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Ascent of Gearhart Mountain on 2012-11-04

Climber: Richard Hensley

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, November 4, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Gearhart Mountain
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:8370 ft / 2551 m

Ascent Trip Report

The Gearhart Mtn Trail is a great hiking trail. First you pass through the Pinnacles, an interesting place to look around. Many scrambling opportunities here. Then you pass by the Dome and its impressive formations. Near the Dome, about 7500msl, I started running into snow from the storm that came through the previous week. From here to the pass, about half of the trail was covered with up to 4 inches of wet snow. It cleared up right before the pass, which is exposed to the sun.
From the pass, my route would take me W below the cliffs of Pt 8165, then a scramble up to its top, then NW to drop down its west side, then N to gain the main ridge to the summit. I could see the snow was more extensive and probably deeper south of the cliffs, and considered turning around, but I hoped for melted out areas on top and on the west side.
I stayed as close to the cliffs as I could, where much of the snow had melted. It was only about .15 mile to where the cliff could be scrambled. The south facing rocks were completely melted. Once on top, I could see that the rest of the way was snowcovered, but I was now determined to finish. Besides, the warm and calm weather easily offset the damp feet. Where I had to drop a hundred feet west of the ridge to avoid a cliff, the snow was 6 inches deep. But the ridgetop was mostly 2-4 inches deep, with a few melted areas. The final summit, treeless and facing southwest, was clear.
Great views all around. Mt Shasta, 100 miles to the SW, and the Three Sisters, 120 miles to the north, were easily seen. McLoughlin and Thielsen were easy to pick out of the Cascade crest to W and NW.
Looking over the cliff to the east, I would bet the trail going to Blue Lake was covered by a foot of snow.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2792 ft / 850 m
    Extra Gain:354 ft / 107 m
    Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Route:south ridge
    Trailhead:Gearhart Trailhead  6286 ft / 1915 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Hours 17 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 30 Minutes



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