Ascent of Lincoln County High Point on 2012-11-10

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, November 10, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Lincoln County High Point
    Elevation:3401 ft / 1036 m

Ascent Trip Report

I am writing this as an important update for future potential summiters of the Lincoln County HP contenders (including Saddle Bag Mountain).

On November 10, 2012, I went to these county highpoint contenders. Due to the amount of distance to cover on the ground, during hunting season, I opted to wear "hunter orange" and take my bike with me. However, what I was *not* expecting was the road to be closed to motorized vehicles immediately prior to where Murphy Road crosses Salmon River... only three miles from Highway 18 and at approximately 1020' elevation.

There was no physical gate present, but the extensive signage could not be ignored. Multiple signs said "WALK IN ONLY: Non-motorized transportation allowed." So with my bike I was good to continue on, albeit for a much longer journey than I had originally expected (21 miles rather than 13 miles roundtrip, total). The signage deterred most of the hunters from proceeding, and none of them looked happy. I talked to a group of three hunters at my little parking area down a slope prior the bridge, and they told me this was a new access regulation being implemented by the logging company landowner this year and the hunters were very upset with the logging company forbidding vehicular access beyond that point.

Some hunters decide to ignore the signage and proceed on. But as I would witness further up the road, at least two of those vehicle drivers were stopped and ticketed (I presume with trespassing?). So any people deciding to ignore the signs and proceed in their vehicles did so (and will do so in the future) at their own risk. I saw fresh vehicle tracks in the snow and mud up near the upper Murphy Road gate (~2400' elevation), but no vehicles were there. This gave me a small sigh of relief that I would not need to worry about any hunter venturing up (on foot) as far as I was going... or so I thought.

After completing the eastern HP contender, I was heading down Road 300. As I rounded around one turn on my bike, and I was not riding very fast at that moment (fortunately), I noticed a man in camouflage gear and a "hunter orange" vest kneeling on the ground with a rifle pointed squarely in my direction. I slammed on my breaks and yelled, "Whoa, dude!" He seemed to pause a few moments before pointing his gun away from me. His hesitation bothered me. I was wearing "hunter orange" on my upper body, backpack, and even my bike helmet. Basically, he heard a noise coming down the road and thought it was a deer... obviously someone who is not very experienced, as deer would not be making virtually any noise (let alone a metallic/wheel-turning noise of a bicycle) on a road. I guess this is not too shocking, as I met a hunter during my descent who had shot and killed a porcupine along a logging road just because he was so frustrated with not finding any deer to shoot. Some people are just trigger-happy and one-track-minded, I guess.

The trip up/down the western HP contender (on Saddle Bag Mountain) was as Edward Earl had described. There was no rain while I visited the eastern HP contender, while rain drizzle occurred for most of the time during my jaunt up/down the western HP contender. Snow was on the ground throughout the routes, but only a little.

1) Take a bike (due to long distances).
2) Go on a weekend (due to weekday logging activities).
3) If the lower gate along Highway 18 (at "Murphy Summit") is closed, plan for both HP contenders to be approximately 27 miles roundtrip, total.
4) During hunting season, with the new motorized access restrictions only three miles from Highway 18, plan for both HP contenders to be approximately 21 miles roundtrip, total... only a few miles less than during non-hunting season. That eliminates most of the advantage of going during hunting season.
5) I personally believe that the western HP contender (on Saddle Bag Mountain) is higher than the eastern HP contender. However, this is as of yet unconfirmed and to each his/her own.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2381 ft / 725 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1001 ft / 305 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.9 mi / 15.9 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2381 ft / 725 m
    Distance:7 mi / 11.3 km
    Route:Roads: Murphy, 100, 300, 331
    Start Trailhead:Salmon River Crossing (3 Miles From Hwy 18)  1020 ft / 310 m
    Time:0 Days 2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1001 ft / 305 m
    Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Route:Roads: 331, 300, 100
    End Trailhead:100/300 Road Junction  2400 ft / 731 m
    Time:0 Days 0 Hours 30 Minutes

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