Ascent of Grays Harbor County High Point on 2019-11-01

Climber: Jeremy Fuerst

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, November 1, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Grays Harbor County High Point
    Elevation:4880 ft / 1487 m

Ascent Trip Report

It is true that the gates are only open to vehicle access from April 30 to October 1, but I was not about to consider using those months for this otherwise insignificant bump. Instead, I figured it would be just as well to mountain bike the distance from the gate to the base of the bushwhack/scramble. The sign at the gate affirmed that while vehicular access is banned from October 1 to April 30, bicycle and horse use is "encouraged."

So it was on Halloween night that I pulled up to the gate and slept in my vehicle. When I awoke it was quite cold as I made my preparations. Once I was ready, I decided it might be nice to run the heat in my vehicle while I downed some cereal and coffee. Small problem with this: my battery was dead. I am still not sure how this happened, but I suspect I left the push-button ignition half-on overnight by mistake.

At any rate, I was left with a choice: cycle down the road the way I came until I came upon reception or another motorist, or head up to the summit where I could get cell reception or at least a clear satellite link for more efficient connection with my inReach. I opted for the latter, since my estimation was my last cell reception was at least 20 miles before the gate, and I had not seen anyone since well before that point.

The first 3 miles pedaling up the road were pretty easygoing. After that, I started paying my dues. At 3.9 miles take the road less traveled by at the fork (this junction is the site of the coordinates in Daniel Mick's report). This fork may seem counterintuitive, but so long as you stay straight you are on the correct route. A little past this fort the grade gets steadily and more consistently steeper.

Any vehicle could drive the first 5 miles or so (starting at the gate) -- but at 5.75 miles, some rocky portions would make it rough if you do not have high clearance and AWD/4WD. Park on the shoulder at the first switchback if you are uncertain; it is plenty wide there for you to get out of the way.

I continued pedaling up the road to the coordinates where Daniel Mick started, stashed my bike, swapped my cycling shoes for my hiking boots, and headed on up. I did not find the bushwhack to be so bad, but it was also a beautiful day, so I did not have to worry about slipping as much on any veggie belays.

Once at the "summit," I used my inReach to establish contact with my wife so that she could call AAA for me, sending her my coordinates and driving directions for the driver. This had all the speed and efficiency of satellite communication, so I started heading back down to my bike while listening for any updates. Once back at my bike the inReach chirped an update from my wife that a truck was scheduled to arrive at my vehicle in 80 minutes. Damn. That was quicker than I had anticipated.

I hauled ass back to the vehicle -- what a fun descent! -- where I read for about 40-50 minutes before the truck arrived, only 10 minutes late.

It should go without saying that I saw not a single other soul out there aside from the AAA driver. He said he comes out this way often and almost never sees anyone, even in the summer months. I surprise even myself by wanting to come out here and do some more exploring, perhaps even hit the high point again, but the solitude was fantastic.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Bicycle, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cold, Calm, Clear

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