FR9712 Table Mountain Road s(u)


This is a steep relentless climb in the Wenatchee Mountains. It has a view from the top that lasts as long as the traverse over the plateau, and that can be quite a while.

1.(2460ft,mile00.0)START-END SOUTH: jct US97-Liberty Rd
2.(4120ft,mile07.1)jct FR9718-9712
3.(5650ft,mile11.4)jct FR8712-FR35 heading south
4.(6030ft,mile18.2)TOP: point of highest elevation
5.(2160ft,mile33.1)jct with Peavine Canyon Rd, leading to No2 Canyon in Wentatchee on right
6.(1450ft,mile37.9)START-END NORTH: jct Sand Creek Rd - FR7100
7.(760ft,mile45.3)START-END NORTH: Cashmere, bridge over Wenatchee River


Approaches

From West. There are many options for the lowest part of this climb. The option I took was to get away from traffic plagued US97 as early as possible and ride up FR9718 to Liberty. The road is paved until it exits from this small collection of fixed up old houses. A good climbing work out on a good dirt road leads to the junction with FR9712. All other options for the lower part of the climb meet here. From shortly before this spot you can see Mount Rainier as well as the first view of a rocky ridgeline to the east, which I think is Manatash Ridge.

Shortly thereafter the road enters the Table Mountain Burn area. The treetrunks still stand. They are just a lot blacker and deader. The road becomes rockier and starts a traverse to climb the major step onto the table, its top a thick layer of dark volcanic rock. It would be called black instead of dark in most places. But the charred forest is so much blacker in comparison. The panorama of distant Manatash Ridge only gets better. Far below you can make out US97, and its nightmare traffic from a safe distance.

Once on top of this step the road reaches the first of many apparent summit points. This one is the junction with FR35, well signed as leading to Ellensburg. But the road descends ever so slightly leading to a horse camp and a wild mountain meadow, named Haney Meadow, fronted by roadsigns. According to the sign Ellensburg is 34 miles away and Wenatchee only 21. But I think the trip to Ellensburg would still be a lot quicker, considering the road that is ahead.

Meanwhile the burn area has subsided, while the road potentially traverses a wet area with puddles across the entire road. Another point that feels like a potential summit to the first time visitor passes, and now the road clings to the edge of the plateau, delivering grandiose views of the landscape to the north and west, which - surprise - is not an endless forest, but an endless conglomeration of dessert hills and plateaus, with slivers of the town Wenatchee appearing between them.

I may have forgotten a potential summit point or two, but the point that turns out to be the real one, is a small sharp divide, away from the edge, when the dark volcanic pile of Wenatchee Mountain (6742ft) comes in full view for the first time. The top of this mountain has been visible for quite a while before reaching the summit, evoking the sentiment - I hope the road does not go up there, because that would take a very long time. But reaching the summit is the first time the entire mountain becomes visible. Meanwhile the road again goes through the center of the fire area.

From South. (described downwards) The road descends about 500ft, again clinging close to the edge of the plateau, rearranging the same photogenic landscape subjects into a different order. On this side too there are several false summits. But as Wenatchee draws closer, the road becomes better, as evidenced by more cars parked in the woods.

At this point I ran out of time to complete the descent shown in the profile. But the profile goes down all the way the planned route to Cashmere. Attempting to ride this route from the other direction I missed the turnoff at point 5. This is very easy to do since 99 percent of the traffic goes direction Number 2 Canyon.

 

Dayride

COMPLETETLY UNPAVED ROADS:

( < FR9718 - 9712(sh) | Rainy Pass > )
FR9712 Table Mountain Road s(u) x2 : 2.5 miles/500ft up FR97/1115 <> down FR97 <> up FR9718 <> Liberty <> FR9718 - 9712(shp) <> up FR9712 <> FR9712 Table Mountain s(u) <> turnaround point 5.6miles past summit at an unsigned intersection with another dirt road: 57.3miles with 7340ft of climbing in 6:42hrs (VDO MC1.0 m5:13.9.8).



 



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