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Ascent of West Onion Peak on 2009-04-04

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, April 4, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:West Onion Peak
    Location:USA-Oregon
    Elevation:3076 ft / 937 m

Ascent Trip Report

This one is a slight stealth, but it's not too serious. I recommend doing it on a weekend when the loggers won't be there to hassle you.

I parked my truck at Hug Point State Park. The turnoff is about 3½ miles N of the Clatsop-Tillamook county line on the W side of US-101. It is just N of a rock slot where the highway passes through a coastal cape. I walked about ¼ mile S and turned E on a logging road just S of the slot. The logging road is gated within sight of the highway and sign identifies the Stimson Lumber Company (probably no relation to the peak of the same name in Glacier NP MT). A small white fiberglass wand says "Hug Point".

I kept L, near the trees, at the first two road junctions. Then, at (45.8251N, 123.9517W), I took the R fork. At (45.8251N, 123.9486W), I took the L fork which climbed up into the trees. At the junction on the border of sections 17 and 20 (45.8262N, 123.9393W) the main road turns 90° L into a clear cut; I continued straight ahead. I stayed on this road until the oblique 4-way junction at (45.8170N, 123.9296W), where I turned a sharp L. Logging company signs show the distance from the highway every ½ mile, and this one is at exactly 2½ miles. A fiberglass wand by this road said "Onion Pk", which was reassuring.

The road gained elevation steadily. Upon reaching the ridge crest at (45.8226N, 123.9266W), the junction is now a 4-way junction in a clear cut; I turned sharp R. The road continued to gain elevation until the center of section 28; then it crossed a ridge and dropped slightly. Shortly after turning from E to N on the W side of section 27, I located the turnoff for the obscure jeep road shown on the topo. The turnoff is marked by a cairn and orange tape; however, the road itself could not have been used in the last 50 years. It is seriously overgrown by trees that are at least that old, and in places the road bed is eroded up to 2 feet. The last 200 yards before the switchback at 2440' are especially difficult: a couple of sharp deep gullies must be crossed and a large fallen tree must be bypassed. It finally eases up at the switchback, where there are some campsite remains. The going is better until the road ends on a flat turnaround on the crest of the S ridge of the peak.

Bob Bolton reports that a use trail heads up the W side of this ridge to the summit; however, I was unable to find it in the snow. I clambered directly up the ridge, occasionally on boulder piles. The going was slow, but I eventually reached the summit, which consisted of open slabs (now covered in snow). There was a good view of Onion Pk itself, plus broken views of the ocean on this clear day.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3226 ft / 982 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:11 mi / 17.7 km
    Route:Hug Point Rd / Onion Pk Rd
    Trailhead:Hug Point SP  50 ft / 15 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 30 Minutes



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