Ascent of McDonald Mountain on 2013-01-16

Climber: Chad Straub

Others in Party:Automahn(k9)
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:McDonald Mountain
    Elevation:3570 ft / 1088 m

Ascent Trip Report

I Parked at the blue gate at the turn on the far east end of Kent-Kangley Road. The logging road seems to have been converted to trail for just the first half mile before it reverts back to an extensive branched logging road system. The ground was dusted with frosty snow right away.

Shortly after turning left at the first fork I found a dirt bike trail on the right that cut the first and largest switchback on the route. About 1/4 mile later I entered a large opening where the snow had become deep enough to put on snowshoes. The sun had just risen and I could see distant alpenglow on the Olympics, Mount Baker, and Teneriffe Ridge.

There were two sets of snowshoe tracks from a few inches ago, which took a different route on the NE side of the ridge and continued to the main summit and another two sets made since the last dusting which stopped in a second clearing filled with logging debris . From there I bushwhacked up a steep bank to rejoin the road and and took a small detour up the NW peak with just over 200' of prominence on the way to the top.

The main summit provides a view to the West and Southwest. This just barely misses Mount Rainier, but there are several places where it is visible from the road. I did not have time to continue to the other two 200'+ peaks but I have read that the next one in line has much more extensive views.

The trip back uneventful and mostly painless besides a few sunny sections where I carried several pounds of wet, sticky snow with me in each step.This is a great trip for breaking in your snowshoes with it's relatively low grade and killer views.

12 miles round trip
~3500' elevation gain
4 hours up
2 hours down
Sunny skies all day

more pictures at
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3210 ft / 977 m
    Extra Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12 mi / 19.3 km
    Trailhead:Kent-Kangley Rd Blue Gate  960 ft / 292 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Snowshoes
    Weather:Cold, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 
Ascent Part of Trip: McDonald Mountain

Complete Trip Sequence:
1McDonald Mountain NW Peak2013-01-16 
2McDonald Mountain2013-01-163210 ft / 978 m
Total Trip Gain: 3210 ft / 978 m    Total Trip Loss: 3210 ft / 978 m

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