : Leave car
  • 2:20-2:45 PM : 5,093 FT : Summit Hamilton Mtn
  • 5:38 PM : Sun sets
  • 6:45 PM : ~2,000 FT : Arrive back at car
  • 8:20 PM : ~0 FT : Ferry (Kingston-Edmonds)

Hamilton Mountain is up and right. We drove a short ways up the road on the right before we parked at around 2000 feet.
Up the timbered slopes.
There were several groves of rhododendrons. The forests on the Olympic Peninsula definitely have more of a rainforest flavor then forests of the North Cascades. I thought it was rather beautiful.
The rhododendrons could also be rather brushy at times.
Looking towards the top of Hamilton Mountain. At this point we had been hiking at least a few hours and we still had quite a bit to go.
We put on crampons to deal with some steeper slopes. We never used our snowshoes on this trip.
Carla, Matt, Izzy, and Elle on the summit. This was the only time we got views.
By far the highlight is Mt. Constance and Warrior Peak to the west.
Starting the slog back down. Puget Sound in the distance. 
It got dark in the final hour back to the car - thanks to Izzy we stayed right on our path as we reversed our uphill shortcut over some long road switchbacks. (Izzy wearing her night light. Photo by Matt, as my fingers were too cold to take photos at this point.)

For more photos and another point of view on the adventure, see Matt's trip report on nwhikers.com.