Ascent to Moscow Mountain-ENE summit on 2011-05-28

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, May 28, 2011
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Moscow Mountain - ENE summit
    Elevation:4970 ft / 1514 m
    Remaining Elevation:13 ft / 4 m (1% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

From US-95 In Moscow, I headed 11½ miles E on ID-8 to the village of Troy. Just after a Conoco station on the R, I turned L onto Big Meadow Rd. Call this point mile 0.0. Immediately thereafter I turned L again onto Randall Flat Rd. At 0.5 miles I went R at a fork. At 1.8 miles the main road turns L where a gravel side road, Beulah Rd, goes straight ahead. At 2.4 miles I turned R on Tamarack Rd. 0.1 mile later the surface changes to well-graded gravel. At 6.2 miles is a large rectangular pullout on the R at 3700 feet. I parked here and continued on foot.

After a few minutes hiking time I passed through an open blue gate. Occasional snowdrifts covered the road as it climbed through the forest. At 4200 feet is a fork. The R branch heads downhill and had a closed blue gate. The ungated L branch heads up the ridge and later traverses the N side of it. Large clearcuts with nary any regrowth cover most of the N side of the Palouse range at this point. The road condition deteriorated to deep ruts that would be negotiable only by 4WD or an intrepid driver with high clearance. At 4600 feet the road re-enters an uncut forest and became covered in snow for the remainder of its length, and there is a closed blue gate followed immediately by a fork. The L branch climbs to the lookout on the E subpeak of Moscow Mtn. I took the R fork, which drops 100 feet to a saddle with two junctions. At the first junction I stayed on the main road straight ahead, passing up the side road to the L. At the second junction I turned L onto a side road that climbs S. A sign on this road identifies it as private property and says "XC ski only". Upon reaching the summit ridge, the road turns W and goes through a old rusty gate (probably on the border of sections 16 and 17), where a sign again says private property and permits foot travel only. The remains of a junked snowmobile hung on a rope from a tree on the L side of the gate.

A few hundred feet after the gate is a large inhabitable structure that appeared mostly abandoned except that some of the windows on it appeared new. Several junked vehicles and other equipment were scattered nearby. There was one flatbed truck that appeared to be in operating condition but probably has not been used since the previous winter, as there were no tracks or other evidence that the access road had been used recently. Off to the left side of the area was a house that was still under construction. There was no evidence of any current human presence.

Beyond the area of mostly abandoned objects, the road continued. After gaining 200 feet, it stopped climbing on the N flank of the summit ridge. At this point I headed S cross-country uphill across the snow. Upon reaching the summit ridge, the snow abated and I turned W for the final few minutes to the summit. At the summit is a small clearing with views in some directions. A large tree crowns the summit, and the very highest ground is either an upright rock a few feet W of the tree or another boulder mostly hidden in a thicket about 50 feet W of that. Snow coverage was about 25%. I tried unsuccessfully to locate the 4983' BM.

In September 2013, Andy Martin climbed Moscow Mtn using this report, and he raised questions as to whether or not I reached the correct summit. In October 2013, I decided to pay a second visit and found that he was right; I had not reached the correct summit the first time. See the trip report for my second visit.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1670 ft / 507 m
    Extra Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:Tamarack Rd
    Trailhead:Tamarack Ski Area  3700 ft / 1127 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 

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