Hot Springs Peak P2K
Amedee Mountains HP P500
The Citadel P900 PD
Clarks Peak P750

Nov 9, 2018
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 3 Profiles: 1 2 3


Hot Springs / Amadee Mtns HP

Day 2 of a NE CA roadtrip had me focused on a couple of closely-spaced range highpoints. Hot Springs Peak is the highest summit in the Skedaddle Mtns while the adjacent Amadee Mountains have no officially named highpoint. Back in 2007, Evan Rasmussen had noted that Spencer Basin is located between the two ranges with a rough road shown on the topo map reaching high into the basin. I thought this would prove the easiest way to tag both and it probably is, but not without some difficulties. The trouble is that the road is terribly rough for the last three miles or so, mostly where it crosses the dry streambed half a dozen times. Evan had used a mountain bike to cover this part and reported it practically impossible to ride. It turns out it's pretty tough even for a jeep. I did the first mile of this awful section and then gave up and parked. It would add a few miles each way, but I wasn't driving any faster than I could walk and it would save some abuse of the jeep.

These desert ranges are comprised of volcanic rock, much of it loosely and liberally distributed across the landscape. The slopes are then covered in grass with what few trees that had managed to eke out an existence having burned and died some years ago. There's almost no brush either, really just lots of grass, all brown and loaded with seeds and thistles this time of year. Spencer Basin is a wide, shallow valley between the two highpoints, home to herds of wild horses. Others have reported many, many horses on their visits. I found 13 grazing when I arrived, but they soon spotted me and took off for other parts of the range.

Though the loop I hiked had some 3,500ft of elevation gain, none of the hiking was really difficult, though one has to watch the ground closely to see the rocks through the tall grass. After hiking the last two miles of the road to the upper basin, I headed first for Hot Springs Peak, initially out of view. It can be seen once the main crest is reached, taking about 2.5hrs in all to reach the peak. There are two points vying for the highpoint, the northern one proving just higher, but neither spot contained a register, rather surprising for a P2K. Without a tree in sight, the views are quite expansive across the desert landscape. I returned back down to Spencer Basin via a more westerly course, then made my way up to the Amadee Mtns HP, taking a hour and three quarters to get between the two. Barbara & Gordon had left a register here in 2000. Most of the other entries on four additional pages were from the usual suspects, including Evan, Dingus Milktoast and Mark Adrian who have all been working on the CA range highpoints over the years. No surprise to see Chris Kerth's name either, as he seems to have covered a lot of ground in the northern half of the state. It was noon before I got back to the jeep, a little nervous about the drive back out. It was evident that not every vehicle that has driven back here has gotten out on its own power, so I went slow and cautiously until I reached better conditions following that first mile.

The Citadel

With much of the afternoon remaining, I decided to head into the Diamond Mtns, a sub-range of the Sierra Nevada at its far northern end. This unofficially named summit lies atop the Sierra escarpment just west of Honey Lake. The name appears on and in the summit register that is really a geocache, placed in 2010. The paved Janesville Grade Rd (Forest Route 172) going over the Sierra Crest and west down the other side goes within about a mile and a half of the summit. A good sand/dirt road forks off to a saddle on the northeast side, getting one to less than a mile. The hike climbs steeply in places through forest, opening up as one nears the upper mountain. A cool-looking rock outcrop at the summit was inspiration for the Citadel name. There is an easy class 3 staircase on the north side starting at a notch between the two halves of the summit rocks. Even easier access can be had from the south side. The views are open and were quite nice in the late afternoon, particularly of Honey Lake to the east as well as Clarks Peak and Thompson Peak to the north. Western views were mostly washed out by the sun. Definitely a worthwhile summit, this one.

Clarks Peak

Located a few short miles northwest of the Citadel, the paved road passes within 2/3mi on the south side. A good spur dirt road skirting the east side gets one even closer, within half a mile. Despite the short distance, there's more than 1,000ft of gain to reach the summit, making for very steep going. Most of this is fairly open forest understory with some old logging roads to help out, becoming rocky near the summit. Steep, loose class 3 gets one up on the east side, easier going can be had by coming up from the NE side. The summit is mostly open with the remnants of a survey tower intertwined with the remains of a dead juniper at the highest point. There's another geocache placed by the same folks as the Citadel, dubbing this summit the Sentinel - not likely to stick since it already has a name. Good summit, though. The whole outing took less than an hour, getting me back by 4:30p and time to call it a day.


Kristine comments on 11/14/18:
Got you thinking Chris Kerth? He does a lot!! Get his email for me!
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For more information see these SummitPost pages: Hot Springs Peak

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