Ascent of Lookout Mountain on 2007-01-19

Climber: Eric Noel

Date:Friday, January 19, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Lookout Mountain
    Elevation:2677 ft / 815 m

Ascent Trip Report

EN: "My original plan was to do both the north and south summits of Lookout Mountain because their spot elevations are triangulated within a foot of each other. The idea was to take the main road on the east side of the peak up to a junction where it splits into spurs for each summit. Then I intended to take the road to the south summit, drop off-trail from there down to the saddle between the two peaks, and then take the main road to the north summit. My probable route of descent was to take the path to the northeast, shown as trail and then road on the map, as that would be more direct and faster than returning via the main road which loops farther south. The trip did not get off to a smooth beginning as I got a very late start after battling with my printer in a futile attempt to coerce it into adding ink to the pages it was spitting out. I lost. So with a late start and no map I headed up I-5, getting off at Exit 240 and circling counter-clockwise around Lookout Mountain I found Lake Louise Road and the correct locked gate easily enough. There were no signs forbidding trespassing but there was a sign stating that access was under review and to call Clare Fogelsong at Bellingham Public Works at (360) 676-6961 for continued access. I wouldn't have bothered to call anyway, but I felt this sign was addressed more to those with keys to the gate than to the general public. Still, it might not be a bad thing to call as this lady may be able to grant permission to access. Or she might deny in which you probably would be better off not asking since it isn't signed anyway.

"I headed up the road, passed some houses and construction on the left, and soon reached the obvious fork where you choose your route. I went left as planned. This road continued on through the forest rather uneventfully with patches of snow appearing around 1600 feet. After a while I reached the road split for the two summits. I had passed a few abandoned roads but this was the first maintained side road that I came upon beyond the lower fork and it is marked by two green electric boxes. Since I was running low on daylight I decided to skip the south summit. I continued on to the right as views opened up a bit towards Baker and the Twin Sisters as well as the uglier but also prominent Whacme. The going was quite slow for a road walk as cars had packed the snow down and it was now slippery ice. Soon enough I reached the summit area and a final road split. The tower complex to the left had one sign saying that it was guarded by surveillance and alarms. The other sign warned that the radio frequency emitted was beyond the level considered safe for humans. Great. The unsafe radio frequency was probably the better deterrant than the alarms. Thankfully, the right summit looked higher anyway so up it I went. Two fenced complexes flank a large rock which is the clear highpoint. This rock also has two benchmarks embedded in it. If this summit were bald or if a person could stand atop the microwave/radio/cell towers atop the peak then you would have excellent views of the San Juans, B.C., Baker/Twin Sisters as well as the other Bellingham 2000 prominence peaks. In particular, the views of the islands would be great as this peak is only about seven miles from Bellingham Bay and maybe twenty miles or so from Mount Constitution. Sadly, there were plenty of trees and man-made equipment to block out parts of the scenery and prevent pleasant pictures. I guess I can't complain about these towers too much since I own a cell phone. On this day it wouldn't have mattered that much anyway due to gray skies and light rain. I dropped down and skipped the left-most complex deciding after deciding that it was clearly lower and not worth the hassle. Though it is possible it might have better views. A cursory search revealed no sign of a path down to the northeast and my planned descent route. Seeing the mix of dense new growth and second growth and with daylight fading I decided to stick with the devil I knew and so I returned via the somewhat tedious road. The descent was unremarkable. Round trip was maybe 4.5 hours, probably more like 3.5 with no ice on the road. The round trip was perhaps 11 miles and would be 13 or 14 miles if you added the south summit. It may be possible to park SSW of where I parked in some residential areas and then inconspicuously scamper the short distance past some houses and up to the road which would save perhaps a mile each way. The road was muddy due to the rain and of course also covered in snow and ice for the last two miles. But it would be just fine for a bike trip anytime other than winter. I may have to return for the 2676 spot sometime in the future but at least I got the map-indicated HP so I'm calling it a summit." --Eric Noel
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:2277 ft / 694 m
    Distance:11 mi / 17.7 km
    Trailhead:400 ft / 121 m
    Grade/Class:Class I
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Calm

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