Ascent of Strawberry Mountain on 2011-07-22

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, July 22, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Strawberry Mountain
    Elevation:9040 ft / 2755 m

Ascent Trip Report

First note: exposed scramble and ice axe used were only for section to get around cornice at top of Strawberry Basin; they weren't necessary for this route. First 1.5mi of Onion Creek Trail mostly overgrown with snowberry. The trail beneath the growth was easy to follow; just a hassle to push through and shorts not recommended. Once on ridge, snowberry overgrowth was only in a few short stretches. At top of last meadow, trail fades out completely; look for cairn ahead and left just in front of the trees. Trail between 8000 and 8600msl mostly covered with 2-5ft of snow. Snowmelt this year 3-5 weeks behind a typical year. Summit area above 8600 snow free. Great views from southern Wallowas over to the Ochocos. Scramble down south ridge easy; when in doubt, downclimb west side a little. Large cornice with 6-20ft vertical drop blocked Strawberry Basin Trail all along upper ridge. Backtracked 1/4 mile til I found a weakness in cliff to downclimb. A couple 5 foot class 4 drops. Slipped on small, moderate snow slope but had my ice axe ready. All this could have been avoided by further backtracking a half mile north along the Onion Creek Trail, then angling down the scree slope to regain the Basin Trail. Upper basin was still buried in 1-5ft of snow between 8100 and 7700msl. Sidetrips to Little Strawberry Lake and around Strawberry Lake recommended for great pictures with mountain backdrops. Great loop hike. It appears the Onion Creek is better before the snow is all gone, pushing through the snowberry overgrowth might no be for everyone.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4138 ft / 1261 m
    Elevation Loss:4138 ft / 1261 m
    Distance:13.7 mi / 22 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
visibility 90
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:3788 ft / 1155 m
    Extra Loss:10 ft / 3 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:Onion Creek Trail, Summit Trail
    Trailhead:Onion Creek Trailhead  5262 ft / 1603 m
    Time Up:3 Hours 19 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:4128 ft / 1258 m
    Extra Gain:350 ft / 106 m
    Distance:8.9 mi / 14.3 km
    Route:South Ridge, Strawberry Basin, Little Strawberry L
    Trailhead:Onion Creek Trailhead  5262 ft / 1603 m
    Time Down:4 Hours 0 Minutes

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