Ascent of Cougar Mountain-Belleuve High Point on 2020-04-26

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, April 26, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Start at Home
Peak:Cougar Mountain-Belleuve High Point
    Elevation:1444 ft / 440 m

Ascent Trip Report

I cycled from my home to the Radio Summit area of Cougar Mountain--a long and hilly ride up through the maze of residential neighborhoods south of I-90. The final push up Cougar Mountain Drive from Lakemont Road is very steep and sustained, a good workout.

Approaching the summit area, there is a fancy new gate across a road leading uphill to the right, which goes to the new "Peak" subdivision, so I kept going and took the next right, signed for "17617" and "Private Road". This short road led uphill very steeply to a maintenance yard of some kind, near the various radio towers. It was deserted on this Sunday afternoon during virus lockdown, despite all the trucks and gear around. There is a great view down to Lake Sammamish from this spot.

I locked my bike to an old fence and did a short hike (.25 mile or so each way) though a grassy area, going south and then east around a fence enclosing water towers. This led to a dirt road, and taking it east a short way led downhill to a junction, where staying straight goes uphill to a fenced old fire lookout tower. The Bellevue high point is on the north side of the lookout tower fence, in a grove of dense hemlocks. There are "private property" signs here if you go north, into the "Peak" subdivision and its cleared vacant lots. The area is a confusing mix of radio towers, fences, dirt roads, and gates, so navigation can be tricky despite the short distances.

Not a very inspiring place, and the Bellevue high point may change if the city annexes more land in this area, including the maintenance yard. So before leaving the area I tagged the "Radio Peak" summit in the yard, right up against a fence. Coming here during off hours is likely best for hassle-free ascents.

The bike ride downhill from this point was, to me, worth the energy of the uphill grind. I was able to cruise down Cougar Mountain Drive, SE 63rd, Forest Drive, and Coal Creek Parkway all the way to I-405, 1400 feet of downhill fun averaging over 20 mph with just a couple of minor uphills. My time back home was about half my time to the peak.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2209 ft / 672 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2209 ft / 672 m
    Round-Trip Distance:31.6 mi / 50.9 km
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1689 ft / 514 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1279 ft / 390 m; Extra: 410 ft / 124m
    Loss on way in:410 ft / 124 m
    Distance:16.9 mi / 27.3 km
    Route:CKC, 164th
    Start Trailhead:Kirkland  165 ft / 50 m
    Time:2 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1799 ft / 548 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1279 ft / 390 m; Extra: 520 ft / 158m
    Gain on way out:520 ft / 158 m
    Distance:14.7 mi / 23.6 km
    Route:Forest Dr, Lk Wa Blvd
    End Trailhead:Kirkland  165 ft / 50 m
    Time:1 Hours 8 Minutes

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