Grays Harbor County Highpoint Trip Report

"Wynoochee Point" (4,880+ ft)

Date: June 28, 2010
Author: Adam Helman

an attempt

note: Coordinates use the WGS84 datum.

This effort was part of a larger journey collecting summits in late June and early July 2010.

I arrived at the cross-country portion of this effort under what must be close to the worst of all possible conditions: inadequate snow coverage to avoid a wet bushwhack; while the ground itself was soggy and slippery from having just supported a snow layer. It was drizzling, and the summit was playing hide-and-seek with me through the fog.

Let's backtrack so as to provide something useful.

In central Montesano take Pioneer Road west 1 mile to the start of Wynoochee Valley Road. Zero the odometer.

At 18 1/2 miles is the junction with Cougar Smith Road. As of June 2010 there are 10 miles of new pavement, beginning here - a boon to future efforts (including mine). There follows 14 1/2 miles of graded gravel, making a 43 mile total - and 44 miles from central Montesano.

The washout mentioned in reports has been repaired. However a log bars further driving progress; such that it's reasonable to park and perhaps camp (as I did) at elevation 1,636 feet.

Around dawn I hiked the forest road north, managed the sharp 2,300 foot switchback to the south; followed by a second switchback; disregarded a right fork, and then passed through a 3,300 foot key junction.

At 3,500 feet I encountered the spur road taken by Bob Bolton; and walked to nearly its end. It was almost completely covered in snow, a remarkable fact for June 28 at such a relatively low elevation.

Unfortunately the slopes above were nearly snow-free - and I've read the recommendations that snow makes the effort far more bearable - and I have an ice axe. I locate boot prints heading up to my left on the side of a hill. Following them, I gain about 100 feet, in the slight rain and mist, until realizing this is crazy. Every step is slippery, and the top is invisible half the time. I bail out.

On reaching the 3,300 foot junction the entire upper mountain disappears from view. I would have been caught in a whiteout.