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Ascent of North Gibson Peak on 2008-06-28

Climber: Edward Earl

Others in Party:Bob Bolton
Date:Saturday, June 28, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:North Gibson Peak
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:4517 ft / 1376 m

Ascent Trip Report

I met Bob Bolton in Aberdeen, where we headed N on US-101. About 3 miles N of the tiny town of Humptulips, which amounts to little more than a gas station, we turned right on Donkey Creek Road, which is paved and smooth but narrow. Zero or note your odometer here. At 8.3 miles we turned left on inconspicuously signed FR-2204. At 11.2 miles we stayed straight at a junction, immediately after which the pavement ended. From here to the trailhead the road is well-graded gravel suitable for any street-legal vehicle. At 11.7 miles we crossed a bridge over Elk Creek. At 12.3 miles is a junction just beyond a bridge over the W Fork of the Humptulips River. We turned right. At 19.0 miles we arrived at the Petes Creek trailhead, which requires a NW Forest pass for parking.

We hiked up the trail, which climbs gradually through a typical NW forest. At about 2550' elevation (1500' gain from the TH), the trail emerged from the forest onto an open slope and simultaneously became lost under snow. We climbed the slope which was mostly snow-covered with occasional bare patches. At about 3000', just before the bottom of the gully re-enters the forest above, we turned right and headed up a steep grass and dirt slope through a breach to the right of a sheer cliff. We gained the ledge on top of the cliff and continued up a steep slope with scattered brush and trees. Eventually the ledge divided into two snow-filled gullies separated by a brush-covered rib. We initially opted for the right-hand gully, but it became steep, icy, and difficult, so we bailed into the brush. We continued upward through scattered evergreens to an open snowfield below the summit ridge.

The final push to the summit ridge was hindered by a forested rocky cliff with occasional slabs of snow. I traversed across a steep slab of snow toward a point where I could see sky though a notch on the ridge above. Bob tried to follow, but nearly slipped on the steep snow. He was sufficiently spooked by this near mishap that he decided it was best for him to find an alternative. He climbed another steep but less exposed slab of snow and found a steep path into the brush above it. We agreed to climb our separate routes to the ridge. I climbed up through steep but open forest and gained the ridge in a few minutes. I looked down the ridge and saw that Bob had also gained the ridge via his chosen route. I was closer to the summit than Bob, so he had to scale the ridge to me, which he did in a couple of minutes.

The crest of the ridge was covered with snow, and the far side of the ridge was a broad, open snowfield which was not very steep. Owing to trees and rocks on the crest of the ridge, we opted to traverse the snow just below the crest until abeam of the summit. A few more minutes of snow-scrambling up through trees brought us to the summit, which is crowned by a 7' high rock.

At the point where Bob and I took separate routes to the ridge, we both descended via Bob's ascent route.

Several months after our climb, John Kirk discovered that Weatherwax Ridge, also in Grays Harbor county, had more prominence than N Gibson. N Gibson was therefore demoted from county prominent point status.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3437 ft / 1047 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:Petes Creek
    Trailhead:Petes Creek TH  1080 ft / 329 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 0 Minutes



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