California TR

    Northern CA Trip Report
    August 2009, Andy Martin

    The main impetus for this expedition was climbing
    Thompson Peak. After that I wanted to hike some
    2000'+ prominence peak in the area. A lot of good info is
    available on these peaks at Summitpost, and from
    Richard Carey. Most of what follows is just
    minor updates, and sight level info.

    Trip summary

PEAK                   PROMINENCE    SA.     HEIGHT    Date   
CA Thompson Peak        3914+40    5080    8994        8-14-2009
CA Russian Peak            2230+40    5960    8190        8-15-2009
CA Indian Creek Baldy     2139+66    4134    6273        8-15-2009
CA Boulder Peak            2899+40    5400    8299         8-16-2009
CA Cottonwood Peak      2088+40    4520    6608        8-16-2009
CA Black Mountain         2428+16    2690    5118         8-17-2009
CA The Whaleback         2488+40    6040    8528         8-17-2009
CA Ash Creek Butte       2258+40    6120    8378         8-17-2009
CA Mount Hoffman         2353+40    5560    7913         8-18-2009
CA Lyons Peak               800+80    7080    7880         8-18-2009
CA Antelope Mountain    1917+20    5760    7677         8-19-2009
CA Keddie Peak             2139+80    5360    7499         8-19-2009
CA NE of Kettle Rock     2320+80    5520    7840         8-19-2009
CA Kettle Rock                 80+80    7720    7800         8-19-2009
CA Bald Eagle Mountain 2703+40    4480    7183         8-20-2009
CA East of Adams Peak  2160+80    6000    8160         8-20-2009
CA Adams Peak                37+40    8160    8197         8-20-2009
NV SW of Peavine Peak   2186+40    6080    8266         8-21-2009
NV Peavine Peak                40+80    8200    8240         8-21-2009

Thompson Peak
    Dennis Poulin did this as a day hike:

    7200' gain in a day is a bit much for me (way much, in fact),
    so I headed in about noon, and backpacked at Grizzly Meadows.
    The next day I summited and hiked out.

    A couple things to watch for:

    1) The 7.5' topo shows the trail head 1/4 mile SE of the word
    "China" in China Creek. This trail is abandoned, and
    passes through a badly burnt area. The real trail head
    is found off a new road, shown on the 1:100,000
    map. This new road tees off to the south at saddle
    4160+80, about one road mile before the abandoned trail.
    By mistake I hiked the abandoned trail, and had to
    bypass a few fallen trees. This will be a lot
    worse in the coming years, as more trees topple.

    2) As you approach the rugged summit from the west,
    Dennis writes:  "I had to down climb about 20 ft before going
    back up to the summit. There is a nice scramble to get on top
    of the highest rock."

    I'd call this route a stiff Class 3, and found the down climb
    (and return up climb) to be worse than the "scramble" up
    the highest summit outcrop. This down climb would give my
    wife fits - or perhaps stop her cold. It is possible that
    a long descent to the south - and then climb back up -
    would let you bypass the 20 foot down climb.

Russian Peak
    The "Russian TH" shown on:
    is moved north about 0.1 miles, and 300 feet uphill.
    There is a big parking area here, handy for bush camping.

    An unmapped abandoned road/trail contours nicely to the west,
    and intersects the Bingham Lake trail at perhaps 7600'.

    As Dennis mentions in his TR, the ridge east of Bingham Lake
    is a rock climbers paradise. Hikers will want to descend to the lake
    and follow Dennis's route.

    Dennis describes the Bingham Lake to Russian Peak bushwack as:
    "The slope is steep and there was little brush and the footing was OK"

    In spots you will find brush abundant, and footing sketchy,
    but the "steep" part is dead on.

    The tip top rock is a sharp, lightning blasted fang that took
    a little Class 3 work to get my hand on top of, and head above.

    I suppose to demonstrate command of a summit you should
    stand erect on the highest point, and then hop a foot
    into the air. In that case I fell a long way short
    of this ideal - in fact did not ever entertain the
    notion of touching the apex with my boot.

    The highest rock is on the right below:

Indian Creek Baldy

    The McAdam Creek Road was partly paved - a nice surprise.
    The road up Deadwood Creek was followed to the saddle
    SE of Deadwood Baldy, and then it is easy to drive
    to Baldy Gap. There is plenty of parking space here,
    and bushwacking up the ridge is easy. On the descent
    you can slide off slightly to the west, and pick
    up an old skid road. Best if you get a GPS way point
    in this road first though.

Boulder Peak   

    Dennis has posted a Summitpost route from the
    north with 4500' of gain. I tried an easier
    route in from Big Meadows, and hit pay dirt.

    However, the drive in was more exciting than
    anticipated. Trouble started here:,-122.99619&z=15&t=M
    The road north across Sniktaw Creek was ATV/4wd
    class, while my vehicle was humble auto class.

