Benton County High Point Trip Report

BM Rattlesnake (3,629 ft)

Date: November 25, 2000
Author: Stefan Feller

I used John Roper's write-up description to find a good parking spot and parked about 200 yards away from the Bennett Road well as shown on the USGS Maiden Spring map. The road to the well is in great condition as any vehicle can make it. The road after the well changes. In my opinion, this is the only feasible way to get to the top of this peak as there are three radio antennae arrays at the summit, with a road doable with a high clearance vehicle - 4 wheel drive is not required. In fact, I noticed that a vehicle had driven to the summit the day before our visitation. You could drive until the sign says "no unauthorized vehicles past this point".

About a half inch of snow had fallen over the Columbia Basin and the surrounding hills the two previous days. In addition, the barbed wire fences, rocks and cut wheat had almost 2 inches of hoar frost on their eastern exposures and the temperatures hovered in the wind-chilled low 20's accompanied by a constant 5 mph breeze. Fog lay below me in the neighboring valleys. The surreal landscape of minimal snow and treeless features made me feel as if I had stepped into the Dakotas in the middle of January. This is not the Washington I am used to.

Distance to the summit takes about 1 hour one way and you are on the road the entire way. You have to go over one false radio tower summit to attain the true summit. When I arrived at the true summit and the three large antenna arrays around me, I could not find a cairn. I couldn't believe it -- this was a cairnless summit! So we built a small cairn almost a point equidistant from the three concrete structures that stood on the summit. I forgot to bring a summit register.

Return trip took one hour too and was uneventful.