Ascent of Grass Mountain on 2009-04-05

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Sunday, April 5, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Grass Mountain
    Elevation:3603 ft / 1098 m

Ascent Trip Report

At OR-34 near Alsea, I turned N on gravel Follet Rd. The turnoff is immediately W of MP 38 (miles start at 0 at the W end of OR-34 in Walport), immediately E of the Alsea Christian Fellowship, or 0.3 mile W of Mill Creek County Park. Zero or note your odometer at the turnoff. At 0.5 miles I went R at a fork. At 5.9 miles is a fork where a gated logging road goes L; I went R, of course. The road is identified by a BLM sign as 13-8-23.1. At 6.4 miles, the road makes a sharp L through a notch. At 9.6 miles I made a sharp L turn at a triangle intersection on a ridge. It is necessary to go around two sides of the triangle because of fallen trees blocking the third side. A small white sign identifies the correct road as 13-8-15. I then went left at a fork immediately thereafter. At 10.1 miles I decided to pull off at a wide spot and start hiking. I could have driven farther, but I wanted to Earlize the peak to 1000' gain.

Throughout the drive, the road condition is rough gravel but OK for any street-legal vehicle. Partly fallen trees with low overhanging branches occasionally hinder passage.

At a point that I estimate to be about ½ mile from my truck is an unmapped fork. The mapped branch is the L, S fork which is nearly level, but I took the unmapped N, R fork which soon climbed to the crest of a ridge. Roughly 0.2 mile farther I stayed straight where a side road went R, and just a few hundred feet later was a fork. Both branches traversed the N side of the ridge, but the R branch descended whereas the L branch continued upward, so I chose the L branch. Increasing snow coverage led me to put on my snowshoes. The road eventually gained the crest of the ridge and ended in an open clear cut with good views. At the road had ended, I had no choice but to go cross-country, which I did by continuing up the crest of the ridge in open uncut forest. In less than 10 minutes I reached a snow-covered mapped road that crossed the ridge at roughly (44.432N, 123.671W). I turned R on the road, which headed NW, dropped slightly, gradually turned L, and eventually headed S in a gradually ascending traverse up the W side of the N ridge of Grass Mtn. Near the beginning of the ascending traverse the snow disappeared and the road was blocked by a large berm and pit which no motor vehicle could possibly pass, though it was little impediment to foot travel. The snow gradually returned and the road gained the main ridge of Grass S of the summit and then turned N in a clear cut with views of Jefferson and Three Sisters. The forest gradually returned as I reached the summit amid scattered trees which obstructed most of the view.

Although my original intention was to climb the peak entirely on mapped roads which was contrary to my decision to take the R branch at the first fork after I started walking, that decision actually worked to my advantage because the route I ended up taking headed more directly up Easter Ridge, avoiding the switchback near the headwaters of Easter Creek. It saved distance but did not add any significant obstacles despite about 0.2 miles of cross-country.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1263 ft / 384 m
    Extra Gain:80 ft / 24 m
    Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Route:Easter Ridge
    Trailhead:Easter Ridge  2500 ft / 762 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:1 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:1 Hours 20 Minutes

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