Cold Creek Butte P300
Morgan Mountain P750
Bumpass Mountain
Reading Peak P500
Hot Rock 2x
Peak 7,220ft
Peak 7,340ft P300

Thu, Jul 27, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX Profile

While my wife headed off to Southern California to meet up with high school friends, I headed north to Lassen Volcanic NP for 3 days of peakbagging on my own. Temperatures would be in the low 70s with a good wind picking up in the afternoon, making for comfortable hiking. I hit up a collection of summits in the park and the adjacent national forest, most of them fairly short but steep ascents. No trails found on any of these.

Cold Creek Butte

After leaving San Jose around 6a, I had a four hour drive and planned to do Bumpass Mtn as the first hike of the day. This one popped up on my GPSr as I was driving by and it seemed a short easy one. Plus, Chris Kerth had climbed it, so I couldn't simply ignore it. I parked off SR36 in the shade of a pine and went steeply up the south side of the small peak, about 350ft of gain in 1/4mi. No views from the forested summit, the highpoint one of several stumps in the immediate vicinity.

Morgan Mountain

This was also unplanned, found just outside the southern boundary of the park, sporting nearly 800ft of prominence. I parked off SR89 and followed the North Ridge to the summit, a distance of less than 3/4mi. Most of the mountain had burned over in the 2021 Dixie Fire, one of the largest in the state that year. New seedlings were popping up in the thousands, a welcome sight for regeneration. A yellow fire hose had been stretched the entire length of this ridge, but abandoned as the fire swept over. Many segments of the hose were consumed in the fire, but one can follow the remnants up what might be the easiest line on the ridge. There was other gear abandoned too, included a huge cache of hundreds of plastic water bottles. Many survived the blaze and still hold water. I salvaged a handful of them to take back with me. The forested summit would be devoid of views normally, but with the trees torched, there are partial views in most directions, including a decent one of Brokeoff Mtn and Lassen Peak to the northwest and north. I left a register before heading back down.

Bumpass Mountain

I drove into the park and bought my Senior lifetime pass for federal lands - one of the few perks of getting old. I had planned to take the Bumpass Hell Trail to approach this one from the west, but the trail is closed due to snow. It was closed when I was last here as well some years ago, that time for trail restoration. Instead, I drove further up the road to make a shorter, all cross-country route from the northeast near Lake Helen, a little over half a mile. Some snow and lots of boulders/talus on this one, with some weaving through forest for about half the route. The rocky summit provides fine views in all directions. I could smell the sulphur from Bumpass Hell, but didn't drop down the southwest side of the peak to visit the mud pots there. Bighorn Bill had left a register here in 2015 with about 13 pages of entries (mostly one entry per page). Most of the entries were from 2015-2018, then only one in 2022. I think this has something to do with the trail being closed for the restoration effort.

Reading Peak

This one is found about 2mi ENE of Bumpass Mtn, on the north side of SR89 and southeast of Lassen Peak. It has more than 700ft of prominence. From the highway, I hiked north up to the West Ridge and followed that to the summit. The slopes are a mix of sand, rock and forest, not a particularly pleasant hike, but the open views off either side of the ridge are nice. I thought I'd find a register here, but couldn't locate one, so left one of mine. I included an entry for John Ide, who'd visited it in 2010 (having passed in 2018). My descent route went more directly back to the roadway, down some sand/scree slopes that made things easier, save for several stops to empty debris from my shoes.

Hot Rock

This is a small roadside attraction that I first visited in 2018. It's a large boulder, about 10ft high and 20ft across that had been ejected from Lassen's crater when it erupted early in the last century. It's a class 3 effort to surmount it from the back side.

Peak 7,220ft - Peak 7,340ft

I was pretty knackered before starting this last outing, the longest of the day at nearly 3mi and 1,700ft of gain. It was barely 3:30p so I steeled myself for the slog, a steep climb through forest, the first third through heavy downfall. It improved around the halfway point, but it was a pretty slow effort, taking me over an hour to cover the mile to the first summit, Peak 7,220ft. There are several rocky outcrops vying for the highpoint, but the first I visited towards the west proved to be about 6ft higher than the next contender. There is an impressive view of Chaos Crags to the south, towering more than a thousand feet higher. I planned to visit those tomorrow, but the terrain looks exceedingly steep and difficult - we'll see.

I next turned my attention to Peak 7,340ft, about half a mile to the west. Getting between them was the easiest segment of this hike, but still felt like a slog due to my tiredness. It, too, had a rock outcrop at the top, this time with no contenders. The views were poorer, with more surrounding trees. I descended pretty directly to the northeast to return to the Jeep, about 4/5mi. There was much whacking through downfall that seemed worse than the ascent line. One of the collection of branches I was stepping on sent up a small piece directly into my eyeball, causing me to yell out. This wasn't any sort of freak accident - there were pieces of wood snapping in all directions as I stepped through the dry downfall for such a distance, so it was highly probable something would find find a mark. I was sore, but no real damage. I also took a tumble near the end of the descent that tweaked my bad leg, resulting in more cursing, but after finishing up, it didn't seem any worse for the fall. I finished up shortly before 6p, ready to call it a day.

I would end up driving out the north end of the park and finding a Forest Road that would take me most of the way up Table Mtn. I didn't have the energy for the half mile hike to the summit, but it made for a nice, quiet campsite where I showered and settled in for the night. I would make Table my first stop in the morning...


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