Ascent of Natapoc Mountain on 2011-06-04

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, June 4, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Natapoc Mountain
    Elevation:4210 ft / 1283 m

Ascent Trip Report

From US-2 at Coles Corner, which is about 15 miles westbound (though geometrically, it's mostly N) of Leavenworth, I turned NE on WA-207. After just a few hundred feet, I turned R on Karl Rd. In just a couple hundred more feet, Karl Rd ends at a T-intersection with Reiche Rd where I turned L. A few hundred feet after that, the pavement ends where a "Road Closed" sign is bolted to a tree. The road did not end and there was no gate, barricade, berm, or any other kind of physical barrier to further progress. Undaunted by the sign, which showed signs of neglect, I continued. The road was a bit rough in spots, with a few mudpuddles, but my Nissan 2WD pickup did OK for about ¾ mile to a point just past some high tension power lines. After that, the road became steeper, narrower, and rockier, and I decided to park and continue on foot.

The road I was on made a long (½ mile each way) switchback as it climbed the NW flank of Natapoc Mtn, and I briefly considered cutting the switchback under the power lines, but very heavy brush soon canceled that idea, so I hiked farther NE up the road. After about 10 minutes, I hiked around a locked Forest Service gate, probably on the border of sections 9 and 10. A few hundred feet after that is a junction, where I turned R and headed uphill first in a gully, then turning farther R and making a long SW traverse. Upon returning to the power lines the road made several steep switchbacks up under the power lines. Just before the road left the power lines and re-entered the forest to the NE, I left the road and hiked up the powerline clear cut. Although there was still some brush at this point, it was not a significant impediment to travel as it would have been down lower at the start of the hike.

Upon reaching the ridge crest near Nat TP (which I didn't try to find), I turned S and plunged into the brushy forest. After just a couple of minutes of bushwhacking through immature pine forest, I stumbled upon a good trail (not shown on the topo map) that continued farther up the ridge. I followed the trail, which turned out to be very useful: always followable and sometimes appearing to be purposely maintained. The trail climbed to point 4204, the northernmost of two summits of Natapoc. I continued on the trail to the S summit, though its condition is not as good; at one point where it crosses a meadow it is mostly obscured by annual vegetation.

On my descent, I did not leave the trail where I had first found it in the forest near the powerline; instead, I continued to follow it farther N on the ridge, crossing under the powerlines, and continuing to the point where the road I had used earlier crosses over the crest of the ridge N of the powerlines. It was then a straightforward hike down the road back to my truck.

As is often the case, my route of descent would be the one I'd recommend for future visitors to Natapoc Mtn. The entire climb can be done with the assistance of man-made pathways, with no bushwhacking at all. Follow the road all the way to where it tops out on the ridge N of the powerlines. There will be a junction right there, where you can turn S on the trail which takes you to both summits of Natapoc.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2210 ft / 674 m
    Distance:6 mi / 9.7 km
    Trailhead:Reiche Rd  2000 ft / 609 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 

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