Likely Mountain P1K
Little Hat Mountain GBP
Home BM P300
Peak 6,642ft P300
Hays Canyon Peak P2K GBP
Divine Peak
Peak 7,686ft P500

Oct 4, 2019
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profiles: 1 2

Likely Mountain

The first day of another NorCal roadtrip started off dismally. I had come up US395 to tag some P1Ks along the highway between Susanville and Alturas. I had camped off the highway near the base of Tule Mtn, my first stop. It was raining lightly as I arrived in the dark and continued on and off through the night. This was the 10% chance of precipitation that had been forecasted for the area. There was nothing heavy so I thought little of it and expected clear skies in the morning. What I found was a little different - the light rain had turned to light snow during the night, leaving a little frosting where I'd parked, but 1-2" of fresh snow higher on Tule when I awoke in the morning. I had no gaiters and no rain pants and thought it would take only a short time for my boots to be soaked along with my pant legs. This wouldn't be very pleasant for a 4mi roundtrip hike. I decided to skip it and do the drive-up to Likely Mtn on the other side of US395 to the west, instead. I followed tracks left by a pair of technician trucks that were about half a mile ahead of me. In the lower part of the mountain there was fresh mud that got thrown up on the sides of the jeep and coated the wheelwells. The upper half of the road was snow covered and less abusive. The clear skies had not materialized, at least over the mountain and I found myself in a thin fog with no views. There was an old fire lookout at the summit, now surrounded with a barbed-wire fence, as well as several large telecom installations. The technicians were busy examining some gear at the base of one of these, hands in pockets and not looking too interested in starting work with the air temperature at 27F. I walked around the summit in the chilly conditions taking a few picture before beating a hasty retreat.

After driving back down the mountain, I decided to seek out some lower summits in a different area that hopefully so less snow. I drove north to Alturas where I got gas and then east on SR299 across the Warner Range. There were several inches of snow in this range, too, so I kept heading east to Cedarville and south to Eagleville, both on the east side of the range. There was a dusting further east in the Hays Canyon Range, but it seemed more manageable and it was here that I spent the rest of the day and had a fine time of it. Sometimes you gotta just expand your options.

Little Hat/Home BM/Peak 6,642ft

Though it has little prominence, Little Hat Mtn is on the Great Basin Peaks list (GBP) which was what drew me to the area. From an excellent dirt/gravel road leading from Eagleville, its about 2.5mi each way to the summit with several thousand feet of gain. I had planned to go to the top and return, and so had brought only 20oz to drink. It turned into something bigger, but because it was fairly cold, the 20oz was more than sufficient for the 9mi hike it became. It took about 2hrs to cover the 2.5mi distance to the summit, climbing 2,500ft in the process, slower than I would have guessed, but I wasn't in much of a hurry. I was happy to take my time and let the sun do its work to melt the snow at the higher elevations. I found myself disappointed with Little Hat's summit, a large flat-topped area with several possible highpoint. I found no register at those places I checked, just a small duck atop the first one. Looking southeast, I spotted the higher Home BM which seemed like a more worthwhile summit, with 450ft of prominence compared to little Hat's 226ft. It was less than 2mi as the crow flies and since I was still carry my full 20oz of Gatorade, I decided to pay Home BM a visit. This was a nice walk across modestly brushy slopes only about 500ft of additional gain. At the saddle between the two peaks I found a game guzzler with a memorial sign that looked to be nearly as costly as the guzzler. Nearing the summit of Home BM, I came across nearly a full skeleton of a bighorn ram, the bones picked clean and scattered some. My dallying paid off as most of the snow had melted before I reached Home BM's summit by 12:45p. There was a benchmark and dilapidated survey tower, but no register about, so I left one of mine. I noted an even higher summit another 2mi to the southeast, but decided I had already pushed my short hike far enough. Another summit, Peak 6,642ft, was in line with my return route, a fairly easy bonus on the way back. It took an hour and a quarter to cover the 2mi distance between it and Home BM, with a drop to a saddle on the east side of Peak 6,642ft before a final 300-foot climb to the summit. From there I descended the SW Ridge of Peak 6,642ft to intersect a spur road at the base of the ridge. Daryn Dodge had used this spur road to get a little closer for his climb of Little Hat, but I would use it to walk back to my car parked where the spur road meets the main gravel road. I was back by 3p, taking a leisurely 5.5hrs for the 9mi hike.

Hays Canyon Peak

This is the highpoint of the range, a P2K, and on the GBP list. It's also a virtual drive-up. Hays Canyon Rd runs east out of Eagleville, an excellent dirt/gravel road that climbs up to a pass in the range at over 7,100ft. Turning south, the road and its various branches get increasingly rough and before I'd reached the top after a longish drive, I was cruising slowly in 4L with the swaybar disconnected. There are some minor installations north of the summit, but just the remnants of the USGS survey tower near the benchmark at the highpoint. Lilley & McLeod had left a register here in 1997 with about 10 pages of entries, not all that many considering its P2K status. There is a nice view of the Warner Range to the west with Surprise Valley far below in the foreground. It had taken about an hour to drive to the top and about 4:15p when I was ready to leave.

Divine Peak

These last two summits were relatively easy bonuses on my way back from Hays Canyon Peak. Divine Peak is also a near drive-up, the jeep getting me to within about 300ft of the top. There is a large wooden cross, maybe 15ft high, at the summit. Perhaps the name has something to do with this or a previous cross at the summit? Otherwise, not much to this peak.

Peak 7,686ft

This was the peak I had noted less than two miles from Home BM. Good thing I didn't try to stretch that other outing further, because I came to find it's only a little over a mile from where Hays Canyon Rd goes over the pass. I parked at the pass and hiked northwest over easy cross-country, modestly carpeted with sagebrush. Junipers are found on the upper part of the peak in good numbers. I found a modest cairn at the summit but no register. It was probably only about 40min until sunset at this time and it was getting quite chilly again, much like it had been in the morning. I beat a hasty retreat back to the jeep so I could shower before the sun had set over the Warner Range to the west. A pretty full day, as it turned out...


S Hanson comments on 10/09/19:
Not too shocked you ran into snow on this trip. Couple of weeks back I was greeted by snow at Diamond Lake and Crater Lake on south central Oregon road trip. Oregon got 3 inches of rain in September 2019 (normal is 1").

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