    This forced me to head SW on a well traveled
    dirt road - FR 43N21 per Acme. Eventually I reached a
    connector road at this point:,-123.01370&z=15&t=M
    This steep road, with two open gates, took me
    to the promised land of FR 43N23.

    I got to here OK:,-123.02499&z=15&t=M
    but then had to take the SW fork. Most of this old
    logging road is easily passable,
    but a few culverts are starting to wash
    out. High clearance and 4wd vehicles are keeping the
    crossings open, but they are not auto-friendly, nor
    big sized vehicle friendly.

    I barely managed to get to here, and bush camp:,-123.04902&z=15&t=M
    There is a nicer camp upslope from here that 4wds
    can easily reach.

    I have a hunch the Forest Service has dropped maintenance
    on the "SW fork" side road (starts at 4900'). This means
    you might want to do this hike sooner, rather than
    later. It also means you can't blame me if you find the
    road washed out, and have to hike from 4900'.

    The hike from the 6200' bush camp is almost all on trail.
    A short bushwack uphill gets you to the "d" in "Meadows". Head a short
    distance NE across the drainage, then take the mapped
    trail upslope to the "Springs" and then the saddle south
    of Upper Wright Lake. At the saddle an unmapped (but
    very handy) trail contours nicely over to the foot
    of Boulder Peak, and then climbs nearly to the
    top. When it crests out, simply bushwack a short
    distance north to the peak, skipping the false
    summit en route.

Cottonwood Peak

    This under appreciated peak is not much more than
    a drive up from exit 790 on I5. You are shooting to
    park at,-122.65012&z=15&t=S
    and experienced mountain road drivers will not have
    much trouble getting there in high clearance or 4wd.

    Unexperienced drivers will not like the narrow
    dirt road, which often slopes slightly towards the
    drop off side. Auto drivers will not like having to
    stop and toss off the occasional big rock. The last
    mile is not much fun for autos either, as tall grass
    in the road center can hide oil pan shredding rocks.

    Assuming you make the drive, the hike is only
    a couple hundred meters gain. Head NE to a saddle,
    the south to the summit, keeping on the east
    side of the main ridge. If you find yourself
    wading through dense brush, or scampering up cliffs,
    you are off route. However, in the last 50-100
    feet you will have to bush/rock hop up to the top.

    Views are blocked to the NE by trees, but to the
    west you can spot the Klamath River almost a mile
    below you. Mighty Shasta dominates the horizon 40
    miles to the SE.

Black Mountain

    Richard Carey's write up was very helpful on
    this peak. I found a passable bush camp by
    the Klamathon Spring, though somewhat trashy
    and I5 noisy. The quad correctly shows no
    houses along Robin Street, and this big
    dirt road is starting to wash out badly in spots.

    The next morning I started hiking before
    sunrise to beat the heat. In spots the route
    up was steep, brushy, and covered with grapefruit
    sized rocks. However conditions were usually
    not too bad. The register mentioned a flagged
    and cairned trail, and on the way down I was
    able to follow it a bit.

    Unfortunately, on reaching the north
    base of the peak, Robin Street had vanished.
    A GPS way point placed at my car would really
    help here. In fact, a simple GPS unit would be
    useful - mine was safely in the glove box.

    I guessed Robin Street was off to the
    west, and found it hiding a couple ridges
    off in that direction.

    As a side note, it seems strange for Black
    Mountain to have greater prominence than
    Cottonwood Peak. Cottonwood is 1500 feet higher
    than Black, and only 7 miles distant. However
    the Klamath river splits the two, so Black
    has a parent peak to the east, while Cottonwood
    had one to the north.

The Whaleback

    Scott Armstrong has a good page up at:

    I found no gates, and was able to park a bit closer,
    at the cross in photo:,-122.13426&z=16&t=S   

    On the Satellite picture you can make out a dirt
    lane heading south, then west, around hill
    7981 (see quad for hill).
    Things have changed for the worse since
    the picture was taken - loggers have nuked
    the forest alongside this road, then
    slotted drainage ditches across it, which
    makes it pretty much impassible to 4wd vehicles.
    The logged area is signed "No Woodcutting, Fires
    or Camping". I can assure you that no sane
    person would camp on the moonscape left behind
    by Sierra Pacific Industries.

    In any case, you can walk the road, and then head
    south up The Whaleback.

Ash Creek Butte

    Dennis Poulin has a good report at:

    Following his driving route will take you here:,-122.13426&z=16&t=S
    At this point you turn SE, and the road becomes
    high clearance. On a good day you might be able to flog some
    poor auto from here to the TH.

    Once on the crater rim you will have to
    dodge left and right to find the best footing.
    At this point,-122.05849&z=16&t=T
    you can drop east, down into the crater a bit, and find
    nice ground that leads south for about 0.2 of a mile,
    where you should regain the rim.

