Eagle Dell Peak
Van Allen Ridge

Thu, Dec 21, 2017
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPXs: 1 2

With both kids otherwise occupied for the day, I decided to drive into the Santa Cruz Mtns for some sketchy peakbagging. Probably half the summits in Santa Cruz County qualify as "sketchy" due to the preponderance of private property and folks who live on the edge of the grid here. Neither summit was particularly hard, the most difficult part was driving on poorly maintained roads and navigational challenges. Lompico is one of those heavily forested communities in the Santa Cruz Mtns that aren't very inviting to visitors. Besides crappy roads, the area gets little sunlight in winter and seems to be perpetually dark and damp. The roads are often confusingly signed (probably intentionally) for No Trespassing even though they are public routes. Other roads are signed as Private, but who knows if these are accurate or again, done to discourage outsiders.

Eagle Dell Peak

This one seems to have public access, of sorts. The summit is located on the edge of the Lock Lomond Recreational Area which is open to the public between March and October. Visiting after this time may actually be easier since it isn't necessary to go past the entrance in order to reach it and there will certainly be less traffic. The road near the gated entrance is signed for No Parking, but there is parking on the side of the road just down the hill. One simply walks up to the entrance sign and follows the NE Ridge up to the summit. There are game/use trails that make most of this fairly tame, though the ridge is steep and there is a good deal of downfall covering the forest floor. At the top there is some annoying brush that is quite thick. I walked around the north and west sides to access the point indicated as the highpoint, but the top is quite rounded and an exact spot impossible to locate. There is a very large redwood near the summit that was left undisturbed when the surrounding area was logged 100yrs ago. Not sure why it wasn't harvested, but it's nice to see an old-growth in this out-of-the-way place. There are no views whatsoever from the summit or anywhere along the route.

Van Allen Ridge

It was necessary to drive west-to-east across Lompico in order to access Van Allen Ridge. On peakbagger.com, Dean warned that one needs to approach from the south via Lake Blvd, but I opted to ignore this and tried to follow the more direct route offered up by Google Maps. The problem, I came to find, is that a portion of Upper Volver Ave is no longer driveable, at least by ordinary vehicles and requires one to ignore the most emphatic of signage and then drive across someone's driveway. I chose to park before this section and walk the road, but it still seemed sketchy. Further, Google Maps doesn't accurately represent the roads near the summit (the topo map is much better, but roads are unlabeled, of course). The Whileaway Ave/Madrone Ave junction doesn't exist where shown on Google Maps, but is properly depicted on OpenStreetMap. I followed unsigned Whileway Ave up towards the highpoint, but not to the end where several residences are located. I went up to the highpoint from the north through the forest understory, finding a pair of water tanks on top. The HP is located somewhere on the eastern periphery fence. No views here either, and a rather non-impressive summit. I was happy to get back without having to explain to anyone what I was doing there. It wouldn't have been an easy sell...

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