Ascent of Jumpoff Lookout on 2014-04-29

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Jumpoff Lookout
    Elevation:5670 ft / 1728 m

Ascent Trip Report

My car was stopped by snowbound FR-1201 approximately 0.5-mile from Long Lake. The short hike to Long Lake (using FR-1201 & Road-Trail 653) was straightforward. There is a nice, old wooden shelter at the northern end of the lake. The Road-Trail continues east and up over a tiny ridge. After it lowers back to the forest, I found the trail to disappear in a combination of downed trees and snowcover. The snow was only 1'-2' deep and no snowshoes were necessary; however, the snow made a lot of areas look like trails. As I lost the trail, I used my GPS and common sense to continue east up thickly wooded slopes. For the second straight lookout trip, me following good slopes led me far to the right of where a "trail" was supposed to be and at the base of a cliff. I entered a small boulder plateua which would probably be a great camping location, with the Divide Ridge cliffs looming above.

From the small plateau, I headed north until reaching forest again, and then followed animal paths as they meandered up forested slopes to the ridge above. Once nearly on the ridgetop, I encountered a large depression to the north which required me to walk around its west side to get by it. Once on the other side of the depression, I quickly found a Road-Trail heading north to Louie Way Gap, which was only a few minutes away. From Louie Way Gap, Trail 1127 heads NE along Divide Ridge. The snowpack covered over most of the trail, making it easy to lose sight of, so I went directly over a large hill (Point 5560'+) where less snow and easier travel was found. After passing over the hill, I steeply descended to a saddle just prior to the final hill ascent up Divide Ridge. After meandering in the forest beyond the saddle, I soon reached the rocky south slopes of the hill. I refound the Trail 1127 on the north side of the slopes, and the trail switchbacked up the slope to Jumpoff Plateau.

From Jumpoff Plateau, I left the road/trail system and headed north into the forest to go over the true highpoint. Then I headed back NW to rejoin Trail 1127 and soon FR-1302 to get to the fire lookout building. The building is in better shape than I expected, although the windows are boarded up and there is *A LOT* of graffiti all over the place. Someone had a notice inside stating that he wants to gather volunteers who are willing to refurbish the lookout and make it usable again or as a rental. I really hope this lookout gets saved, as it has an excellent view to the southwest towards Goat Rocks, west towards Mount Rainier and Mount Aix, north towards Bethel Ridge, and east towards Rimrock Retreat.

During the descent, I refound the right Road-Trail (608) leading down from Louie Way Gap. However, the first part of the trail was steep, muddy, icy, and overall not very good for the current conditions. I was able to follow the trail until it seemed to disappear in the forest NE of Long Lake. Then I used my GPS and common sense to lead me in the right direction, and I soon found the lake. The return trip from the lake to the car was uneventful. Overall, this was a decent route with great views.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2420 ft / 737 m
    Extra Gain:500 ft / 152 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Route:Roads, Road-Trails, & Trails From SW
    Trailhead:FR-1201 (West of Long Lake)  4250 ft / 1295 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:0 Days 2 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:0 Days 1 Hours 50 Minutes

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