Ascent of Pearsoll Peak on 2010-05-30

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Sunday, May 30, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Pearsoll Peak
    Elevation:5080 ft / 1548 m

Ascent Trip Report

Pearsoll Pk lies very close to the border between Josephine and Curry counties. Its highest ground is about 200' W of the LO. A reasonable interpretation of the USGS topo map is that the summit is strictly in Curry county, and Josephine county does not lay claim to the prominence of Pearsoll Pk, so that the most prominent point in Josephine county is nearby Eight Dollar Mtn. Though I would accept Eight Dollar Mtn as the sole possibility for the most prominent point in Josephine county, the most hard-core purist might insist that Pearsoll Pk must also be climbed.

From US-199 at the blinker at the center of Selma, which is about 20 miles S of Grants Pass (I'm talking about the blinker by the post office and gas station; do not confuse this with another one about 0.6 mile S at the turnoff to Lake Selmac), I headed W on Illinois River Rd. Call this point mile 0.0. At 1.4 miles the centerline ends. At 4.2 miles I passed Kerby Flat TH as the road went through a slot behind a rock outcrop. At 6.3 miles the pavement ends, then it resumes at 6.6 miles. At 6.9 miles is Horn Bend TH and a fork. The R branch is gravel and is FR 4105. The L branch, which I took, is paved but narrows to 1 lane. At 9.3 miles I passed Store Gulch CG. At 10.9 miles the pavement ends at a junction where I turned L. At 11.2 miles is a junction where I went L; the right branch is barricaded, because it goes down to the Illinois River and crosses it on a bridge which has been condemned and the Forest Service is seeking a contractor to rebuild it. At 11.3 miles, the road ends at a large parking area with a TH. The parking area overlooks the Illinois River, and you can see both the closed vehicle bridge (which is little more than a few wooden planks that are barely above the water, and it looks like it could be swept away at any time) and the more impressive suspension footbridge which is rigged between two rock outcrops on opposite sides of the river. There is also a view of McCaleb Ranch, which is now a Boy Scout camp.

I hiked ~200 feet down to the river and across the bridge I turned R at a trail junction, crossed Rancherie Creek on another footbridge, and immediately turned L up a gravel road past a gate. There are occasional junctions, but I always followed the main road. After 2600' gain, I reached Chetco Pass, where I turned R and headed N up the S ridge of Pearsoll. Here I got some views of Kalmiopsis, an indigenous shrub that grows nowhere else. Its flowers, which had not yet opened, are a very light pink with fringes of bright red. At 4200', the road gained a ridge which provided the first view of Pearsoll Pk and its ground-level LO. The road climbed up the crest of the ridge to 4500', then lost about 50' elevation to the final saddle before a L traverse up the S face of the summit massif. At ~4600', the road ends and a trail continues, gaining the SW ridge at about 4700'. There were occasional patches of snow here.

The summit area of Pearsoll is a short, broad, E-W ridge with a rock outcrop at each end. A ground-level LO occupies the E end. I sighted between the two outcrops in both directions. From the E end, the W end appears above the horizon; from the W end, the E end appears below the horizon; from a point midway in between, the E end appears below and the W end appear above. I am sure that the W end is higher.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4280 ft / 1303 m
    Extra Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Trailhead:Illinois River  1200 ft / 365 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 

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