Archer Mountain 11-24-18

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bobcat
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Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by bobcat » November 26th, 2018, 9:12 pm

Archer Mountain is the westernmost of a quartet of similarly formed basalt prominences on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge, the others being Hamilton Mountain, Table Mountain, and Greenleaf Peak. All are the result of layers of Columbia River Basalts backflowing up creek valleys as the main flows sizzled down the valley of the big river. Softer strata between them, once ridges separating drainages, are now highly eroded drainages themselves.

The goal for the outing was modest: simply to head over to Arrow Point and the summit of Archer Mountain and return, keeping strictly legal on national forest land and not infiltrating the closed Columbia Falls Natural Area Preserve, which, by the way, protects two state threatened plants, four sensitive plant species, the Larch Mountain salamander, and nine endemic plant species. Beginning at the trailhead at the end of Smith-Cripe Road, I first did the figure of eight around the environs of the old commune and then headed down to Archer Creek. The footbridge is slick when wet and a “Friend of Archer” has told me they will reroute the trail and build a new bridge a little farther upstream.

View to St. Cloud Point, High Valley.jpg
Old wall, High Valley.jpg
Quiver Point on Archer Mountain from High Valley.jpg
Apple tree, High Valley.jpg
Archer Creek at the crossing, Archer Mountain.jpg
Archer Creek bridge, Archer Mountain.jpg

Then I hiked up the slope and began the steep part, where multiple short switchbacks have been shored up since the fire. At the viewpoint with the lone Douglas-fir, there was a great vista into the glaring sun to Multnomah Falls and Larch Mountain. A passing hiker told me that the tree has a yellowjacket nest, so I admired from afar. The rough trail to Quiver Point was all but obliterated by the fire, and a new trail, part of a hand made fire line, forms the western edge of the 2017 burn and takes you straight to Scott Point, from which I could enjoy a vista up High Valley to Archer Falls.

Douglas-fir above Archer Creek, Archer Mountain.jpg
The yellowjacket fir, Archer Mountain.jpg
Descending to Scott Point, Archer Mountain.jpg
Cliffs above High Valley, Archer Mountain.jpg
View to Archer Falls from Scott Point,  Archer Mountain.jpg

I took the trail over the old logging road and across the “plateau” to arrive at the south face of the mountain near Arrow Point. Here I was back in the fire zone, and it was a very sketchy traverse across the face of the ridge where the soft soil has been denuded of vegetation. Arrow Point, too, is a little more risky than before without supple vegetation to cling to. Still, the views were commanding to Horsetail Falls, Oneonta Gorge, Beacon Rock, and Hamilton Mountain.

On the plateau trail, Archer Mountain.jpg
View to Beacon Rock and Bonneville Dam, Arrow Point, Archer Mountain.jpg
Franz Lake and Oneonta Gorge, Arrow Point, Archer Mountain.jpg

Then I scrambled up over a prominence to the top of Archer Mountain, where there are slightly better views now that the summit trees have been scorched. The northern edge of the fire is just below the summit on its back side, where a big Douglas-fir got itself singed almost to its crown. I dropped off the ridge and reconnected with the plateau trail to return down the mountain to the trailhead.

Approaching the summit, Archer Mountain.jpg

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dmthomas49
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by dmthomas49 » November 27th, 2018, 7:36 am

Nice report. We did this early summer. Are there still ribbons on trees at the top to mark the trail? We found difficulty finding the trail at the top.

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bobcat
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by bobcat » November 27th, 2018, 10:15 am

dmthomas49 wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 7:36 am
Are there still ribbons on trees at the top to mark the trail?
Yes. Although with the gathering leaflessness of mid-fall, the tread is easier to follow anyway.

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adamschneider
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by adamschneider » November 27th, 2018, 11:28 am

Where exactly are Quiver & Scott Points?

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bobcat
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by bobcat » November 27th, 2018, 4:42 pm

adamschneider wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 11:28 am
Where exactly are Quiver & Scott Points?
Adam,

I took the map from your May trip there and marked the points:

Archer Mountain Points.png
Archer Mountain Points.png (237.88 KiB) Viewed 364 times

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adamschneider
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by adamschneider » November 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm

bobcat wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 4:42 pm
I took the map from your May trip there and marked the points:
Thanks. Do you know where the names came from?

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bobcat
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by bobcat » November 29th, 2018, 7:20 pm

adamschneider wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm
Do you know where the names came from?
I'm pretty sure these very unofficial names were given by those who've worked the network of trails up there for a long time now. Arrow and Quiver are obvious, of course. The mountain is named after Finch R. Archer who got a homestead claim on the west side of the creek in 1901. I don't know if that's his stone wall at the bottom of the valley or if his claim was lower down the creek. His main claim to fame was as Warden of the federal penitentiary on McNeil island in Puget Sound, where a lot of Great Depression gangsters were sent.

Scott Point . . . Hmmm. Have I run into Scott? One of those "friends" of the mountain methinks . . .

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by Don Nelsen » November 29th, 2018, 7:40 pm

bobcat wrote:
November 29th, 2018, 7:20 pm
adamschneider wrote:
November 27th, 2018, 4:51 pm
Do you know where the names came from?
I'm pretty sure these very unofficial names were given by those who've worked the network of trails up there for a long time now. Arrow and Quiver are obvious, of course. The mountain is named after Finch R. Archer who got a homestead claim on the west side of the creek in 1901. I don't know if that's his stone wall at the bottom of the valley or if his claim was lower down the creek. His main claim to fame was as Warden of the federal penitentiary on McNeil island in Puget Sound, where a lot of Great Depression gangsters were sent.

Scott Point . . . Hmmm. Have I run into Scott? One of those "friends" of the mountain methinks . . .
Yes, I believe Scott is his first name though I don't remember his last name at present. I've met him but it was years ago.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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adamschneider
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by adamschneider » November 30th, 2018, 7:09 pm

Hey Don, don't forget to fix up that SummitPost page!

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Chip Down
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Re: Archer Mountain 11-24-18

Post by Chip Down » November 30th, 2018, 9:49 pm

That mountain confuses me. I've poked around a bit, but never quite sure where I've been. The summit is obvious (although overgrown before the fire), and the utility roads are unmistakable, but in several places I've felt like I was off-route and missing the fun stuff. Anyway, I'll have to check it out again this winter, when snow forces me lower. Should be interesting to see how things look post-burn.

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