The Washington county highpoints (COHPs) were first identified by Andy Martin in 1994. Soon thereafter, Washington peakbagger extraordinaire John Roper completed the list. For 10 years nobody followed in Roper's footsteps, but in 2004 Bob Bolton was the second person to complete the list, followed two days later by then county highpoint king Bob Packard. One year later Martin Shetter notched the fourth completion of this list. Paul Klenke achieved the fifth completion of the Washington COHPs on Mount Rainier on July 27th, 2008. One week later Duane Gilliland also finished this list on Mount Daniel. Edward Earl completed the list on November 15th, 2008 completion in Wahkiakum County. Then on July 30, 2010, Andy Boos completed the list on Lewis County's Big Horn, and on August 24, 2010, Paul Michelson also completed the state on Big Horn. Craig Willis became the 10th Washington COHP completer on Mount Baker on June 20th, 2012. Adam Helman was the 11th to finish Washington. He finished on Mt. Adams (a good peak name for him to finish on!) in Yakima County on August 17, 2012. Incidentally, by climbing Mt. Adams, he not only finished Washington but all of the Western Contiguous United States at the same time. Just four days later on August 21, 2012, Greg Schmidt became the 12th person to finish the state by summiting Gold Mountain in Kitsap County.
Washington is deemed by the county highpointing community to be the most difficult of the 48 states to complete, from a climbing perspective. (Several other states have even bigger problems, such as swamps and private property issues.)
Here is evidence of the climbing difficulty of Washington's counties relative to other states.
Of the 20 so-called "Apex" counties, those in the 49 states (excluding Alaska) that are deemed to be the most technically challenging, 7 are in Washington. They are:
Thirteen of the county highpoints in Washington, exactly one third of them, involve access considerations. However, most of them are fairly minor issues and are included moreso to give full knowledge of what is going on rather than because these are major obstacles. As always, please respect landowner rights and ask permission. In many cases a landowner has and will continue to grant permission if approached in a considerate and friendly manner. Bear in mind that how you deal with access issues can impact not only how your trip goes but also the conditions that future highpointers face. More detailed information may be found among the trip reports at cohp.org. Below are all potential property issues as of June 2006:
Highpoints affected by private property issues
Karakul Hills Adams County- Privately held ranch/farm land. The landowner has given permission at least once in the past. Trip report
Beezley Hills Grant County - Rural farm land. Trip report
Lilienthal Mtn Lincoln County- A benchmark is close to the summit.
There are several intervening fences en route depending on approach. The Northern access is signed no trespassing.
Rattlesnake Hills Benton County -Communication towers on highpoint.
This is surrounded by either rural ranch, farm land or off limits Hanford Reservation land (no access from the north). There used to be an approach from the south via Prosser but that is no longer available. The only access is from the west as described in this trip report. Study the route and then topozone and chart your way to the highpoint.
Badger Mtn Douglas County - At least some of the access roads to
this area are signed as private.
The first of the two highpoint candidates is right next to a dirt road. The second highpoint candidate lies inside a smaller fenced property with a barn which seems to have been abandoned in recent years. Realistically there should not be any problems on this highpoint unless conditions change.
Franklin COHP - This is active farmland. The farmer has previously given permission at least during certain seasons for which there is no ongoing farmwork that precludes the convenience of a visit. Trip report A recent trip to the highpoint (March 9th, 07) found the road to the highpoint blocked by huge piles of tumbleweeds in several places although the road everywhere else was in good condition. You may need to park and walk if you are unable to forge your way through the tumbleweed piles. The fields in this section have been unattended for the past year or two. Also, stop at the farmhouse and knock on the door to see if Mr. Ross is around prior to heading out to the highpoint. (Dean Molen)
Island COHP - This area is a mix of suburban housing and forested land. Because there are several contours for this HP it involves multiple people's residential property. Ask nicely and they just might let you hurt yourself on their stinging nettles. During a May 2006 visit all of the homeowners we encountered were friendly and didn't mind us poking around.
Gold Mtn Kitsap County - This area skirts the Bremerton Watershed or City of Bremerton Water Utility District as it is formally known. In recent years hikers have taken the route from Minnard Road generally avoids the watershed and stays primarily on DNR land provided you stay on the road itself. However, the last half mile or so of road does definitely enter the border of the Water Utility District area. Reportedly a recent visitor found signage all along the right side of the road and at the towers but no particular signage to indicate the point at which you enter Watershed land. It should be noted that trespassing on a watershed is taken much more seriously in Washington than is normal trespassing. Watersheds are patrolled and they actually mean it when they say trespassers will be arrested and prosecuted. The summit features communications towers.
Indian Rock Klickitat County - This is rural forested land along the edge of the Yakama Indian Reservation. The reservation does not allow non-tribal members onto their land without permission from a tribal member in general. The 5823 point is just outside of the Yakama Indian Reservation; the 5822 point lies just inside the reservation boundary. The approach road parallels the boundary, weaving barely in or out of the reservation as it traverses the ridge. There should be little chance of a problem here due to the nature of the land but technically you are on private land.
Pacific COHP/Wahkiakum COHP - The land for Pacific COHP belongs to Weyerhaeuser; Wahkiakum COHP is owned by the Cathlumet Timber Co. Neither area is signed. For the most part they don't care if you use their land but they don't want you to get in the way of their logging trucks and neither do you. Go on the weekend if possible. Permission can be granted by Weyerhaeuser at their office in Pe Ell but most people don't bother to seek it. Hunting season is the preferred season for Huckleberry Ridge as this reduces the length of the roadwalk from ~11 miles to ~22 miles due to the opening of a gate for nine days in November for elk huning season. Wear orange, go on a weekend and you'll be fine.
Walla Walla County - This is land belonging to some sort of timber company and has been actively logged in the past. The peak is signed no trespassing shortly before the summit. I'm not aware of anyone permitting or denying access.
Whitman County - Communications towers on the summit. Uncertain who the land belongs to but it does not seem to be any sort of a problem at all at currently.