Ascent Trip ReportUseful Info:
Take the Sultan Basin Road, and just past Olney Pass take the left fork downhill to a parking area near Culmback Dam. Then hike the road across the dam and up the other side for about 1.2 miles total. Where the road turns to go downhill (1630 T on the map), find an obscure path that bypasses a "tank trap" of jumbled debris that blocks the start of an overgrown road. Follow this brushy road, detouring into the semi-open forest when necessary, using the footway and tape markers. After 0.75 mile you emerge into a recent clear-cut, where a good gravel road leads uphill 1.25 miles through the devastation to the summit area. To avoid steep bushwhacking and mini-cliffs, it is best to go past the summit (on your right) on the road and cut back on the ridge to a small cairn in the dense woods.
The road was gated at the Olney Pass Junction "because of Covid-19" (?), so I had an extra 3.3 miles of walking and 530 feet of gain/loss. I did have this hike to myself, at least, except for a couple of families near the start.
The overgrown road is definitely reverting to nature, but once I got used to locating the faint footway it wasn't too bad, and it gets better the higher up one goes. Down low a few detours into the nearby forest were helpful. When I saw light through the trees ahead I though I was on a ridge, but it was the new clear-cut ahead.
I decided to descend from the little summit cairn by heading east, but it led to very steep bushwhacking, so it's best to approach and leave from the west. I also went over the old lookout site, using logging road spurs and scrambling over giant blocking berms on logging debris. I saw one metal sheet around a tower support, and some small clearings in the woods, but not much else. There was a trail remnant leading east from the lookout site that took me steeply down to a spur road in the clear cut.
While approaching the forest from the clear-cut on the way back, you can tell where the old road is among the wall of trees by the presence of evergreen branches on the two trees at the overgrown road entrance--quite striking.
If you can drive to the dam, this is a OK outing--the clear-cut provides good views. A mountain bike is a good idea while the road is still gated near Olney Pass.