Ascent of Blanchard Hill on 2016-11-27

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, November 27, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Blanchard Hill
    Elevation:2300 ft / 701 m

Ascent Trip Report

This hike makes a nice workout when starting at Route 11. The start of the trail is hard to find on the narrow, dangerous, winding road, with no obvious signs. There is no real parking area, either, just parking on the shoulder of the highway, with no passes or fees required.

The Pacific Northwest Trail switchbacks up the very steep slope to the junction with the Samish Bay Trail, signed for Oyster Dome. Trails in the Blanchard Forest are well signed and maintained. Oyster Dome has a trail to the summit, but that is not the high point of the mountain. I stayed on the trail to the junction at Lily Lake, and then struck off-trail into the woods, climbing the south ridge of Blanchard's high knob. The bushwhacking is about as easy as it gets in western Washington, with widely spaced trees and little brush. It was a very rainy day and I did not even get particularly wet.

The summit is a large open rock with a benchmark, but tall trees all around block views. There are a couple of other areas nearby, but the benchmark rock to me definitely seemed highest after I visited a few other rises to the north and northeast.

One could continue bushwhacking north to North Butte and then intersect its trail to make a loop, but I decided not to try that given the white-out clouds and cold drizzle.

Once back at Lily Lake I did decide to return via the Max's Shortcut and Larry Reed trails--this is more of a "long cut" but it did take me past the scenic Samish Overlook, which was just below the clouds and offered nice lowland views. This area of the forest had been clear-cut to help pay for local schools.

Back at Highway 11, I decided to hike down to the nearby ocean on a steep trail that slabbed down 140 feet to the railroad tracks, and after crossing them carefully I dipped my toe in the salt water, a rarity on a mountain hike.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2360 ft / 718 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2360 ft / 719 m
    Round-Trip Distance:9.1 mi / 14.6 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Windy, White-out
Maybe a few snowflakes
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2160 ft / 658 m
    Distance:3.6 mi / 5.8 km
    Route:Samish Bay Tr, S Ridge
    Start Trailhead:SR-11  140 ft / 42 m
    Time:1 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2360 ft / 719 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2160 ft / 659 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Gain on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Route:S Ridge, Max Shortcut
    End Trailhead:SR-11  140 ft / 42 m
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
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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