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Ascent of Big Gee on 2017-07-22

Climber: Connor McEntee

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, July 22, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Big Gee
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:5080 ft / 1548 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is not a dumpster peak. The summit is a rock block devoid of trees with 360 views of the region and aesthetically pleasing. However, the approach is a contender for the most unpleasant bushwhack I have ever done. The only redeeming values are that there is no poison oak nor fields of devils club.

This climb started on a high note. FR 17 is basically paved the entire way from Rockport. At the junction for FR 1705, I encountered a parked grader. Just this past week, the road has been bladed (and graveled in a few places) to about 2.5 miles short of the historical junction to park at. The spot where the blading ended seemed random, so I would guess that it’s going even higher. The caveat is that there will almost certainly be logging in the area this summer potentially closing the road to public access during the week.

I continued past the point where the road work ended and encountered the conditions of the old road. There are a few berms created by water cutting the road. Any vehicle without clearance will definitely bottom out on those. Brush is also significantly encroaching on the road. I stopped 3 or 4 times and fought back the brush to continue on eventually stopping at a nice turnout with a fire ring. Going any farther would have resulted in very deep scratches to the paint or required a chainsaw/trimmers to make a significant difference. Adding an extra 0.5 mi each way to my hike was pretty trivial.

I followed the road on the north side of the ridge, which terminates at a quarry. From there it is a bushwhack the entire way except for a few sections of scrambling. The brush is the most dense at first and I traversed too far over in going up to the ridge. Even though it adds extra elevation, I would find the first “meadow” and go straight up. The going is a bit easier on the ridge. If nothing else, it means that you aren’t side-hilling and fighting trees at the same time.

I was able to stay on the ridge for the most part until reaching a significant gendarme just before the summit. Rather than attempt to down climb sketchy heather covered rock, I dropped down to the north side and traversed around it. As my luck would have it, it hadn’t rained in the Cascades for weeks. However, all of these slopes were a bit wet making the grassy vegetation slippery. I did fall and slide a couple of times.

There is a false summit, and I swore a bit under my breath that I had to do even more bushwhacking. The north side of the ridge is exposed and scrambly, while the south side has trees. Pick your poison. I did a bit of both.

As I said earlier, the summit is great (no register), but you have to do the whole bushwhack again, which detracts from enjoying it.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2122 ft / 645 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2122 ft / 646 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1525 ft / 464 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1055 ft / 322 m; Extra: 470 ft / 143m
    Loss on way in:470 ft / 143 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:East Ridge
    Start Trailhead:FR 1705  4025 ft / 1226 m
    Time:1 Hours 51 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1652 ft / 503 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1055 ft / 322 m; Extra: 597 ft / 181m
    Gain on way out:597 ft / 181 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Route:East Ridge
    End Trailhead:FR 1705  4025 ft / 1226 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Connor McEntee
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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