Ascent of Ten-Four Mountain on 2007-05-12

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Ken Jones
Dean Molen
Date:Saturday, May 12, 2007
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Ten-Four Mountain
    Elevation:4384 ft / 1336 m

Ascent Trip Report

EN: "I set out with Dean and Ken with hopes of an easy day on Ten Four. Ken had scouted the road Klenke suggests a few days earlier and the gate was open and driveable at least to a spot that was not that far from Airplane Lake. He had also talked to a local who claimed that someone had recently locked the gate open. This left us thinking we would be able to drive fairly close and the gate would be open. We were more concerned about getting locked in in the evening than getting locked out so we left at 6AM which was a little earlier than was really needed for the hike we intended to do. After making the short drive we arrived at the gate where we were annoyed to find that it was now locked shut. Blah.

"Well, now we had to decide on an alternate approach. We weren't going to use the road from the gate as that was a long ways to go, at least 20 miles round trip. Ken had also heard that there are equestrian trails leading south off of Mann Road to the east of the Ben Howard Road gate. Those trails would entail 4000 feet of gain and a fair amount of roadwalk but it also offered hope of an all trail/road route of a reasonable distance. However, we really didn't have any info about these trails and no idea whether they were going the same place we were. So we decided to at least try the route from Proctor Creek.

"As expected, the Proctor Creek Road route was gated here. So we headed off and made solid progress on our excellent but gated road until we came to a fork where we had to choose our route. One of our two options was to take the road to Duffey Lakes and then ascend the gully that hits the ridge south of Point 4228. Every other way up from Duffey Lakes looks very steep, with cliff potential. The brush we were seeing made the idea of going up a drainage not so appealing. So we went with choice B.

"The idea with this route was to continue westerly and round the next ridge. The map then shows a gap in the road network but in fact we found that the road connects, albeit in a rockier less driveable form by this point. We had no trouble getting to this road junction. But when we reached the right spot we were disappointed to see that this road was quite overgrown with slide alder. We thrashed our way through this; it was unpleasant but not awful. Soon we decided it was time to head up the slope to the south, first it was easy going through small dense trees but then we came out into the open onto some brushy areas mixed with talus. The talus was stable, though being careful with footing slowed us down. The brush was not fun. Eventually we made it to approximately 3400 ft onto the ridge that is east of Haleyon Lake. This section was fairly gentle for a bit with open forest and patchy snow. The ridge soon merges into slope and the slope was getting moderately steep in places. We ascended on various snow corridors, occasionally busting through the snow as it thins out with snowmelt. In time we traversed a bit left as the map showed this as a little bit flatter and we ascended slightly left of the faint gully shown to the east of the summit. From there we walked a few hundred feet up to the forested summit. Dean brought a brand spanking new jar of Taco Bell fiesta salsa to leave as a register for future prominence baggers; we did not see Klenke's register. We relaxed for a bit, and then headed down the same route the entire way. The short descent on snow was not bad actually, though the weak snow made me nervous in a few spots. Deciding to retrace our route, the only navigational issue that we really had to be careful with was exiting the gentle ridge at 3400 ft at the correct point to enter the talus field. After that we scratched our way through the brush and then walked the somewhat boring road back to the car.

"Overall this is definitely a peakbagger's peak. There was no trail, it was either roadwalk, offtrail, or snow. I wouldn't say the peak is butt ugly, besides some of the clearcuts at the base, but it's not particularly pretty either. The Duffey Lakes basin looked from a distance like it might be a bit more scenic. Nonetheless, it is always fun just to be hiking and it was good to puzzle out a way to this summit in spite of the moderate obstacles placed in front of us: two gates, some brush, some crappy snow, and a little bit of steepness. Ice axes and poles were used, no snowshoes and no crampons although if the snow had been harder crampons would definitely be needed.

"As far as which route is recommended here for future visitors, I'm not sure what I would suggest. I have no doubt that Klenke's route is the easiest on the ground. But if the gate is locked then you'd likely have to bike it and it would be 20+ miles. This is a private road and a sign warns that it may be gated at any time, however, there were no No Trespassing signs so it seems to be permissable but subject to the whims of the gatekeepers. Even if the gate is not locked, you take the risk of getting locked in which could be a big problem. The equestrian route we bypassed might be more pleasant and while it is at least as long with more gain than our path, it would probably be faster if you were able to efficiently connect those trails to Ben Howard Road. As far as our route, it worked for us and there was no particular significant obstacle that would really stop a person who wanted to go this way. But it would be better in April or March I think with more snow. Although, you'd certainly have to be careful on the last slope for the avalanche potental. In summer, I sure wouldn't want to go our way. You'd be veggie belaying yourself up some steep slopes at the end. In spring or perhaps winter, I think it would work but not later than we did it as the snow is not going to be there much longer. I certainly wouldn't describe it as an ideal route and the brush kind of sucked. But in the end it worked for us and could work for you if you don't want to risk the Airplane Lake gate or bike it." --Eric Noel, May 12, 2007
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3184 ft / 969 m
    Extra Gain:400 ft / 121 m
    Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Trailhead:2000 ft / 609 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ice Axe, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Partly Cloudy

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