Mason County Highpoint Trip Report

Mount Stone

Date: July 28, 2008
Author: Edward Earl

On US-101 on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula, 3.1 miles south of the Mason-Jefferson county line or just north of milepost 318, I turned west on FR-25. Many things in this area (road, river, campground) are named Hamma Hamma. Call this point mile 0.0. FR-25 is paved and in good condition, except that it has no shoulder and is slightly overgrown from the sides in some places. At 6.3 miles, I turned right at a T-junction to remain on FR-25 and on pavement. At 8.1 miles, the pavement ends and the road is now smooth, well-graded gravel. At 8.8 miles, the road suddenly becomes quite rough and rocky but this challenge only lasts a few tenths of a mile, after which smooth, well-graded gravel resumes. At 10.7 miles the road is blocked by a berm of dirt, boulders, and logs. I parked at a wide pullout a little ways back from the berm and started my hike here.

Just past a bridge, about a mile beyond the berm, is the Putvin trailhead on the right (north) side, which is fairly obscure and I almost missed it. The trail heads briefly north, then traverses west across three bouldery gullies, then climbs north and intercepts the logging road shown on the map. The road feels more like a trail because it is overgrown on both sides with small pine trees and at first I didn't recognize it as a former road. After a short distance slightly downhill, I arrived at a secondary trailhead with a stock of permits for Olympic National Park (required for overnight use). I continued up the very steep trail northwest up the Whitehorse Creek drainage. The topo map shows that the trail ends at 3600 feet but it actually continues all the way to Lake of the Angels (the 4921-foot lake about 3/4 mile south-southwest of Mount Stone, not named on the map).

At 3600 feet is a basin. The trail climbs the cliffs on the right side of the basin and there are two places in these cliffs where the trail makes a class 3 boulder climb, aided by some roots embedded in the rock. Eventually the trail arrives at the easternmost of two small lakes just above the falls. This lake is unidentified on the map but is locally known as Frog Pond. Just past Frog Pond, the trail turns left and immediately crosses the Frog Pond inlet on a log. It then continues through a maze of streamlets, marshy meadows, and muddy bogs before resuming its upward climb toward Lake of the Angels, which is a very scenic alpine lake.

Although the maintained trail officially ends at the lake, I found a trail that continues northeast toward the cliffs of Mount Stone. The trail was mostly a use trail, but it occasionally appeared maintained, had occasional cairns, and occasionally faded. After the trail vanished, I climbed a brief steep and mostly vegetated slope right where the 5600-foot contour is labeled as such. I started up a gully near the center of the cliffs that form the upper ramparts of Mount Stone. After just a few minutes up this gully, the most natural route was an easy traverse to the right, so I did that and entered the next gully, which had some trees in it. After climbing this gully for a while, I topped out at 6200 feet on the lower lip of the basin that lies immediately south-southwest of the summit. I scrambled around the west rim of the basin, down-climbed briefly to the saddle west of the summit block.

The crux of the route is a 4th class climb up the west face of the summit block. The start of this climb is marked by a cairn. Though it is near vertical, it is not very difficult because of plentiful handholds and footholds, practically every six inches. After about 25 feet of 4th class, the slope eased up and another minute or two of scrambling brought me to the airy summit. It was a nice day and I had wonderful views of all of the major WA volcanoes: Baker, Glacier, Rainier, Adams, and Saint Helens -- and Mount Olympus, of course.