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Ascent of Sturgeon Rock on 2019-03-30

Climber: Jeremy Fuerst

Date:Saturday, March 30, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sturgeon Rock
    Location:USA-Washington
    Elevation:4120 ft / 1255 m

Ascent Trip Report

The road to Indian Rock is still impassable for all but the most intrepid of drivers and high-clearance of 4wd vehicles as early as Satus Pass, so Jeremy Benezra and I formed a backup plan.

I must admit I was only half-committal to this trip as I was not convinced we would make it far enough up the road to consider it worth attempting. So we lollygagged on the drive over and got a late afternoon start, finishing well after dark.

Having said that...it was great, and I cannot recommend a winter ascent highly enough.

Note that FR 4109 is in quite deeply rutted, and only high-clearance 4wd vehicles should even attempt it. We were in a high-clearance SUV and only made it about 1 mile up, leaving 1.5 miles to walk from vehicle to trailhead. Some teenagers had made it 1/4-mile farther up the road than us in a midsize SUV on a regular chassis, and we could not figure out how they pulled it off. If you park at the bottom of this road it will add 5 miles RT.

We had snowshoes on us but did not use them, finding it more efficient to kick in steps where necessary and plunge-step on descents.

The route is pretty apparent, including on the ridgeline. We did miss the trail junction in the saddle between Silver Star and Sturgeon but managed to connect back up with the route easily enough. Attempts on our part to beeline up to the basalt cliffs to shorten the route were misled. You are better off sticking to the standard route (though it is not necessary to take the longer route to the base of Sturgeon Ridge).

We found no benchmarks nor summit registers at the the top. We hit the full summit and were sure to scramble around the outcrops on the county line to be sure we hit the Clark County high point.

Descent was quick and easy as we had pizza calling our name.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Loss:2657 ft / 809 m
    Round-Trip Distance:17.6 mi / 28.3 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Mud/Swamp, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Headlamp, Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Distance:8.8 mi / 14.2 km
    Start Trailhead:4120 ft / 1255 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2657 ft / 809 m
    Distance:8.8 mi / 14.2 km
    End Trailhead:1463 ft / 445 m



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