Las Trampas Peak
Eagle Peak
Vail Peak

Fri, Feb 8, 2013

With: Steve Sywyk

Etymology
Eagle Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile

Steve and I drove out to Las Trampas Regional Park in the East Bay for a short outing to a couple of peaks there. None of the peaks we visited are on any peak lists, nor do any have even 500ft of prominence. They are merely named summits in the park that I did not visit during my first trip here when I was climbing the highpoint of the park, Rocky Ridge (a P1K), the previous year. It was as good a reason as any to pay a return visit. It was expected to be easy and it was, barely making 5 miles. I didn't mind because the forecast was for 50% chance of rain and I didn't really want to be out hiking some distance from the car if the rain started. I'm pretty much a wuss that way. Turns out we got zero rain (nice!) though it was heavily overcast and fairly cold. We wore fleeces or jackets for the whole time. Our only real problem was the main trail we hiked from the trailhead, really a ranch road running up to the saddle between Bolinger and Las Trampas Canyons, where the road was just wet enough to create that perfect mix of awful mud that sticks to your boots. We walked where we could on the grass to the side of the road but eventually just gave up and hiked up the cow-terraced hillside as a shortcut to get us to Las Trampas Ridge. Being somewhat sandier, the ridge road and trails do not have the same problem with mud, much to our relief.

Las Trampas Peak is located at the far northwest end of the ridge and it took us about 45 minutes to reach it. There was a geocache at the summit, but the plastic lid has partly disintegrated due to UV exposure and the contents were wet. There is a large oak near the summit that provides shade on warm days and a bit of a wind break on chillier ones like today. The views take in Las Trampas Canyon to the west and northwest, the city of Walnut Creek to the north, Mt. Diablo to the east and Rocky Ridge to the south. All was green with clouds and mists covering the higher elevations. We stayed probably 15 minutes at the top before starting back. To the southeast were the two small humps of Eagle Peak and Vail Peak to which we headed next. Near where we first reached Las Trampas Ridge is a junction with a single track trail that follows along the north and northeast side of the main ridge, going past Vail Peak which was not easy to locate without a coordinate. We passed it in fact, not realizing this until we had reached another trail junction. We took the Corduroy Trail northeast, a steep, slippery affair dropping down to a saddle before climbing back up to Eagle Peak on more slippery trail.

There is a small bench located at the highpoint of the trail, though not the highpoint of Eagle Peak. Some rocky outcrops we had passed appear to be favorites of the turkey vultures, but they too were not the highpoint. We pushed our way through an overgrown use trail along the ridge in search of the highpoint, going maybe 100ft out until we were sure the ridge drops off. Using the GPS to check the altitude, we concluded that the highpoint was very near to the wooden bench (with a nice view) along the trail. Seems we weren't the only ones who had gone off in search of something more. We scrambled around on the class 3 rocky pinnacles before taking the trail back to the junction with the Las Trampas Ridge Trail.

By this time I had dialed in where Vail Peak was, and within a minute of reaching the junction with Las Trampas Ridge we had found a use trail leading to the top. A second geocache was found here. This one was at least dry. We perused the contents but didn't bother to sign in or trade trinkets. Back on the Las Trampas Ridge Trail, we continued southeast for another half mile to the junction with the Chamise Trail. We followed the latter back to the staging area and trailhead at the bottom of Bolinger Canyon. All told, we were out less than three hours at a pretty leisurely pace. We were the only ones on Las Trampas Ridge though there were a few others on the main ranch road along the creek. The weather was the obvious deterrent to visitors today, but we were happy to get away without needing the rain jackets or umbrella we'd brought.


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