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Ascent of Puyallup Ridge Lookout on 2012-08-22

Climber: Eric Noel

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Puyallup Ridge Lookout
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:4877 ft / 1486 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had no beta on this one (except for Fay's overnight ski trip) so I made a guess on what was a decent route and it worked. I dodged potholes up the 59 road. Just before the ridge, at about 4600' I turned left on an unsigned road which is 078 on mytopo. Look at Mytopo for this as TOPO is outdated and doesn't show a lot of the roads. Anyway, this roadbed is no worse really than 59 but it is a little narrow, a little exposed and the brush is encroaching. At some point in the next decade the brush will win or the road will slide off of the very steep hillside that it is on. I drove to about 4400 or 4440' and parked at a little pullout on the left which hunters camp at. Two fire rings here. The goal basically then was to bushwhack over to the road network on the other side of the Deer Creek headwaters. There was a little brush but not bad and soon I dropped to a large flat meadow with water and grass. Continued S and foots bit of path here and there and made it to the road as planned at the S terminus of the road. Bushwhack was really not bad. You can shorten it a little by hitting the road further N but this is a little brushier and a little bit more drop in the valley.

From there I just followed the roads as mapped. You can either hike along the ridge or hike on the W side of the ridge and I did the latter for no particular reason. This is the 32 road. The rest of this is DNR or private logging land. There were no signs regarding access or trespassing on my route. Signs for the MTTA ski trails were around here and there. I hiked the flat 32 road for a few miles to the saddle SSE of the peak and then turned uphill on the gated summit road at 4300'. Walked this to the lookout and some views. The lookout is in OK but not great shape and clearly does not get used. Door falling off and interior looked to be a mess. A DNR BM can be found near a four pronged metal pole thingie. Not much else to say. I reversed the route and hiked out. You make decent time due to the speediness of flat roadwalking. Not scenic but so it goes.

There are other ways on paper to do this peak but I have no idea about them. You can certainly legally snowshoe to Puyallup Ridge from a sno-park in winter as Fay P did but this is 18 miles RT in snow from the snopark. Makes sense for skiers, long ways to snowshoe. According to the MTTA website their easement for this area does not include any summer access. One could also probe other jeep tracks from points where the FS roads are near the logging road such as the 59 switchbacks. On the map, the 5942 connects to the logging area but my recollection was that this was gated and overgrown. You could poke around the roads and gates and such to see if there is some ways to drive into this area and I doubt it would work but you never know. Roads were fine, with only the summit road being gated. Excellent for biking too.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1637 ft / 497 m
    Extra Gain:600 ft / 182 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:Schwack to 32
    Trailhead:FS 5900078  4440 ft / 1353 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2ish BW 1 or 2
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Overcast
Pleasant and cloudy



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