Ascent of Purcell Mountain on 2013-07-20
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
|Date:||Saturday, July 20, 2013|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Car|
| Elevation:||5442 ft / 1658 m|
Ascent Trip ReportDon't bushwhack up the east slopes or the north ridge. The going is pretty nasty--steep slopes of dirt, little cliff bands, slippery heather, and areas of closely spaced trees. The north ridge leading to the summit is Class 4 in places and you have to fight through trees. The rock is pretty friable, too.
The summit has excellent views of Rainier, Adams, Hood, St. Helens, the Goat Rocks, High Rock, and the entire surrounding area. Old lookout site.
The best option is to drive FR-102 as far as you can, before the triangular switchback. After that, the road is pretty overgrown and occasionally blocked by alder or rockslides as it goes along the west slopes of Purcell, but near its end it is a relatively easy 400' gain to the old trail, most of it over open country near a ravine the way I went. You pick up the trail in a scenic meadow and it leads N to the summit, but the trail might be hard to follow once in the woods. This was my descent route.
The other option is to find the lower end of the old trail off of Road 63 down lower. I did not go that way, but it reportedly has a stream crossing and over 2500' of gain. And based on the condition of the trail up high, it is likely hard to follow for at least part of its length. But I'll bet it is still better than the north ridge.
|Summary Total Data|
| Total Elevation Gain:||1212 ft / 368 m|
| Total Elevation Loss:||1212 ft / 369 m|
| Round-Trip Distance:||4 mi / 6.4 km|
| Grade/Class:||Low Class 4|
| Quality:||5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)|
| Route Conditions:||Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble|
| Weather:||Hot, Breezy, Clear|
| Gain on way in:||1012 ft / 308 m|
| Distance:||0.8 mi / 1.3 km|
| Route:||North Ridge|
| Start Trailhead:||4430 ft / 1350 m|
| Time:||1 Hours |
| Loss on way out:||1212 ft / 369 m|
| Loss Breakdown:||Net: 1012 ft / 308 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m|
| Gain on way out:||200 ft / 60 m|
| Distance:||3.2 mi / 5.2 km|
| Route:||SW Slopes/Trail|
| End Trailhead:||4430 ft / 1350 m|
| Time:||1 Hours 30 Minutes|
|GPS Data for Ascent/Trip|
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Peaks: climbed and unclimbed by Greg Slayden
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