Ascent of McDonald Mountain on 2014-01-26

Climber: James Barlow

Others in Party:Dan Conley
Zelda the dog
Date:Sunday, January 26, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:McDonald Mountain
    Elevation:3570 ft / 1088 m

Ascent Trip Report

So, this hike was originally conceived as a mountain bike & snowshoe combo similar to the ascent of Silo Mtn that Greg Slayden and I did in March 2013. We had planned on biking to snowline and then snowshoeing to the summit. Based on other trip reports from previous winter months, we figured that we would maybe get as high as 2,000 ft and snowshoe the rest of the way. As it turned out, this winter has been so mild that we did not encounter snow all the way to the summit, except one minor patch smaller than a tennis court and only 1 inch deep right below the summit in a north-facing shady area. We rode out bicycles all the way to just below the NW summit of McDonald. At this point, we knew that the trail steeply descends 200 ft and then re-ascends the final 400 ft to the summit, so we ditched the bikes to avoid the double ascent and walked the last small portion to the summit. Once on the summit, we wandered around a bit to ensure that we got the high point and enjoyed the views from just west of the summit while basking in the warm sun in our t-shirts. We had been in t-shirts from the trailhead when we began biking up. As a note to future peakbaggers, the first mile or so of the dirt road was pretty torn up to prevent motorized transport up the old logging road which also served to hinder the use of mountain bikes. Once we passed this terrible portion of the road, it was tiring uphill riding, but unobstructed until the point where we dropped the bikes. We spent quite a bit of time chatting at rest points on the way up and spent quite some time on the summit taking in the sun and eating a late lunch. We also spent some time fixing Dan's front brakes when we arrived back at the bikes. From where we picked up the bikes, it took us 40 minutes to descend to the car, which included brief rest stops at both gates to let the dog catch her breath. The bumpy, torn up section near the bottom was much easier to navigate on the descent, and we were able to ride over at least 3/4 of the berms as we had momentum on our side. It was actually nice single track mountain biking in places. There is a very well graded road that comes from the southwest and meets the route we took around the 2,200 ft point. It may provide a much easier mountain bike access point for future peakbaggers. The extra mileage would surely be offset by the fact that the road is easily biked both up and down. Overall, it felt like late April the whole day. I wore a t-shirt from the beginning of the ride until I was back at the bike after the summit when I added a thin mid layer for the descent as I knew it would cool down as I picked up speed. Additionally, we both needlessly carried snowshoes on our packs from the car all the way to the bike drop point and back again. Oh well... Pictures

12.6 miles round trip
24.0 mph max speed
3h 11m moving time
3.9 mph moving avg
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3032 ft / 924 m
    Total Elevation Loss:400 ft / 121 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3032 ft / 924 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2632 ft / 803 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Loss on way in:400 ft / 121 m
    Route:Logging Roads from NW
    Start Trailhead:938 ft / 285 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
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.

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