Ascent of Gearhart Mountain on 2016-08-20
|Others in Party:||Amy Vaniotis|
|Date:||Saturday, August 20, 2016|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||8370 ft / 2551 m|
Ascent Trip ReportDIRECTIONS
Google maps will take you right there (plenty of other directions in other trip reports if needed).
Paved until last couple miles. Charming small campground a mile from the trailhead. Unfortunately there was a camp there with a large crowd, raging bonfire, and super loud generator so we slept at the trailhead instead. The TH is fairly large and there are plenty of flat spots around it to set up a tent.
We started hiking at 0730. It was a scorchingly hot weekend so thankfully we were in the West shadow of the mountain ridge all morning. The trail is wide and prominent but had numerous large downed trees. The trail is popular enough though that there are established trail diversions around them all.
The Palisades would be a bouldering paradise but we unfortunately didn't have time to explore them. The trail does not completely follow the old marked trail from topo resources (e.g. the linked one here), however, there are no side trails or splits so just keep following it up. The cliff by The Dome also looked very tempting for a 2 or 3 pitch climb. The rock quality isn't great but I'm sure there are routes since it's such a long and massive cliff. There were several trickles we crossed on the hike, so water filtering is possible.
Rather than traverse around the large massive at the begining of the summit ridge we followed the trail a bit further past a still active creek/marsh then cross-country scrambled up to the ridge to a point just past a large and prominent rock formation on the ridge. It's only a few hundred yards, not too steep, and without underbrush so it was an easy traverse. Once on top the ridge climbs very gently to the summit. There was no boot path but the trees are very thin so you can meander straight. The summit block brings you into the open with cliffs falling away to the East and the summit a scrambly playground of rock formations.
A more adventurous variation would be to take the trail all the way to the saddle North of the summit and then class 3 or 4 scramble to the top. This could be done without protection but would require more careful route selection, or setting a handline and going straight up.
There are stellar sweeping views of the entire area from the top. The mountain is so massive that the scale can't be appreciated until you see how much of the country surrounds it. From below, Gearhart slouches on the horizon belying it's height and prominence.
We went back the same way we came up. We tried to traverse more flat over the ridge but it didn't save any time or effort. It was a long hot hike out but it's such a gentle trail that it went quickly.
P.S.- it's worth a couple minute stop at the Mitchell Monument. It is the site of the only United States mainland fatalities of World War II due to enemy attack. On May 5, 1945, a balloon bomb that had flown all the way from Japan exploded as it was being investigated by curious picnickers. The explosion killed the wife of the local minister and five local children.
1/1 ACCESS - straight forward directions
1/2 REMOTENESS (Popularity, Sight/Sound) - only two other groups of hikers the whole day. Plenty of signs of common use, especially equestrian. Probably very busy during hunting season.
1/1 CONDITION - wide obvious trail - could use a trailtending visit to clear blow down
2/3 VARIETY (Flora and Fauna, Geological, Terrain) - would be rather monotonous if not for the rock formations
3/3 VIEWS - 360 views for 100 miles
(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:||2700 ft / 822 m|
| Extra Gain:||250 ft / 76 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||12.5 mi / 20.1 km|
| Route:||Gearhart Trail|
| Trailhead:||Gearhart Trailhead 6170 ft / 1880 m|
| Quality:||8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack|
| Weather:||Hot, Calm, Clear|
| Time:||3 Hours 20 Minutes|
| Time:||3 Hours 20 Minutes|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Daniel Mick
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