Kluntuchi Butte
Peak 6,055ft P300
Peak 6,572ft P300
Rainbow Mountain P900
Dry Creek Peak P500
Horse Peak P900

Jun 3, 2021
Horse Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile


For the second day of a short two-day trip in Northern California, I was focused on two P900s in the Shasta-Trinity NF east of Mt. Shasta. They are located in an area comprised of a patchwork of public and private forest lands, the latter owned by Sierra Pacific Industries, the largest private landholder in the state. On my way from Harris Mtn where I'd camped, I got distracted by some easy bonus peaks that waylaid me an hour or so in the early morning. It would warm quickly and be 84F by the time I called it quits in the early afternoon.

Kluntuchi Butte

Driving west on Forest Route 13, I noticed Kluntuchi Butte on the south side of the road and thought I'd pay it a visit since my GPSr showed a spur road going close to the summit. It worked out better than that, as I was able to drive all the way to its 5,230-foot summit right after sunrise. There are good views to the east (except at sunrise), and partial views elsewhere, including one of Mt. Shasta to the west.

Peak 6,055ft

I continued back on Forest Route 13 heading west, drove through the primitive Trout Creek Campground and then higher on FR42N09 heading west. Peak 6,055ft is found less than half a mile from the road where a spur road is gated. The spur leads higher around the south side of the mountain which I followed on foot, ascending the last bit of summit from the east side, a bit brushy. The top is completely forested without views. I found an old logging road descending the west side that was shorter and easier than my ascent route, no brush. 20min roundtrip.

Peak 6,572ft

Further up FR42N09, Peak 6,572ft is found southwest of the junction with FR41N08Y. No old logging road found on this, but the cross-country is mostly clear understory (no brush or logs, just lots of branches), albeit steep. There is a large pile of boulders comprising the summit, though not high enough to get good views. Less than 20min for the roundtrip effort.

Rainbow Mtn - Dry Creek Peak

Just north of the junction I had parked at, I was greeted by a locked gate with 2.5mi to go to Rainbow Mtn. The road continues another mile and a quarter, but I would have to do that on foot. Though both summits are in public forest, the gate is at the boundary of a section of private forest that I would have to travel through to reach them along a high ridgeline. Dry Creek Peak is a bonus peak with 500ft of prominence that I hadn't considered until I was starting the hike. The hike along the road had views but was otherwise so-so. Where the road turns west to go below an intermediate point on the ridge, I left the road to climb steeply up the south side through open forest understory to reach Pt. 7,275ft. I then turned northeast to follow the ridge to Rainbow Mtn, favoring one side or the other to find the least brush. It was a pretty decent ridgeline hike, with views of both Rainbow in front of me, Dry Creek and Mt. Shasta behind me. I reached the open summit on a rocky outcrop not long before 8:30a, surveying the miles of forest in all directions. There was a benchmark and a register left by Bighorn Bill in 2006. The only other visitors were three solo hunters in the past 15yrs.

Dry Creek Peak was now 1.3mi to the southwest. I would have to reverse my route to Pt. 7,275ft, then continue on the ridge to the second peak. This was a mostly pleasant affair, again with good views and little brush. There is a craggy section of ridgeline northeast of Dry Creek Peak that I bypassed on the south side with some loose traversing across steep slopes, though nothing dangerous. It took a bit under an hour to make my way from one summit to the other. The summit of Dry Creek was rounded and mostly forested with fewer views. A set of nested tins were lying on their side outside the small summit cairn. This was probably another Bighorn Bill register from the same time, but it appears to have disappeared, probably due to weathering. Some loose pages from 2016 were found protected in a plastic bag, left by another party. To these I added one of my registers before heading back down.

I made a descending traverse from the summit, finding a pair of small, unnamed lakes 400ft below the summit to the east, then more traversing to the east to find my way back to the road I had started out on. It was 10:20a by the time I returned to the Jeep, and already quite warm. I had hopes for a longer day, but I could see that the temperatures were going to drive me to an early dismissal.

Horse Peak

I drove back out through the Trout Creek CG, then northeast on Forest Route 6. The forest road turns north and begins to climb up to Stephens Pass, passing Horse Peak along the way. I stopped where the road gets within half a mile of the summit on the southwest side. The entire summit appears to have burned in a fire several decades ago. The lower half was salvage logged sometime after that, leaving a jumble of slash and brushy regrowth, but nothing too difficult to negotiate. The upper half was another story, with thick brush and no obvious breaks anywhere to make for easier passage. I steeled myself for a bit of suffering on this one, heading out into the heat on foot shortly before 11a.

As expected, the first quarter mile to the summit was straightforward, using a variety of old logging roads that had been created for the salvage operation. The upper half had no such salvage clearing, likely due to the fewer trees found there, making for some very difficult brush. While it took only 15min to climb the bottom half, the upper half would take me three times that, giving my pants and body a thrashing. Did I mention it was hot? It was noon when I got to the summit, or at least where the benchmark was found with a small cairn, no register. The actual highpoint was about a hundred feet to the northwest, so I visited that briefly before returning to the benchmark where an abundance of boulders gave me partial views and a place to rest. Not finding the expected Bighorn Bill register, I left one of my own while I drank the rest of my Gatorade and prepared for the descent. The return went faster, thanks to gravity. I felt like a bear crashing down through the brush to make a "bear run", though I wasn't doing any running. It was getting close to 1p by the time I got back to the Jeep. I was more than a little dehydrated by this point and ready to call it quits. I showered, changed into some fresh clothes, and slowly worked through all the cold drinks in my cooler as I began the long drive back to San Jose. I think I'll need to move to higher elevations for my next outing...

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