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Ascent of Buckhorn Mountain on 2006-07-27

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:John Roper
Date:Thursday, July 27, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Buckhorn Mountain
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5602 ft / 1707 m

Ascent Trip Report

EN: This peak is the subject of a controversial mine. Without getting sidetracked by the politics, it is worth knowing about as this may impact access in the future at some point. A battle raged for the last decade about a proposal to surface mine portions of this mountain for gold. That plan is dead. However, a scaled back version has now been suggested involved underground mining. If the mine were to come to fruition then there would be significant added traffic, construction on the mtn and workers present. Conceivably this could impede access so it may be better to do this peak sooner than later. Also, because the mining company has a lot of gear up there and because they've got a fair number of political foes, they may well look on any visitors with skepticism- not knowing whether they are peakbaggers or someone with more sinister motivations for visiting Buckhorn. To their credit though, the miners we ran into were pleasant enough and did do us the favor of granting access.

EN: "We parked just South of the summit and headed up an unsigned road. We immediately came upon two miners whom we had passed on the road earlier as we were doing Pontiac Butte. We chatted briefly about the controversial Buckhorn mine; they were nice guys about it but were a little bit defensive about the mine. John inquired about using arsenic during the mining process and the frustration at this and other misconceptions was evident in the miners' burrowed frows. They corrected this apparently common misconception and stated that no arsenic was used and instead they would leech the gold with cyanide. It was quite odd, he mentioned Cyanide (NaCN) as if it were completely harmless. In the end, the schmoozing went well enough and they said it was OK if we went up and visited the summit. A short walk brought us up to the summit, featuring no views but a lot of mining equipment. I have to say this is one damn ugly summit! But it was good to be able to check this one off. After stopping to use an unstable portapotty and viewing their impressive collection of lithium grease, we moved on." --Eric Noel, July 27, 2006
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:402 ft / 123 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Trailhead:5200 ft / 1584 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear



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