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Mt. Diablo later climbed Thu, Jun 22, 2006|
I awoke at 4a, and started out from the Mitchell Canyon TH shortly before 6a. Because the park doesn't open before 8a, and because there is no parking for the last mile before the entrance, I had a few extra miles to put in by parking a long ways down the road. There was very little trouble with route-finding. There is a fine map at the TH kiosk that is very helpful. In addition, I carried Matthew Holliman's excellent directions from SummitPost (there is a link at the bottom of this page) which was all I really needed. Though it had rained a good deal the day before, the trails were not overly muddy and little of it stuck to my boots. While the skies had started promising (stars out when I was driving enroute), the top 500ft of the summit was buried in clouds and by the afternoon the sky had become mostly overcast. But the cool weather turned out to be excellent for uphill hiking.
Wildflowers were out, shooting stars, lupine, paintbrush, California poppy, several varieties of daisies, and many others I don't know the names of. The grasses were lush and very green, the oaks had their new leaves, and even the abundant poison oak looked fresh with their new leaves. There was water in all the creeks, but not overflowing - little rain in the last month has brought the flow to tame levels.
I enjoyed the hike up to Eagle Peak and especially along Bald Ridge on my way to Prospectors Gap. In the vicinity of Devils Pulpit I took the use trails directly up the ridge, and climbed most of the very fun class 3 rock as direct as I could along the ridgeline (at least one place was more like class 4, but very decent holds). It was cloudy at the summit so I had no views, though I walked around and read the summit placards and checked out the observation deck atop the summit building. I was the only one at the top at 9a until a ranger drove up in a pickup and left a few minutes later.
I then retraced my steps to Prospectors Gap and continued up to North Peak. I was impressed by the amount of telecomunication gear that is attached to the main tower at the summit, the cables coming down so thick that they had to build special flumes to direct them all into a small building a few hundred feet away. From North Peak I took the ridgeline north towards Mt. Olympia. Though Matthew described this as very loose class 3, I would have called it class 2, loose in only one section, and not too bad (meaning little exposure if one should fall) - I rather enjoyed it a great deal. After reaching Mt. Olympia I headed down the fire road. About a half mile down from the peak I decided to take a cross-country route down the East Ridge. This was not only a shorter route to intersect the Falls Trail, but it was quite fun as well, with abundant wildflowers and grassy slopes. Once down on the Falls Trail, I followed that in combination with a few other trails back to the trailhead at Mitchell Canyon, returning just after 12p. I saw a total of 10 people all day. I would imagine the weekends see considerably more traffic. A very enjoyable outing indeed!
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Eagle Peak - Devils Pulpit - Mt. Diablo
This page last updated: Tue Apr 15 13:39:38 2008
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