Ascent of Tower Mountain on 2006-09-26

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Mike M.
Date:Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Tower Mountain
    Elevation:2228 ft / 679 m

Ascent Trip Report

Tower Mountain is the second highest peak in Ontario, located 500 miles west of the provincial highpoint at Ishpatina Ridge (and lying only 46 feet lower). It is easily accessible from the Grand Marais/Eagle Mountain area of northern Minnesota, and it makes for a nice half-day Canadian county highpoint adventure to a fairly significant peak. Ontario has a nice set of 49 counties and equivalents, and the Thunder Bay District is one of these.

From Grand Portage, Minnesota, take Route 61 north for 5 miles to the Canadian border, cross into Canada, and a mile past the border turn left on Route 593, a paved wilderness road that winds for 30 miles (48 km) before ending at Route 588. Turn left, and head west (passing the one-building town of Suomi) for 11.7 miles (19 km) to a junction with an unsigned dirt road heading right (north) into the woods. This junction is at WGS84 -90.129970, 48.224350.

The dirt road is a bit rough, climbing short, steep, bouldery hills in a couple places, but my guess is that most passenger cars will make it with just a few undercarriage scrapes. The road is not on any maps I know of. You want to follow it north for 7.7 miles (12.35 km) from Route 588, through massive clear-cuts. The open terrain gives you a good view of Tower Mountain as you approach—it looks impressive, a large prominent ridge with steep cliffs guarding its southwest slopes. The road goes almost to its base and turns right, and the best place to park is at about WGS84 -90.08512, 48.30457, just before the road starts a steep, rocky descent.

From here, bushwhack north-northwest up the slope—if you go too far west, you will encounter brushy cliffs, so it is best to stay right when in doubt. After a short, steep stretch you will gain the flatter terrain at the top of the ridge, where you head west-northwest towards the summit. There is no sign of the trail shown on the topo map (or any trail at all), but the bushwhacking is not too bad. A GPS is useful—the summit is at WGS84 -90.09444, 48.30801.

The summit is a very broad flat area, and it is marked by clearings with lots of debris from an old tower. You can see the tower footings, the wreckage of the wooden observation box, old cables, and electrical junk lying around. A rise to the north of the tower area may be the actual highpoint, but it's hard to tell. There are no views, but if you bushwhack to the west for a tenth of a mile you will come to the top of the cliffs, where a nice vista of clear-cut forests extends for miles.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:505 ft / 153 m
    Extra Gain:98 ft / 29 m
    Trailhead:Logging Road  1919 ft / 584 m
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Calm, Overcast
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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