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Trip Report

Mount Townsend, Silver Lakes, Mount Townsend - Silver Lakes Traverse, Little Quilcene River & Dirty Face Ridge — Saturday, Jun. 3, 2017

Olympic Peninsula
Was looking for a nice ridge line sans-snow for an overnighter and Mt. Townsend was looking promising. Got to the trailhead around 10am Saturday morning and we summited right around noon. All in all, great condition, very minimal snow, no traction necessary. From here, I needed to clock a few extra miles so I left my partner at our tent and ran over to the Silver Lakes trail junction, just a little bit back down the main Townsend trail. Not long after following the split, I hit snow, which started out easily navigable but quickly covered the whole trail and slowed me considerably. Fortunately I had met a hiker with a husky at the summit who was headed the same direction so I followed the paw prints up to the saddle, as I was unfamiliar with the trail. The following switchbacks leading down the trail were probably 35% covered with snow, mostly in the unexposed areas of the trail only had trouble finding the next switchbacks once or twice. However once I got down to the valley-esque section snow covered the majority of the trail and I lost the tracks at the creek crossing. About to start headign upwards, I conveniently ran into the hiker with the husky headed down - he said the trail was near impossible to find and didn't want to risk crossing the well-flowing river with the dog so he decided to head down the supposed Silver Creek trail (not sure if this is a real thing?) - he was game to run downhill and I was interested in getting back to Townsend in the next hour or two so I joined him along the creek. We needed to do some route finding at first but some boot prints (along with the creek itself) led us back to a decent trail which eventually spit out on NF-2870. After splitting off with them, I ran down the road a little less than a mile and hopped on the Little Quilcene trail, followed this up Dirty Face Ridge (stay right at the fork), and eventually back to the top of Townsend. Back with plenty of time for dinner and for the clouds to dissipate revealing one of the best inversions I've seen. Roundtrip, my run was a little under 10mi with 3400ft of gain. Total distance for the trip is about 18mi and 6400ft gain - I'd love to do the full thing as a run when the snow melts out and tag on Welch Peaks or maybe Buckhorn and Marmot pass. There was one other group camped out on the ridge and the evening was very chilly, but (with the assistance of a couple cups of hot chocolate) not enough to keep me from shooting some star images and watching the clouds float around in all around us. Woke up the next day to the inversion lasting through the night, which quickly changed as we were about to leave the summit. Link to just the run loop here:


Posted by:

Maddy on Jun 05, 2017 04:36 PM

Posted by:

RacingSnail on Jun 06, 2017 05:33 PM

SnebStark on Mount Townsend - Silver Lakes Traverse, Little Quilcene River, Dirty Face Ridge, Mount Townsend, Silver Lakes

What did you guys do for food storage? Are you required to use bear canisters in this area?

Posted by:

SnebStark on Jun 25, 2017 12:05 PM

Posted by:

micradot on Jul 03, 2017 01:56 PM