Ascent of Tekoa Mountain on 2012-08-11

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, August 11, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Tekoa Mountain
    Elevation:4009 ft / 1221 m

Ascent Trip Report

This mountain is entirely on private land and is currently hard to access. Paul Michelson posted a trip report to where he spent a morning trying to get to the summit, and somehow managed to run into landowners and hunters, all leading to a guided 4WD trip to the summit courtesy of a 78-year old landowner in the area the next day. He seemed to have time, flexibility, and some luck. I approached the mountain to see what I could figure out.

First I circumnavigated the entire mountain looking for good ways to get to the summit and found no really good options. The east side of the massif has good forest cover up high but fields and homes down low with no good parking spots on the dirt road there. I then explored Irving Road on the NW side, which led past a dilapidated house/farm/compound and then ended at a gate and an overgrown path that looked promising, but had a mostly-gone “no trespassing” sign. Not entirely comfortable leaving my car here, I retreated. Paul mentioned the owner of this side of the mountain lived on Bibbie Road, near Irving, but there were several houses there.

So I went south on WA-27 on the west side of the mountain, which is all open field and in view from the busy paved highway. I soon came to the road to the summit towers that was used by many county highpointers before 2009, starting on WA 27 about 1.5 miles WNW from the town of Tekoa. This road is now gated and clearly signed “no trespassing”, and there is no good place to park near the base. I explored a faint track just E of this road but it led nowhere. There was some kind of structure near here. I did not want to boldly trespass on a wide open road in a field in plain view of a highway, nor leave my car near its base.

Then I went into the town of Tekoa, where Washington Avenue runs north before turning east as Cove Road, and maps show a path heading up to the mountain from this corner. So I parked here and walked up to a farm/compound that included some run-down houses, a car junkyard, some horses, and other debris scattered about. It was 9:30 on a Saturday morning, and I heard a TV on in the largest house, but no one came to the door when I knocked. A dog barked at me from a nearby enclosure. The entire area did not feel very friendly, so I left. Paul reported randomly encountering the landowner of the south side of the peak, but I don’t know if this compound was where they lived or not.

I decided Irving Road was the best bet, so I returned there via WA 27. Irving Road heads west from the paved highway, passes Bibbie Road, and then goes a short distance to the farm/compound on the left. I parked here and walked to the front door of the house, past some junked cars, debris, and loud barking dogs. A woman came to the door, and I asked her if it was OK to hike to the summit of Tekoa Montain. She said she did not own the land, but it should not be a problem. I told her where I would park, and she said it would be OK to leave the car there. So even though I did not really have landowner permission, I thought I had enough to go on—I could honestly say that “the woman at the nearest house said it would be OK”.

So I drove Irving Road to a junction just below 2800 feet, where the main road turns east and is blocked by a metal gate, and a faint road heads straight uphill. I parked and started hiking up the faint road, very shortly ducking under a tree across the road that blocks vehicle access. After that the old road was overgrown but easily followed as it went uphill, turned left, and then switchbacked right. It was very hot and sunny out, and the tall grass in the road was a riot of butterflies. The USGS map show the road ending after the first switchback, but I was happy to see that it continued switchbacking uphill all the way up to the open area at the west summit of Tekoa. The brush on either side of the road looked nasty, and I was glad I didn’t have to plunge into that.

From the west summit a track led across grassy fields to shortly intersect the main radio tower road at its last switchback, and hiking up that road for a few minutes brought me to the summit. A gate with a “no trespassing” sign must be passed before reaching the very top, where the actual summit area has been graded into a fenced tower enclosure. I walked the fenceline closely and called it good, since any land inside the barbed-wire topped fence was at most a few inches higher than the perimeter and man-made anyway. There were nice views out over the golden Palouse farmlands on this hot, hazy day.

I returned to my car without incident. When picking up the overgrown grassy road down from the west summit, I did see another “no trespassing” sign facing me that I had missed on the way up.

Overall, the Irving Road route is probably the best one on the mountain right now. The parking is in a pretty well secluded place, the hike is mostly in semi-forest where you can’t be seen, and the residents of the only house near the trailhead don’t seem to mind hikers. Also, Paul Michelson had a positive experience with the owner of this land in 2010. Still, if you have the time and energy, it might be worthwhile to track down the owner and get formal permission.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1234 ft / 376 m
    Elevation Loss:1234 ft / 376 m
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Hazy, humid
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1214 ft / 370 m
    Distance:1.8 mi / 2.9 km
    Route:W Ridge
    Trailhead:Irving Rd  2795 ft / 851 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1234 ft / 376 m
    Extra Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:W Ridge
    Trailhead:Irving Rd  2795 ft / 851 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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