Thurston County Highpoint Trip Report

Date: March 27, 2008
Author: anonymous

We were planning on going up the standard route from Alder Lake because the gate was going to be open at this time. Of all the days to go, we happened to go on a late season snow storm and there was 3 inches at the gate on the south side of the lake. We continued driving up the road as far as we could get but were quickly stopped just a few hundred yards from the gate by a huge washout. The small creek had managed to push dozens of trees across the road, blocking it completely.

Instead of driving around, we started hiking up the road. It was a beautiful day with the sun shining on the snow-covered trees. Not far from the car we had to cross two more massive washouts. Some of the trees across the road were over 4 feet in diameter. We had planned on going cross-country at some point to cut off the winding miles on the road but the brushy, snow-covered trees made hiking the road a much easier option. We turned off FS 74 on to 7409. Here the road narrowed and blow-downs became more frequent. At the turn off to #017, the blow-downs became so common we had to cut our way through them instead of walking around or over them. The nice powder snow at this point was getting deeper. Finally the road ended and we were able to get on to some real scrambling. Luckily the tree cover reduced the amount of snow on the hill. We made good time following the ridge up to the summit. It didn't take too long to find the summit marker.

The hike out was much easier because we didn't have to stop and clear trees. The snow was melting by the time we got back to the car. It was 7 hours round trip for what was supposed to be a "short" hike. Oh, how quickly conditions can change.