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Ascent of Mount Emily on 2008-07-04

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Friday, July 4, 2008
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Emily
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:6110 ft / 1862 m

Ascent Trip Report

From US-30 near the center of La Grande, turn N on Island Avenue and zero your odometer. At 0.2 mile, turn W on Monroe at the 1st traffic light. Cross some RR tracks and at 0.3 mile turn N on N Spruce St. At 1.1 miles, cross under I-84. At 1.5 miles, turn W on Blackhawk Trail Ln. At 2.0 miles, turn N on Owsley Rd where a sign indicates that this is the way to Mt Emily Rd. The road climbs gradually up through farmland and the pavement ends at 2.7 miles. At 4.6 miles I turned L at the T-junction at point 3448. At 5.2 miles the road made a sharp switchback to the right. At 6.0 miles the condition of the road, which is so far OK for any street-legal vehicle, suddenly worsens after passing two side roads with No Trespassing signs. A low clearance vehicle can probably still go a little farther, but the condition continues to worsen gradually and most vehicles without high clearance will probably have to stop at a particularly large rock at about 7½ miles as the road meanders its way N through section 18. At 8.6 miles, about 4770', a short distance SE of the center of section 7, the road became sufficiently narrow and rocky that I decided to park my 2WD Nissan truck and continue on foot.

I hiked the road, which made a gradual ascending traverse N on the E side of the S ridge of Mt Emily. I had occasional views of the summit towers. A set of logging tracks provided a shortcut across the second of two switchbacks near the border of sections 6 and 7. After gaining the somewhat better road that stays near the crest of the S ridge of Mt Emily, I continued N.

After about a mile, I encountered an unmapped oblique 4-way junction where an unmapped road in fairly good condition veered in from the left at a very sharp angle, and a fork lay just ahead. The right branch of this fork curved right, and I surmised that this was the point where the mapped road curved R at the border of sections 6 and 31 and that the branch that continued straight ahead was unmapped. I therefore chose the R branch. After curving around to the SE, the road was bermed and its condition worsened, but I continued. Ultimately, however, the road faded completely, so I continued cross-country uphill to the L. I began to suspect I had probably taken the wrong branch. Perhaps I could intercept the correct road, but I was already too far to its right, so I simply continued cross-country over Point 5872. I finally found the mapped road that ends near Emily TP (near the W side of section 32), and from here I continued on roads to the summit towers. The highest natural earth is probably under a three-legged tower on the SE side of the complex. A dirt pile behind a shack on the opposite side of the complex may be higher, but it is definitely artificial: some metal girders are buried in it.

I descended on roads the whole way. The main road that goes near the summit of Mt Emily in a N-S direction is in fairly good condition, and it would be interesting if there is alternative access to this road for Martinizing types. I discovered that I indeed should have taken the left branch at the unmapped junction, which lies _south_ of the curve in the road at the border of sections 6 and 7.

On I-84, exit 243 near the border of Union and Umatilla counties, the cross street is identified as a "Mount Emily Summit Rd". Delorme shows that this road provides access to Mt Emily from the north, but the distance is long and who knows what the road condition is.

Bob Bolton approached Mt Emily using a route which is probably preferrable to mine. Instead of using Owsley Rd, he continued on Black Hawk Trail Lane, which turns R then L before becoming Fox Hill Rd, which climbs to the summit plateau. About 1½ miles WSW of the summit (in the SE corner of section 36), he turned R and headed SE and E for about 1 mile before turning N on Mt Emily Rd.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1340 ft / 409 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:Mt Emily Rd
    Trailhead:Mt Emily Rd  4770 ft / 1453 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 



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