Ascent of Indian Rock on 2009-10-11

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Edward Earl
Eric Noel -- Trip Report or GPS Track
Date:Sunday, October 11, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Indian Rock
    Elevation:5845 ft / 1781 m

Ascent Trip Report

On Sunday October 11th Edward Earl, Eric Noel, and I visited the highpoint of Klickitat County, WA. We had all been in the area before, but Eric and I had missed an area that could be the actual high point. Edward brought his hose level to see if we could determine which of two close points was actually higher.

The road from US 97 at Satus Pass is pretty terrible, with lots of huge rocks, but Eric's 4Runner handled it fine. However, we hit snow on the road and were forced to park at 5400', about 1.5 miles from the highpoint area. It was sunny but pretty cold, and the amount of snow was unusual for this elevation and time of year.

There are four main areas to visit at Indian Rock (lat-longs in WGS84 decimal degrees):

1. "The Benchmark" (45.988967, -120.823362) marked with elevation 5823.
2. "The Outcrop" (45.989325,-120.821477) located 500' ENE of the Benchmark.
3. "The Pinnacle" (45.993925, -120.823287) marked with elevation 5819.
4. "Little Indian" (46.003927, -120.841327) marked with elevation 5822, located about a mile NE of the Pinnacle.

We hiked the snowy road and bushwhacked south to the Outcrop, the only area that Eric and I had not yet visited, completing the county for us. Then we rigged up Edward's hose level, needing to add 200' of extra tubing to his main 500' spool of tubing. See here for information about this process.

The results were that the Outcrop is 6 feet higher than the Benchmark. While standing on the highest rock, 0.5' above the 5823' benchmark, the water level in the hose settled at our navels, about 3.5' above the ground. The water level in the jug at the Outcrop was 2' lower than the highest rock there. This result is likely accurate to +/- one foot or less.

So the Outcrop is at 5829' and is most likely the high point of Klickitat County.

We then bushwhacked over to the Pinnacle and scrambled up its west side. This is the most impressive feature of the four, providing views over the trees to Rainier, Adams, St. Helens, Hood, and the Goat Rocks. There is a benchmark at the top of the Pinnacle, likely the 5819T point on the topo map.

Some feel that the red square with a "+" in it on the map is the 5819 point, which would likely make the Pinnacle considerably higher. But given the presence of a benchmark on the Pinnacle, to me the red square has nothing to do with the 5819T elevation. I queried the NOAA-NGS datasheets site but found no records for any of these benchmarks. They appear to be USGS and not online.

NOTE: A bit later after our survey, it was shown by another survey group that the "+" on the map is indeed for a boundary marker below the Pinnacle, and that the Pinnacle is almost certainly the High Point, at 5845 feet.

Anyone visiting the area should scramble up the Pinnacle even if it is not the HP, due to it's superior views and fun ascent.

David Olson, Eric, and I visited "Little Indian" in 2008 and there is no topography that suggests it reaches anywhere near 5829'. So we feel there is no need to hike the two-mile roundtrip there from the other points in order to claim this county.

It was interesting to see the hose level in action. Edward agreed that this distance and brush between these two points was about the upper limit for this process--it was a bit time-consuming, and hiking with an extra 2 gallons of water and a large, unwieldy spool of tubing was difficult since we didn't bring a large backpack. We assumed a shorter hike that the snow made longer.


5:30 AM Woke Up
6:30 AM Left Home
7:10 AM Arrive Eastgate P&R
7:30 AM Leave Eastgage P&R
11 AM (approx) Stop for gas in Toppenish
12:20 PM Park where road gets too snowy
12:35 PM Start hiking up road
1:05 PM Arrive at high point, start hose level
2:15 PM Leave high point after finishing hose level
2:30 PM Scramble up Pinnacle 5819
2:50 PM Arrive back at car
2:55 PM Leave parking spot
6:30 PM Arrive Eastgate P&R
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:445 ft / 136 m
    Distance:4.7 mi / 7.6 km
    Trailhead:5400 ft / 1645 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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