Gilliam County High Point Trip Report

three areas on or near the Wheeler County line (4,280+ ft)

Date: February 28, 2003
Author: Bob Bolton

I only got a GPS reading for the apparently highest point. I absentmindedly photographed the wrong screen on the GPS for the only other candidate, the western area just north of the county line. The eastern area was well below the middle one nearest the road.

The temperature was in the 20s as we started down the road described in Ken Jones' report. There had been lots of rain east of the Cascades in the previous weeks, so the road had many frozen puddles, and I began to worry that the warm sunshine would melt the frozen ground to mushy mud by the time we tried to drive out of there. However the soil seemed to be rocky enough that we thought we should be able to make it with the 4WD. The GPS was preset for all three areas and using the latitude reading we were able to find the vicinity of the county line.

Then we explored the area just west of the road, taking the GPS photo at one of the candidate spots. We were able to see Mt. Hood to the west from the road, and as we dropped down toward the eastern area, it was obvious that it was much below the previous spot. For one thing we couldn't see Mt. Hood because it was hidden by the higher area near the road.

After thoroughly working this area, we drove back north toward the main road, then turned southwest on the other "road" shown on the topo map. This dropped down toward a draw, and there was a rickety fence at the bottom that we opened, drove through, then closed behind us. At the bottom of the draw we came to a nice little creek where the "road" turned north. However, it looked as though the track had been trashed by floodwaters, so we parked instead of trying to drive up toward the ridge to the west. We followed the GPS southwest toward the western HP candidate, up onto the ridge and toward the county line. After thoroughly scouting all the highest looking mounds, I absent-mindedly photographed the wrong screen on the GPS, so I don't have the coordinates for that area.

Driving back to the main road, indeed the ground had thawed and there was water instead of ice in many of the ruts, so I often drove to one side of the ruts due to the deep and slippery mud. Even on the sides, however, the stuff was loose and nasty, and the tires threw mud into the air and all over the vehicle. Several times we depended on momentum to get us through bad sections, and were very glad for the high clearance due to the bouncing caused by moving too fast for the conditions. But we escaped out to the pavement with no problems.

GPS data -

Garmin Extrex Venture model
NAD27 CONUS datum
10 satellites, open sky
17 minutes accuracy
(45.06568° N, 119.92027° W)
4,293 ft elevation (and thereabouts). One observation as 4,297 ft