Ascent of Strawberry Mountain on 2019-09-06

Climber: Jeremy Fuerst

Date:Friday, September 6, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Strawberry Mountain
    Elevation:9040 ft / 2755 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was part of a trip involving one county high point in Southeast Washington, as well as Morrow, Umatilla, Grant, Wheeler, and Crook in Oregon.

I got a late start on this one since I came from Baker City -- and I'd stopped to tour the Kam Wah Chung Museum in John Day (HIGHLY recommended) besides. Also I spent a good chunk of time looking for the Honey Mushroom, which I never found, but which I am told is more likely to make an appearance a bit deeper into autumn.

Of this particular trip, I would have to say that Strawberry Mountain was easily my favorite for its beauty and isolation.

Other reports indicating googlemaps cannot be relied upon are true; however, there is liberal signage on the road directing to Strawberry Prairie. A burn area begins just after Indian Springs. This road is passable to all vehicles. I passed two pickups loaded up with bowhunters on the way up and we exchanged waves. On the trail itself, though, I saw no one except for the black bear who trundled off down into the valley once it saw/smelled me.

I did not bother with the scramble route as I did not bring a helmet, I was solo, and I was racing daylight. It is not really necessary and I am not convinced it would save you much time besides that. The trail is evident all the way to the north side where a couple different options present themselves switching back the last couple vertical hundred feet to the summit.

From the summit I saw the haze of the forest fire to the east, but it had died down considerably over the previous couple days due to recent heavy rains. I also heard -- and eventually visually spotted -- a helicopter circling between myself and Indian Spring Butte. After it vanished behind Indian Spring Butte, it buzzed just underneath the Strawberry Mountain summit heading NNW.

After that small bit of excitement, I walked the ridgeline and found neither a benchmark nor the register, but only a cairn. I returned down the trail and arrived back at my vehicle right at sunset.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear

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