Ascent of Weatherwax Ridge on 2009-05-08

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Friday, May 8, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Weatherwax Ridge
    Elevation:2736 ft / 833 m

Ascent Trip Report

On Pioneer Rd about 1 mile W of the center of Montesano, I turned N on Wynoochee Valley Rd, following signs to Wynoochee Lake. Note your odometer at this point. Mile markers begin at 0 and increase from here. Just after mile post 17, the pavement ends. From this point on the road is well-graded gravel, suitable for any street-legal vehicle. At mile 25.1 and again at mile 28.4, the road is briefly paved as it crosses a bridge. At 33.1 miles, I turned R on FR-23, just after signs indicating that this is the way to Satsop Center. At mile 34.0, I went R at a fork where a sign indicates 0.8 miles to Satsop Center; the left branch here is FR-2372. Just a few hundred feet later, on the R, is FR-2371, which climbs nearly to the summit of Weatherwax Ridge. Eric Noel and John Roper were able to do so, but I found a locked gate here. I had to choice but to hike the 1700' gain on the road, if I wanted to climb Weatherwax today.

I continued to drive an additional 0.6 miles to a junction and parked near it. Just before the junction is a sign indicating that you are still on FR-23, Spider Lake is 15 miles straight ahead, and Satsop Lakes is 5 miles to the right. Beginning in the woods by this sign is the remains of an abandoned logging road that traverses uphill to the right. I hiked up this road. The road bed was covered with moss and ferns and occasionally had a fallen tree across it. After about 150 feet gain, the old road intercepted FR-2371 behind the gate. This little shortcut didn't save any elevation gain, but it did save about 1 mile hiking distance from the round trip.

The going was easy as FR-2371 climbs steadily. If it were not for the gate, the road would be driveable my most cars except for a couple of fallen trees across it. After an estimated distance of 4 miles, I reached the base of the N ridge of Point 2736, at an elevation of about 2450'. I left the road for a bushwhack up the ridge. Occasional devil's club made for thorny going but I made reasonable progress and reached the 2736' summit. The highest ground could be any of several possible man-made mounds of dirt. It was a 5-minute stroll through the woods, making occasional use of a barely discernible roadbed, to the 2720' area 700' W. The highest ground is the mound around any of several large, sometimes rotten stumps.

I descended the E ridge of point 2736 and reached the road junction at the ~2460' saddle between point 2736 and the eastern 2720' contour. It was a straightforward walk E, then S, then taking the overgrown spur road N to the summit. My assessment of the highest ground agrees with Eric Noel: a mound of dirt to the left of the roadend, in some replanted pine trees.

Views are scarce but not nonexistent.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1736 ft / 529 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8 mi / 12.9 km
    Route:FR 2731
    Trailhead:Satsop Center  1000 ft / 304 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:1 Hours 30 Minutes

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