Ascent of Laurel Mountain on 2019-11-16

Climber: Matt Varney

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, November 16, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Laurel Mountain
    Elevation:3589 ft / 1093 m

Ascent Trip Report

I obtained authorization to approach the radar site from Brian Wellman at the FAA. See Paul McClellan's report for Brian's contact information.

I took the FAA email to the Weyerhaeuser office in Dallas, and they gave me an access permit and a key to the gate on Black Rock Mainline at the Little Luckiamute River. I can't guarantee that Weyerhaeuser will do this for you, but without this permit, you will be trespassing on their land. And yes, they do have at least one security officer patrolling the roads. They offer recreation permits for the Black Rock area, but as of now, these will only get you within about three road miles of the summit.

The key got me through the locked gate, which I locked after entering. There is another gate near the 7 mile marker, with a sign indicating that you are leaving the recreation permit area. This one was secured with a zip tie to discourage hunters from continuing. As I was debating what to do about it, since I didn't have a replacement tie, the security officer approached from the other side, cut the zip tie, and drove through. When I explained that I was going to the FAA site, he gave me a zip tie and told me to put it on after I drove back through.

I continued on to the FAA gate, parked there with the Weyerhaeuser permit showing on my dashboard, and walked the short distance to the summit. I walked to all the highest-looking points, including a conspicuous rock pile to the right of the road that is very close to the benchmark location on the USGS map. I also found the Laurel #2 survey marker a short distance away, to the right of the FAA enclosure.

The views to the east of the summit area were pretty good, and better than expected, perhaps due to a fairly recent clearcut. I could see the Cascades from south of the Three Sisters to north of Mt. Hood (the rest was obscured by clouds, but I think that one could see significantly farther north and south than that).

I hiked back to the car and drove out the way I came, without incident. The gate at the river was still closed when I got there. If you don't have a key and the gate is open when you arrive, there's a good chance that you will be locked inside; that happened to me when I was there in August (although I came on my bike, so it wasn't much of an issue). Of course, if you do things legally, you won't have this problem anyway.

Also, the road is often heavily used by logging traffic on weekdays, so it probably makes the most sense to go on the weekend. Even then, it can be busy, so be attentive.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:294 ft / 89 m
    Round-Trip Distance:1.4 mi / 2.3 km
    Trailhead:FAA Gate  3295 ft / 1004 m
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:14 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Matt Varney
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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