OverviewTen-Four Mountain is a mid-elevation peak located in Snohomish County, Washington. The peak is seldom summited, due to its lack of height, abundance of brush and tree blowdown sections, and relatively obscure location. However, despite these aspects, the mountain is very important to many peakbaggers.
Ten-Four Mountain is the 65th-most prominent peak in Washington. With an elevation of 4384' but prominence of 2744', the mountain can be considered a "Napoleon" type of peak. This is a peakbagging term referencing a mountain that has low stature but high prominence.
Ten-Four Mountain can be, and has been, summited every season during the year. There are three main routes peakbaggers have used to reach the summit, although other approaches and route variations are possible. Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages, depending upon time of year and conditions. During Winter and Spring months, the East Ridge and North Ridge approaches might be preferred. During Summer and Autumn months, the Airplane Lake route (west approach) might be preferred. Each of these three main approaches are described later on this page.
Driving DirectionsIMPORTANT NOTICE: As of 2017, Longview Fibre Logging Company no longer owns the land located east of the peak. The land and access roads are owned by Weyerhaeuser, which has chosen to lock the Forest Service Road 62 entrance gate at its junction with Highway 2. A permit (and use of a temporary gate key) can be purchased from the logging company. Without that permit, the east and west approaches become similar in distance although with the west approach possibly now having less "red tape" regarding access.
FOR EAST RIDGE AND NORTH RIDGE APPROACHES:
From Gold Bar, Washington:
1) Head east on Highway 2 approximately four miles to Forest Service Road 62.
2) Head south on Forest Service Road 62 (gravel road) for four miles, to the intersection with Forest Service Road 6221.
NOTE: Forest Service Road 6221 is unmarked and gated, but is the first road intersection (to the rightside) that occurs soon AFTER a concrete bridge (crossing Proctor Creek).
3) Park near the gate, but do not block the gate.
FOR APPROACH VIA AIRPLANE LAKE:
From Sultan, Washington:
1) From Highway 2, head south along Mann Road.
2) Mann Road reaches a "T" intersection within 0.8 miles. Turn right (west) onto Ben Howard Road.
3) After 0.8 miles, turn left (SSE) onto 297th Street.
NOTE: There is a gate on this road. If the gate is closed/locked, which it typically is, that would create an estimated 20-mile roundtrip approach. Because of this reason, this is the preferred route for bicycle enthusiasts.
Summit Approaches (Routes)There are three main approaches used by local peakbaggers.
NORTHEAST RIDGE/EAST RIDGE:
This approach using the Northeast Ridge and East Ridge involves the least amount of brush, blowdown, and steep slopes of any approach if done during periods of deep snowpack, such as during early-to-mid Spring, but otherwise would have a lot of brush and blowdown to contend with during snow-free periods. This is the recommended route for Winter/Spring.
ESTIMATED ROUTE MILEAGE:
6 miles each way, of which only 1.5 miles each way is not along logging roads. The off-road sections are all along the Northeast and East Ridgelines.
This is a variation of the Northeast Ridge/East Ridge approach, but with less mileage, more brush, and steeper slopes encountered. This approach is notorious for its talus slopes, slide alder, and Devil's clubs.
ESTIMATED ROUTE MILEAGE:
5 miles each way, of which only 0.75 miles each way is not along logging roads. The off-road sections are all along the North Ridgelines.
WEST APPROACH VIA AIRPLANE LAKE:
When the road is gated (which is often), this route is easily the longest standard approach for Ten-Four Mountain. Most of the approach is via roads, with less brush encountered than the other standard approaches (if during snow-free periods).
ESTIMATED ROUTE MILEAGE:
10 miles each way minimum, of which only 0.25 miles each way is not along roads.
*** Local peakbagger Greg Slayden followed the western approach during September 2012, and provided a detailed trip report (linked here). ***
Red TapeIMPORTANT NOTICE: As of 2017, Longview Fibre Logging Company no longer owns the land located east of the peak. The land and access roads are owned by Weyerhaeuser, which has chosen to lock the Forest Service Road 62 entrance gate at its junction with Highway 2. A permit (and use of a temporary gate key) can be purchased from the logging company. Without that permit, the east and west approaches become similar in distance although with the west approach possibly now having less "red tape" regarding access.
CampingAs approaches involve travel through active logging company lands, no camping is allowed on Ten-Four Mountain.
External LinksDuring Winter and Spring months, it is important to keep track of current snowpack conditions, weather conditions, and avalanche conditions.
The United States Department of Agriculture has a SNOTEL site located only several miles southeast of Ten-Four Mountain. The SNOTEL site is known as "Alpine Meadows", located at 3500' elevation. It tends to be a good indicator of current snow depths and conditions. The SNOTEL site can be found at this link.
The Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center (NWAC) has a website dedicated to monitoring current and forecasted avalanche conditions. The NWAC site for the area containing Ten-Four Mountain can be found at this link.