Black Mountain P900
Geyser Peak P750 CC
Mahnke Peak P500 CC
Pine Mountain P500
Bummer Peak

Mon, Oct 28, 2013
Black Mountain
Geyser Peak
Mahnke Peak
Pine Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPXs: 1 2 3 Profiles: 1 2 3 4

On the heels of the previous week's enjoyable outing to the Cache Creek area, I decided to make another foray into Wine Country to tag some more summits. Like the previous trip, I came armed with beta on CC-listed peaks as well as those with 900ft+ of prominence. This time I would explore areas further west, some in the Mayacmas Mountains and others between US101 and the coast. For the first day, I would explore an area known as The Geysers in the southern part of the Mayacmas. The name is a misnomer as there are no actual geysers, just superheated steam. While it doesn't provide the excitement of Old Faithful, the steam is ideal for power generation and much of the area has been developed by the Calpine corporation for geothermal energy. The plants can be seen from many vantage points with their steam rising from buildings at a number of locations across the landscape.

I had driven north from San Jose the previous evening and spent the night parked at an overlook off Geysers Rd above Alexander Valley and Healdsburg. Sometime after midnight I was awaken by a couple of gentlemen asking for directions. According to their story, they were lost, low on gas and wanted to get back to civilization. I asked if they had driven up or down the road, to which they had replied "Up." I informed them that civilization was below, back the way they'd come, and pointed to the city lights that could be seen below. After thanking me, they got back in their car and continued driving up the road which I had already told them went nowhere but back to US101 many miles later. I went back to sleep thinking they were a couple of clueless caballeros, but in retrospect I don't think they were lost at all. I think they were trying to take an opportune moment to ransack an (apparently) stranded car, or perhaps shake down its owner for some cash. Of course I presented the look of a homeless guy living out of his van, so perhaps they didn't feel I was worth the bother.

Black Mountain / Geyser Peak

I have been asked by the property owner to remove descriptions of these two summits. Please do not trespass on these properties without permission. Please see the email text below.

Mahnke Peak

Back at Geysers Rd, I drove north through Mercuryville and past the turnoffs for the power plants, driving out to the north end of Alexander Valley where I reached the junction with Pine Mountain Rd. I drove almost 12 miles to the end of Pine Mtn Rd which dead ends atop the crest of the Mayacmas in the southeast corner of Mendocino County. There are a number of residents living on the edge of the grid back here, some better off financially than others. Mahnke Peak lies about three miles southeast of the end of the road. It can be reached by gated dirt roads reaching to the summit. Exactly who owns what land back here is hard to determine, but it appears to be nearly forgotten by the rest of civilization. The land appears to be used primarily by hunters, though there seems to be far more target practice than actual hunting taking place, judging by the selection of casings found all over the place. This is about as redneck as one can find in California. Clear Lake can be seen well to the north along with the distinctive Mt. Konocti. I took about an hour to reach the summit. The top is crowned by an old wooden shack, with the scattered remains of old technology inside and out, for what probably used to house the controls and batteries for a communications tower. The summit offers fine views in all directions. To the east is Mt. Hannah, and along the crest to the southeast is the highpoint of the range, Cobb Mtn. Behind it in the distance can be seen Mt. St. Helena. To the south and west stretch out the western flanks of the Mayacmas, reaching across Sonoma and Mendocino Counties.

Pine Mountain

The namesake for the road upon which I drove caught my attention on the drive back. The ownership of the mountain and the access to it is uncertain at best. I found a gate at an old road, but the surrounding fence was dilapidated and partially missing. There were no signs indicating private property or no trespassing. I followed this road, paved with fallen oak leaves, up to a repeater tower shown on the 7.5' topo, then further up on dirt roads not depicted on the maps. Immediately to the west is a a collection of vineyards under cultivation and it appears my route was just ouside the boundary. Portions of the land I traveled over appear to be in the process of grooming (which amounts to bulldozing the chaparral and laying a carpet of hay) for the expansion of the vineyard, but again, no signs or fences were crossed all the way to the summit of Pine Mtn. The top, crowned by a few pines and a stately manzanita, overlooks the vineyards and a home for the owner/caretaker. In other directions, the Mayacmas roll on for many miles without signs of civilization. In all I spent just over an hour to reach the summit and return.

Bummer Peak

This small summit overlooks Lake Sonoma, about six miles south of Cloverdale on US101. I had come to the lake to climb Pritchett Peaks whose highpoint is a P1K. Access turned out to be problematic. The shortest route from the north via Kelly Rd is extremely brushy and the road is private to boot. I intended to approach from the longer, but non-brushy route from the south in the vicinity of the dam, but all access to the dam is restricted post-9/11. I would need to do more research before attempting this one. As a consolation, I paid a visit to Bummer Peak which can be reached via a network of publicly accessible trails. On the north side of the historic bridge that crosses the lake, I parked at the No Name TH and spent about an hour plying the trails to the peak and back in about an hour around sunset. It was a lovely time to be out and about, with scenic vistas of the lake and surrounding hills. The summit itself offers no views thanks to the trees that partially cover it. That made little difference really, as the views from the trails more than compensate for the poor summit vistas.


Matt Remmel comments on 02/13/18:
Hi Mr. Burd,

I'm reaching out to you regarding your post about Geyser Peak. The peak and property that lead up to it are owned by my family. We have our family home on this property and run a family business from the peak.

We have had an influx of people trespassing up to the peak over the last few years, nearly all of them saying they were referred by your post on this website.

I'm not one to discourage hiking on beautiful public land, but Geyser Peak holds our family home and our family owned small business.

The peak has video surveillance, and our clients are unhappy with the amount of trespassing near the communication equipment on the peak due to liability and vandalism concerns. This trespassing is now endangering our client relationships and our family business.

Additionally, we have a problem with armed marijuana growers on the property. When we are out hiking with our kids, it is very uncomfortable seeing unknown trespassers on our property and a major safety concern trying to determine their purpose.

I ask that you please delete your pages on Geyser Peak and Black Mountain as these are both family owned property that support our small business. Deleting this page is vital to protecting both.

Let me know if you have any questions, and I greatly appreciate your understanding and support!

-Matt Remmel
comments on 02/14/18:
Very nice respectful request!! Thank you for wording this in a way to help us peak baggers understand your position -- though, we are really glad Bob climbed the peaks because we are hopeful one person will be able to accomplish the goal of climbing more than anyone ever has before. Again, very nice note. Best of luck to the Remmel family in the future and thank you for your understanding up to this point of how important peak climbing is to many people. We will put the word out to avoid your property from here on out and respectfully request if access changes in the future, please let us know as we love climbing all peaks...... Sincerely....the peak climbing community
Reddirtroad comments on 02/05/20:
I think you planted that hat on the gate on Pine Mountain Road. That area is where many of my friends and I grew up, we know everyone who lives on Pine Mountain and Green Roads, and nobody who lives out there would express such hate.
anonymous comments on 02/05/20:
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