Ascent of Mount David on 2017-07-15

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Craig Willis
Date:Saturday, July 15, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount David
    Elevation:7420 ft / 2261 m

Ascent Trip Report

The White River Road has been closed at Grasshopper Meadows campground since the fall of 2015 due to road washouts, and the Mount David trail does not appear to have had any serious maintenance for several years. This makes the trip to this summit 2 miles longer each way, and more challenging due to many fallen logs across the lower sections of trail.

Craig and I decided to try a dayhike anyway, and we brought bicycles to travel the closed road, which was a very good idea that saved us a lot of time. The road is marred by deep channels running right down the middle and a few rocky and rough sections, but any mountain bike (or Jeep Wrangler) would have no problem.

The trail, in addition to the many fallen logs, is also a bit overgrown in areas of dense riparian vegetation, especially at the last stream crossing, where the footway is almost entirely hidden by nettles and other weeds.

Our trip was also made more time-consuming by many snowbanks up high. In most years late August is probably a better time to go. We had numerous large expanses of snow to cross, and we had to kick steps across steep sidehill slopes, or scramble up rocky ribs to avoid them. Fortunately, the most treacherous sections of the well-engineered trail switchbacks were snow-free.

When we started hiking we thought we might be the first people up all year, due to the trail conditions. However, at the first snowbank a solitary trail runner passed us, and his footsteps were handy to us for routefinding and posthole minesweeping on the upper mountain. We met him again on the summit, where we together tried to name the innumerable peaks of the stupendous 360 degree mountain panorama.

About a third of the way down we met a solitary woman hiking uphill, with an ice axe (good idea). It was definitely a long day and we were pretty bushed as we neared the footbridge over the White River. The trail annoyingly travels north along the river for a mile or so to the bridge, where you immediately start heading south on the other side. Once we were across the bridge we were very happy for our stashed bikes that allowed for a quick 15-minute coast down to our car.

Overall it was a great hike, and we were happy to add our four trips to the trail to help keep it viable (and see others on it, too.) Not many hiking trails in Washington lead to 7000'+ P2K summits (I believe that only Tiffany and Aix have trails and are both higher and more prominent than David) and it is hoped that it will become more popular despite the current obstacles.

(Distances reported here do not include a 2 mile bike ride each way with a gain/loss of 260 feet. This makes the one way distance 9.25 miles, or 18.5 total).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:5320 ft / 1621 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.5 mi / 23.3 km
    Route:Mt David Tr
    Trailhead:Grasshopper Meadow  2300 ft / 701 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Bicycle, Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:4 Hours 20 Minutes

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