CA Mount Hoffman

    This peak is in the middle of no where, but owners
    of the excellent Benchmark Atlas will have no
    trouble seeing the paved roads that extend into
    the area from the west (Macdoel) and east (Tionesta).

    There is a 5+ miles unpaved connecting section
    on route 77, but this goes fine for a slowly driven auto.

    I parked at the locked gate 1 mile south of the top:,-121.55581&z=14&t=S
    and walked the road and then cross country to the seldom
    visited summit. The last 300 feet of gain is rocky
    and brushy. I took a GPS on this peak to be sure of finding my
    car on the return.

CA Lyons Peak

    This peak has a chance of being higher than Hoffman.
    I parked at the locked gate here:,-121.52184&z=15&t=T
    From here it is an easy road walk and bushwack to
    the top.

    Hoffman vs. Lyons info:
    Lyons has a 1930 dated USDA Forest Service Benchmark on top
    with an elevation 7903. This is at the top of a 4' high
    foot outcrop which forms the top of the peak.

    Hoffman has 1920 dated USC&GS Triangulation Station
    mark that is about 2.5 feet under the highest rock top.
    It has no elevation stamped on it, but data sheet says:
       NGVD 29 (07/19/86) 2413.0 (m) 7917.
    The quad gives an elevation of 7913 for this BM.

    Handhold GPS readings came in at 7915 for Hoffman, 7905
    for Lyons, though this does not prove a lot.
    Sight levels were obscured by trees
    to the point where they are inconclusive.

    Bottom line is that it I believe it is highly likely
    that Lyons is about 10 feet lower than Hoffman.
    Then again, Lyons is pretty easy to visit when you
    are in the area ...

CA Antelope Mountain

    Auto compatible drive up, but road is wash boarded
    and slow in spots. Manned lookout at top.

CA Keddie Peak   

    I drove in from the west on this peak, starting
    on the old Haun road. The road is OK, but has
    lots of small rocks, so it took quite some time
    to reach this point:,-120.94831&z=14&t=T
    Both roads leading on to Homer Lake were closed.
    Supposedly a stolen jet ski was operated on this
    lake that is sacred to local Indians, and the
    Forest Service decided that enough was enough.

    In any case, I hiked the south road to the 6800- (80)
    saddle, and then followed an ATV trail south to the
    ridge. From here you bushwack west to the summit,
    skirting brush and cliffs by keeping a bit to
    the north of the ridge crest.

    A 100 yard section of dense brush was tough to
    ascend, on the descent I found a faint use route
    that helped. The register had many entries.

CA NE of Kettle Rock
CA Kettle Rock   

    The roads in to Kettle Rock are not as bumpy
    as the Keddie road. I parked about 1/4 mile
    NW of the abandoned lookout, where loose rocks in the road
    block low clearance vehicles.

    I climbed both the lookout summit and Kettle
    Rock proper. The sight level had Kettle
    rock perhaps 2 feet lower, but this was too
    close for comfort, considering the half
    mile separation.

    The Kettle Rock BM is a Forest Service USDA
    mark, dated 1946 (?), with no elevation given.

    It is perhaps 16 feet below the high point of
    Kettle Rock. The quad gives this BM a 7820'
    elevation. Adding 16 feet gives 7836 feet -
    and we are getting pretty close to the
    lookout summit, which has a teeny 7840'

    Sight level shows the outcrop midway between
    Kettle Rock and the lookout is the lowest
    of the three bumps.

CA Bald Eagle Mountain

    I was able to gingerly work my auto from
    Bucks Lake north to:,-121.19267&z=15&t=T
    where there are some nice bush camps - if you subtract
    the cow shit.

    The next morning I got a bit further north to:,-121.20465&z=15&t=T
    The stream crossing is badly washed out, and small
    4wd, motorcycles, or ATVs are needed to go further.
    I road walked to the top.

    On my drive out I enjoyed the pay showers at:,-121.18692&z=15&t=S
    $2.50 in quarters still ran out too quick -
    should have lathered up quicker.

CA East of Adams Peak
CA Adams Peak   

    Dennis Poulin has a good write up at:

    I was able to get an auto up to a turn around
    spot at 7200, but it is safer to park at Dennis's
    location. The road surface is an eroded granitic sand,
    well beaten down by traffic. There are a few big wash
    outs to dodge, and rocks to avoid on this road.

    An ATV trail can be followed almost all the way
    to saddle 8000+ (40) just SW of BM 8197. From here
    I took a brushy beeline to the top. Easier is head
    east from the saddle, then climb to the high
    saddle between east and west summits. The east
    summit sighted at least 1 foot higher in both
    directions, with a high quality hand level.
    Thus even though the west summit has
    the mapped BM, elevation, map name, and SPS register,
    I believe the east summit should be visited.

NV SW of Peavine Peak
NV Peavine Peak   

    A write up of this drive up is at:

    The SW summit is clearly higher by sight level.
    I put a mini register in a concrete block at the HP.