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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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:
This steep road, with two open gates, took me
to the promised land of FR 43N23.
I got to here OK:
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:
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.
This under appreciated peak is not much more than
a drive up from exit 790 on I5. You are shooting to
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.
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.
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:
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:
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
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:
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:
From here it is an easy road walk and bushwack to
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:
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
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:
where there are some nice bush camps - if you subtract
the cow shit.
The next morning I got a bit further north to:
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:
$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.