Ascent of Taylor Mountain on 2014-12-15

Climber: James Barlow

Date:Monday, December 15, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Taylor Mountain
    Elevation:2600 ft / 792 m

Ascent Trip Report

How not to climb Taylor Mtn: follow my ascent track.

I was home from work sooner than expected after lunch with a colleague, so I hurried and loaded my mountain bike, some warm clothes, water, and food into my pack, downloaded the most recent ascent GPS tracks from peakbagger into my GPS and headed out of Seattle before rush hour traffic. I arrived at the trailhead right around 2pm and was on my way soon after. When I left Queen Anne, it was 56 and sunny! It was cooler here with the breeze, but still perfectly sunny. On today's outing, I would see Rainier and Baker, so it was pretty clear across most of Washington. I made my way past Ted Bundy's dump site and on to the key junction at ~2,040 ft. There was a tree down across the road at ~1,680 ft, the only downed tree of the entire day. If the gate were open for some reason, vehicular progress would be stopped here. At the junction at 2,040 ft, I thought that I had a bright idea. Instead of losing a mere 200 ft of vertical gain along a long slope in the road as previous peakbaggers had done, I would turn right and follow a road along the south side of the mountain that would put me on the other side of the summit. There is even an arrow made out of branches pointing me in the correct direction, east not southwest.

The road was in good shape along this section as I made my way up into the 2,520+ ft contour line. I was hoping for a possible road along the crest of the ridge leading to the summit. This was not to be. I descended to around 2,400 ft, and encountered the "boundary trail." There was a sign for it. It headed in a straight line east, then turned abruptly south. Once I went a bit of a way further down, I realized that this did not line up with the road I had on my GPS. I stuck out east into the forest with my bike over my shoulder. A new first: bushwhack mountain biking! Ugh... I headed east then north over a small ridge where I saw a road headed where I needed to go. I soon encountered an intersection, where it looked like I could head west right back to the good portion of the "boundary trail." It was flat, so I checked it out. You can cut right through here back to the trail, and there is a well-worn use trail (which I saw from the other side on the way up). Clearly, people move through here regularly. There is a sign that warns people to stay out of the watershed. I realized that I was on the wrong side of it, not my intent. I headed east through flat, up, and down sections until I was right below the summit. Wanting to get out of the watershed quickly and realizing that the roads probably didn't connect, I headed straight up the hill again with my bike on the other shoulder this time. More bushwhack mountain biking!!

When I approached the edge of the old growth (easy moving), right at its boundary, I encountered a trail that formed the border of the watershed again. I took it for a bit until I seemed to hit a high point. I laid the bike down and figured I would scout out the options. Directly to the summit looked somewhat clear, and it was only 400 ft of bushwhacking. Continuing west, I looked to see if the trail somehow met a summit road. It did not. As I was about to turn around to go back to the bike, I stepped off the trail to the north (out of the watershed) to take a leak. I managed to catch a barbed wire strand with my left foot and trip forward, pushing the barbed wire right on to my exposed (wearing shorts) right calf. It cut in nice and deep with its rusty barbs - awesome. I headed back to my bike to bushwhack the final section to the slash pile high point. I covered the seemingly highest natural ground to the west of the pile, then hopped up on the pile to claim that point as well. I tossed my bike down the side of the pile to the long-lost road below.

I was pretty angry at myself for striking out on an exploration adventure on such a dumpster peak. I could have saved a considerable amount of time by taking the route taken by those before me, and clearly marked at the junction. Oh well. I added another layer for the upcoming downhill and lowered my seat. The ride down (and the minimal re-ascent) went well. I hit a max speed of 30.4 mph somewhere on the descent. I was back at the car before sunset, arriving at 4:30, for a total of 2.5 hours out and about. I probably could have easily shaved 30 minutes off the trip by taking the correct route... The descent from the summit on my bike took exactly 30 minutes.

The traffic home was much better than expected, and I cleaned out my multiple cuts on my right calf as best I could. Seems that I paid my penalty for entering the watershed. I guess I will get a tetanus booster at work tomorrow...

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1280 ft / 390 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1280 ft / 390 m
    Route:Wrong Way!
    Start Trailhead:1320 ft / 402 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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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