Ascent of Gearhart Mountain on 2009-08-22

Climber: Edward Earl

Date:Saturday, August 22, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Gearhart Mountain
    Elevation:8370 ft / 2551 m

Ascent Trip Report

On OR-140 at virtual mile 66.6, at Quartz Mtn Summit, which is about 28 miles W of Lakeview, I turned N on FR-3660, which is paved. A sign identifies this as the way to the Gearhart Wilderness. After 14 miles, the road merges into FR-34 at a stop sign, where I made a very sharp R turn. Just 0.2 mile later, I turned L onto a well-graded gravel road, following a sign to the Gearhart Trail. The road is suitable for any street legal vehicle, except for a dip about 1 mile up this road where a vehicle without high clearance may ground out. After 1.5 miles on the gravel road, it ends at the Gearhart trailhead, where I parked.

The well maintained, easy to follow trail takes off to the L and soon gains the crest of a ridge, heading NW. After about 15 minutes hiking time, the trail threads its way through a garden of rock pillars called the "Palisade Rocks". The 24K topo shows that just past the Palisade rocks, the trail splits and later rejoins, but I found no junction. The trail switchbacks down into the forest and after this point, the trail's actual ground path differs somewhat from the trace on the map. However, the ground path matches the map trace in the most important respect: it makes a long ascending traverse on the SW side of the SE ridge of Gearhart Mtn. After about 4 miles, the trail goes through the 7900'+ saddle about 1¼ miles SE of the summit of Gearhart. At this point I left the trail and climbed first through the forest, then up some class 2 rocks to gain the SW flank of Point 8165. The remainder of the route up the ridge to the summit is straightforward, except along the sharp, rocky ridge ¼ mile NW of point 8165. The crest of the ridge has some rock pinnacles that would be difficult to scale, so it is better to traverse along the base of the rocks on the SW side. Once clear of the final pinnacle, it is a simple matter to regain the crest and stay on it the rest of the way to the summit.

I departed the area to the W on FR-34. For a person approaching the area from that direction, the driving route would be as follows. On OR-140 at virtual mile 55.2, which is 1.6 miles E of the Chevron station in Bly, turn N on Campbell Rd. After 0.5 mile, turn E on FR-34 following a sign to the Gearhart Wilderness. After 14.5 miles, go L at a fork (the R branch is FR-3660, the route from the E). From here follow the instructions for the E approach starting just after the sharp right turn.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2570 ft / 782 m
    Extra Gain:200 ft / 60 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route:Gearhart Trail
    Trailhead:Gearhart TH  6200 ft / 1889 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 

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