Ascent of Buck Peak on 2015-04-29

Climber: Lane Johnson

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, April 29, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Buck Peak
    Elevation:4751 ft / 1448 m

Ascent Trip Report

The trailhead begins at the south end of Lost Lake, which is reached by a paved road from the tiny community of Dee, about 12 miles south of Hood River, Oregon. At the Lost Lake Resort you get a parking permit ($8 per day), then drive to the southernmost parking area near a group picnic site. (Don't park at one of the camp sites unless you want to pay the $32 per day camping fee.) From the parking lot, hike down to the lakeshore trail and turn left at the Huckleberry Mountain Trail sign. From there it's a short hike to the actual trailhead, which is next to a dirt road. The trail curves around the lake in a steep climb, then switches back to the south and west. At about 2.5 miles into your hike you come to the Pacific Crest Trail at about 4,000 feet. Follow the PCT about 3.5 miles, and where it goes down to the left in the general direction of Blue Lake, look for a smaller trail to the right, which follows the ridge up to the summit of Buck Peak. There is no sign at this junction to help you, so watch your GPS.
I was less than a mile up the Huckleberry Mtn. trail when I encountered patches of snow. These were more frequent as I ascended, and the temperature (43 deg. at the parking lot) got colder. Soon there was more snow, and in the many stretches where the trail was cut into steep slopes it was all drifted in. A couple of other hikers had gone over the trail perhaps a few days earlier, and when I walked in their steps I was generally okay, otherwise I would cave in up to my knees. All told, nearly half the hike was over this kind of snow--very fatiguing. There are supposed to be spectacular views of Mt. Hood and the lakes nearby, but I was fogged in the whole way and saw nothing but trees, brush, and snow; and on the ridges a cold breeze kept me putting on my Gorgonz earmuffs and zipping up my jacket. But who's complaining! It was a nice hike anyway. The summit consists of an opening on the ridge with a nice rock to sit on.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2990 ft / 911 m
    Extra Gain:726 ft / 221 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.6 mi / 20.3 km
    Route:Huckleberry Mtn. Trail to PCT
    Trailhead:Lost Lake  3213 ft / 979 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Drizzle, Cold, Breezy, Low Clouds
Cold and foggy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Time:3 Hours 

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