| Photography by Jonathan Ley | The Olympic Mountains | Mt. Steel

Mt. Steel is located in the southern part of the Olympic Mountains, just west of First Divide, near the headwaters of the Skokomish River. The nearest access point is the Staircase Trailhead, about 14 miles to the south. Mt. Steel is in Olympic National Park, meaning that you have to pay a small fee for entrance to the park and a backcountry camping permit. This would probably be a more enjoyable climb as part of a longer trip, but it can be done as an overnight (as I did). The east slope of Mt. Steel is steep, but navigable. It is mostly covered with small plants and packed scree. Going down is a little more difficult, as it's easy to lose your footing on the slippery plants. To head up the mountain, turn left where the trail takes a hard right turn, just below First Divide. Proceed down to the meadow at the base of the east slope. Proceed downstream (north) to the end of the meadow, and follow a well-worn elk trail up the slope. Then traverse all the way south (and up) to find a narrow opening in a band of trees. From there, the route should be fairly straightforward. I didn't traverse the west slope of the mountain, but it appeared to be quite navigable as well. Near the top, the west slope was mostly rock slabs.
Olympic Sunset
The Herd
On Top
At Donohue Creek
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