The second day of a NorCal roadtrip found me in the southern part of
the Warner Mtns in the NE corner of the state. My last time in this particular
area was with my son to tag a pair of county highpoints more than 10yrs ago.
Today I was back for some lesser summits but a fine day nonetheless.
Little Hat Mountain
This is one of the southernmost summits in the range and a P900 which is how i
it had gotten my attention. Getting to it is not easy from any direction. I
approached from the northeast, spending the night near
reached by a pretty rough 4WD road off excellent gravel Red Rock Rd.
In the morning I drove about a mile closer, passing through a cattle fence
with an old sign marked for No Trespassing. Though the summit is on BLM lands,
it appears the area along Bare Creek where I would hike is private land that
sees little use, judging by the condition of the road. I parked when the brush
to get worse, leaving me less than 3mi from the summit - close enough. It was
27F when I started out at 7a, rather on the frigid side, but my fleece,
balaclava and wool gloves served me nicely. It would warm up as the sun
came up over the Hays Canyon Range to the east, eventually leaving me with
temps in the 40s and 50s for much of the day, far more reasonable. From
my parking spot, I hiked up for about a mile and a
half to the 6,500-foot level, until almost due north of the peak. From here, I
had about a mile of cross-country and 1,200ft of gain, through
, but then above the trees.
The route worked far nicer than I had
expected (it looks brushier in the satellite views), getting me to
and from there on up to
by 8:20a. I found a few cairns with old wood pieces sticking out. There was no
register, so I of my own as I rested up and took in
the scenery. There is a good view of Hat Mtn to and Red Rock
Valley to . Hard-to-reach Boot Lake is seen to
. My was pretty much along the same route,
finishing up by 9:30a, hours earlier than I had expected this one to take.
This was a bonus peak along the drive back down from Little Hat Mtn. Red Rock
Road gets within a mile of the summit on .
My route up favored the Southwest Ridge which I thought might make for easy
going, but it was and a bit tedious. On the way down
I went directly off the steep Northwest Face, finding the volcanic rubble
there preferrable to the brush I'd ascended through. is
buried in the scraggly and dusty trees, but a short walk will get you you nice
views looking and . I left
on this one as well, figuring it will see maybe one visitor in the next decade.
After returning to Surprise Valley on the east side of the range, I headed
north towards Eagleville and then west on the excellent Forest Road 64 (County
Rd 42) up into
the hills. Horse Mtn was my first stop, an easy bonus peak on the way to
Emerson Peak. There was a good deal of snow coverage above 7,500ft in the
range, but most of it wasn't more than a few inches deep. The topo map
shows a road going over the summit, but I somehow missed it. Instead I parked
about half a mile to the north and made the easy walk .
Some slopes had , but area was mostly
clear. I wasn't sure which rock up there was highest, so visited
to call it good. Hat Mtn can be seen to the
southwest, Emerson Peak to , Surprise Valley far below to
On my way back down I crossed paths with a pair of hunters out looking for
deer on their ATVs. I hadn't seen a deer all day nor heard a gunshot though
the forest was filled with hunters. If there were any deer about, they were
doing a good job of cowering under cover until the season is over.
This peak lands on the Western States Climbers list, which made it the main
goal for the day and the highest summit, only a few feet below 9,000ft. Most
folks seem to use the Summit Trail from The Patterson Guard Station TH
to the southwest, but the route from Bearcamp Flat is much shorter. I drove
down to between Horse and Emerson, getting stopped
by some downfall on the road, but it was only about a mile and a quarter
each way from where I parked. The brush was very modest and the hike up
the enjoyable. Not surprisingly, the summit had
the best views of the day. One could easily see Mt. Shasta and Lassen Peak
far to the west. Eagle Peak, the range and county highpoint rises almost
1,000ft higher to , sporting a good deal more snow, most of it
from an unusual winter storm a week earlier. There were two registers found in
a small plastic tub. The had been chewed badly by rodents
and now useless. The second was left by Andrew Kirmse,
probably with the plastic tub. It's a pretty busy summit with 12 pages of
entries in three years. were holding a convention in the
nooks of the summit rocks, not moving
all that much due to the chill. Going back via the same route, the whole
outing took but an hour and a quarter.
This minor summit is an easy bonus, lying between Horse Mtn and Hat Mtn.
A good road passes within a quarter mile of the summit. A
through forest leads to
which nicely rise above the forest to provide in all directions.
This high summit west of Hat Mtn has a road leading nearly to the top.
It's about 4.5mi each way from Black Cone, but the short distance I'd driven
to Black Cone told me to expect more snow and mud. The jeep was already coated
with enough mud to dissuade me from doing 9mi of such roads, so I gave
it up. Sort of. I knew Sean Casserly had been to it a year ago and I
really didn't want to leave it so easily. So as I was driving down the
west side of the range I kept an eye out for other roads that might work
better. I found just such a spur road that I was able to drive a mile off
the main road to get me within 1.5mi to the northwest. It was 4p when I
and the hike would take me longer than I expected because
most of it was through , more like a winter outing than a
fall one. Though my boots would be practically soaked by the time I returned,
I found it the most enjoyable hike of the day. It had been some time since
I'd last hiked in the snow and I'd almost forgotten how fun it can be. Most of
the route went through forest with nary a view, but I did
as I neared the saddle on the west side. The last few hundred feet of gain
went up moderately brushy slopes and made more challenging with a mix of snow
and wet ground. I found 4 cairns at , each with a stick
protruding, not really sure what that was about. There aren't any views
right from the summit, but just to the north can be found fine views
looking both and . I had fun
through the snow on the way back, occasionally
needing to use the GPSr to find my track when I lost the footprints. I
right at 6p with the sun having gone down behind the trees
to the west. I took a shower in the chilly air, about 41F now, but at least my
shower water was lukewarm. A surprisingly fun day, overall.