Ascent of Trask Mountain on 2016-01-16

Climber: Daniel Mick

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 16, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Trask Mountain
    Elevation:3424 ft / 1043 m

Ascent Trip Report

My foolhardiness and stubbornness resulted in a confirmed non-hunting season approach for this CoHP! I decided to try to summit Trask despite numerous reports of locked gates since I didn't want to wait a whole year for an attempt. I considered giving up after many hours and dozens of miles of backcountry driving, but summitting Trask became a personal challenge by that point. The confirmed route involves 15 miles of well-kept forest roads and a 6 mile road hike. Good map reading and detailed directions are required since almost the roads are unlabeled and there are many spurs.

--After further research I believe there is a direct approach, though unconfirmed, from the West from Tillamook/Trask County Park (follow Toll Rd all the way to the logging gate). This would be a 30 minute longer drive from Portland but may be well worth avoiding the hassle of forest road navigation.--

Complete detailed driving and hiking directions, map, and GPS coordinates here.

ALL access points from the East (Toll Rd, Flying M Ranch, etc.) have locked Weyerhauser logging gates - trust me, I tried them all. Google and Topo maps showed possible access from the South from Meadowlake Rd/McGuire Reservoir Area. All the possibilities along the route were also gated *except* for a Tillamook Forest access road West of McGuire Reservoir off of Meadowlake Rd/Nestucca River Rd (45.324371, -123.461009). Using Google maps road overlay on topo/terrain (the USGS topo lacks enough contrast for good road differentiation, but includes other good details) I made a long exploratory trek through the woods. Upon my third gated deadend I realized that Weyerhauser does a fantastic job of restricting access and deduced that my best chance was to skirt as far North as possible in the state forest and hike in from the West. This ended up being successful. See the above link for detailed directions.

All roads are well-graded forest roads, however, obstacles such as downed trees may be encountered since these roads are likely not monitored closely. After a handful of turns, confusing junctions, and mismatched satellite/Google/topo roads I finally reached the Murphy Grade/Headquarters Grade/Toll Rd junction (45.38489, -123.49964) that is the most direct access to Trask from state forest. This drive would take 45-60minutes depending on your forest road driving speed.

From the gate it is a ~2.9 miles one way, 1290 feet elev gain hike up a well-maintained logging road and a short jaunt up an old logging road to the summit clearing.

I thought I was going to be able to bag Trask without much effort and include another high point for the day. In the end, it consumed nearly 6 hours of dead-end attempts and navigational challenges. I am proud I have established a reasonable year-round route though!

If making this a trip from Portland, it is approximately a 90 minute drive to the beginning of forest road access, ~45-60 minutes forest road driving, ~2 hours for 6 miles hiking. In total, door to door, one should expect 7 hours minimum.

It was a cold drizzly Winter day. Wind and/or protection was good until 3000 feet when exposed to Southern side of mountain which has been clearcut. Wind was brutally harsh from there until into the trees again just below the summit. Several inches of snow covered the ground the final couple hundred vertical feet to the summit but the route was clear except for one stretch of road cast in North shadow.

0/1 ACCESS - two month window for access, or long and difficult drive rest of year
1/2 REMOTENESS (Popularity, Sight/Sound) - not common for hikers, but a well-used logging area; quiet all day
1/1 CONDITION - well-kept forest and loggin roads
1/3 VARIETY (Flora and Fauna, Geological, Terrain) - nice forest drive; hike is denuded logging
0/3 VIEWS - unknown if views from summit area; no views on drive and hike in
TOTAL 3/10
(does not include difficulty since hikers may prefer opposite extremes)

Ultimate OR & WA Lists: CoHP, CoPP, Top e100, Top p100
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1350 ft / 411 m
    Extra Gain:30 ft / 9 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.8 mi / 9.3 km
    Route:Toll Road
    Trailhead:West Toll Rd Gate  2134 ft / 650 m
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Drizzle, Cold, Very Windy, Low Clouds
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:45 Minutes

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