Chalk Mountain P500 CC / NN

Tue, Sep 14, 2010
Story Photos / Slideshow Map
later climbed Sat, Sep 12, 2015

Chalk Mtn is a CC-listed peak in the Santa Cruz Mtns, on the southwest border of Big Basin Redwoods State Park. There is a fine SummitPost page put up by Karl Fieberling that was quite helpful in reviewing the various routes. With a Friday off work, Steve was game to join me for a visit to the peak, though we did not meet with success. We got a somewhat late start, found the route longer than expected and didn't reach the peak before our turnaround time to meet a commitment I had back in San Jose.

I came back four days later by myself to climb the mountain from the easier approach via Whitehouse Rd. The dirt and gravel road is unmarked at its junction with Highway 1. I had to stop and ask a highway patrolman sitting in his cruiser for directions. Fortunately he was familiar with the area and I was less than a quarter mile from the junction. The road is in somewhat poor condition, washboarded and slow for most of the 2.5mi to the TH. At that point a sign indicates the road beyond is closed to the public. There is a wide parking area on the west side of the road, the TH on the other side.

The Whitehouse Ridge Trail is steep, switchbacking up through redwood forest in about 1.5 miles to Chalk Rd. Along the way there are junctions for two Vista Points overlooking the Pacific coast in the vicinity of Ano Nuevo. Conditions were quite foggy when I started hiking and all the way to the west summit a short distance east along the dirt fireroad (Chalk Rd). There is a small tower with two building found in the wide clearing, along with a benchmark labeled "CHALK". I could not see the higher east summit at that point, but simply continued east along Chalk Rd for another mile until I reached it via a short side road off the main fireroad. There I found the tower and building Steve and I had seen the previous week. There is an old outhouse located east of the tower with a fine view to Pine Mtn and Big Basin. There seems to be some confusion surrounding the name. It is given as "Chalk Mtn" on the maps, but Google has the fireroad labeled as "Chaulk Rd" and the building had the label, "Chalks Mtn."

At the far west end of the east summit there is a picnic table with a good view to the west summit and down to Ano Nuevo. I sat there for a short while, marveling that I could not only hear the sound of the surf, but of the sea lions barking down at the beach, some three miles away. The fog had begun to clear on the hike between the west and east summits, offering a blue sky and pretty views by the time I'd reached the picnic table. Well worth the effort.

With a bit of jogging it took about 40 minutes to return to the TH via the same route. I had enough time left to enjoy lunch in Santa Cruz at a falafel place along SR1. Mmm... Fun morning!

Sean Casserly comments on 12/26/14:
Hi Bob, I'm a big fan of your work. The route on the map you have linked is incorrect. The starting point is actually a half mile west of your indicated parking location. This had me heading up some sketchy trails on what seemed to be private property and I ended up bear crawling underneath thick Manzanita for about a mile. I suggest we call this route the Bear Crawl Variation.
You're quite right - I found an online source with the correct location and updated the map. Sorry about leading you astray! You've now joined the list of those who've been "Bobbed" - a badge to wear with honor. :-)
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More of Bob's Trip Reports

For more information see these SummitPost pages: Chalk Mountain

This page last updated: Fri Sep 11 12:24:01 2015
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