Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

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VanMarmot
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Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by VanMarmot » August 6th, 2011, 7:25 am

Yesterday was my first hike of Yocum Ridge. Retired Jerry has spoken highly of this hike and, now having done it, I can see why. It’s a longer hike (17 mi) but the trails are so gentle (and the view at the end so magnificent) that this distance hardly seems to matter. I started at the Ramona Falls TH under cloudy skies,

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then followed the path (Tr 770), previously trod by thousands, over the Sandy River bridge (well, one of them at least),

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then the PCT across the “Stimulus Bridge” (still under construction),

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then Tr 797 past Ramona Falls (which I had to myself at this early hour on a weekday),

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then Tr 600 (toward Muddy Fork) past a few late blooming flowers,

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to the Yocum Ridge trail (771).

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The gentle grade of this trail, and its good condition (only a few old blow downs to clamber over or around), made it a real pleasure to hike. Of course, by this time, the clouds had burned off and it had become the most bluebird of bluebird days, while only made the hiking experience that much better.

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At about 5100’, the trail hooks around a little unnamed tarn lake set on a bench in the ridge. This was the only time on the entire hike where I encountered any flying insects and then not very many.

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The trail up to this point runs entirely within the forest, with no particularly good views. Just past the lake, I got a “teaser” view of the Muddy Fork drainage, with Rainier and Adams in the distance.

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At about 5700’, as the trail begins a long gentle climb to the SE, it starts getting obscured by remnant snow chutes. There’s no significant snow on the trail up to this point.

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Here it seemed easier to just head directly upslope following the snow chutes. Soon I reached the ridge crest to find a small patch of pasque flowers (which are supposed to bloom in early spring!),

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and a nearly overwhelming view of Mt. Hood.

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The trail – much diminished but still visible – officially ends just below 6200’ but I really wanted to reach the ridge top at around 6400’. So after some snow climbing (arrows),

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and a traverse of a ledge system,

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I got head-walled by a snow pile that my common sense detector (yes, it had finally gone off) said was probably not a good idea to try climbing solo without an ice axe. It’ll probably be 1-2 weeks before enough snow melts off to allow snow-free access to the upper ridge.

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I thought about going down and trying to circle farther left but, as it was already past lunch, I contented myself with a lunch perch on the ridge that provided views to the E, including Reid Glacier and Illumination Rock,

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Mt. Jefferson,

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a large waterfall on the upper Sandy River,

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and the Sandy River itself, with a cloud covered Portland in the distance.

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I was tempted to just sit on the ridge enjoying the sun and the views indefinitely, but appropriate adult beverages were waiting at home, so I reluctantly started back. I passed only about a dozen people the whole day – and only 1 of those on Tr 771 – which might be a record low for the Ramona Falls TH. Just before crossing the Sandy, I got a last view of Hood and could see where I’d been perched on Yocum Ridge (arrow).

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In my opinion, this is one of the great hikes in the Portland area. I was lucky to be able to do it on a weekday when there were fewer people filling the TH parking and the trail to the Falls. Will definitely have to do this again once there’s snow-free access to the upper ridge. 17 mi RT, 3700’ gain.

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Last edited by VanMarmot on August 7th, 2011, 6:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Splintercat
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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by Splintercat » August 6th, 2011, 9:25 am

Excellent report, Van! Your mileage sounds less that what I thought I'd seen in various guides (18.5 miles, I believe). Either way, the difference between you and me is that this would be an overnight backpack for me, even with the well-graded trail. I start to fade rapidly after 12+ miles these days, so I'd probably end up lying at the base of Ramona Falls eating bugs (and slugs) and waiting for the SARS helicopter to carry me the final stretch to the car... :lol:

-Tom :)

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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by bobcat » August 6th, 2011, 9:49 am

I'd agree Yocum is sort of the holy grail of day hikes on Mt. Hood (It was really even before the Ramona road closure). Last time I did this (two years ago in September), I calculated 19.1 miles and about 4,000' elevation, but that was going as high on the ridge as I dared to get close-ups of the Reid Glacier and then completing the Ramona Falls loop on the way back.

I'd highly recommend this as a two-night pack when there's fine weather: just to spend a whole day scrambling about the high slopes (but be careful of rockfall: Yocum Ridge is rotten to the core) and generally vegetating. You can camp on the bench on the north side of the ridge and there's access to water from melting snow even late in the season. There are often buck deer in velvet up here once the snow clears: they're also vegetating and lolling about, and they don't get many visitors.

John

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retired jerry
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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by retired jerry » August 6th, 2011, 4:40 pm

Isn't that a great hike?

Here's Aug 4, 2010:
085mod.jpg
The red line shows a way up.

I've tried the way you went, but then walking along the ridge is so difficult.

The red line on my picture isn't so good either, because it's so steep, and then you slide over a cliff.

Easier way is to follow valley to left, and then climb up to ridge. If you slide, the slope just gradually flattens out, no cliff to fall over:
087mod.jpg
And also, if you explore around on that area further to the left, it's an amazing alpine area. Maybe next time I'll camp up there.

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by Eric Peterson » August 6th, 2011, 6:15 pm

Cool trip. :)

Also looks like you can climb right up Hood from there too...

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Chase
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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by Chase » August 6th, 2011, 6:48 pm

Eric Peterson wrote:Cool trip. :)

Also looks like you can climb right up Hood from there too...
And every couple of years someone manages to make that climb successfully...

dayhiker
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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by dayhiker » August 6th, 2011, 8:21 pm

Nice post I have never done it with that much snow.

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Crusak
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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by Crusak » August 6th, 2011, 9:43 pm

Looks like a great place to hike! I've never hiked that area. It's at the top of my 'Mt Hood' list now. ;)

Thanks for sharing.
Jim's Hikes

Solvitur Ambulando

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VanMarmot
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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by VanMarmot » August 7th, 2011, 7:14 am

bobcat wrote:I'd agree Yocum is sort of the holy grail of day hikes on Mt. Hood (It was really even before the Ramona road closure). Last time I did this (two years ago in September), I calculated 19.1 miles and about 4,000' elevation, but that was going as high on the ridge as I dared to get close-ups of the Reid Glacier and then completing the Ramona Falls loop on the way back.

I'd highly recommend this as a two-night pack when there's fine weather: just to spend a whole day scrambling about the high slopes (but be careful of rockfall: Yocum Ridge is rotten to the core) and generally vegetating. You can camp on the bench on the north side of the ridge and there's access to water from melting snow even late in the season. There are often buck deer in velvet up here once the snow clears: they're also vegetating and lolling about, and they don't get many visitors.

John
My GPS said 17.2 mi but then I didn't following the trail exactly and was able to take some short-cuts on snow going both up and down. There were two tents in a tree-protected campsite right at the end of the trail - with a complete view of Adams and Rainier. One of the nicest camp spots I've seen lately. Being able to spend 2 nights there would be something special.

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Re: Yocum Ridge (to 6400') 05-Aug-2011

Post by Peder » August 20th, 2011, 1:05 pm

VanMarmot wrote:then the PCT across the “Stimulus Bridge” (still under construction),

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At least the bridge is progressing! This is how it looked in October last year:
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Oct. 13. 2010
If it takes almost one year to build a small bridge, how long will it take to build the new Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Bridge? :o

PS: My GPS measured 18.5 miles to 6,800'
Some people are really fit at eighty; thankfully I still have many years to get into shape…

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