Tylers Peak P1K

Sun, Oct 25, 2015
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Tylers Peak is the highest of four summits in the area, all with male first-names (Mikes, Joes and Arts Peak are the others). Less than two miles south of SR299, it is located on private property most likely owned by a logging concern. I had tried to use a dirt road off SR299 on a first feeble attempt earlier in the year, but finding the road gated at the highway I simply gave up and went home. In the interim I had done more research and found a longer but more promising route from the southwest along Indian Creek Rd. The first 2/3 of the route is BLM lands which should be open to the public. The higher portion of the route would be less than 2mi and unlikely to be of concern. It turned out to be even better than I expected, with no fencing, no signage and no folks of any sort found along the way.

A 4WD, high-clearance vehicle can drive most of the route through BLM lands, the crux coming at the very beginning with an undeveloped crossing of Indian Creek. My van would not even have been able to negotiate the short stretch of loose, steep gravel road down to the creek so I managed it all on foot. After a somewhat tricky creek crossing (much more challenging at other times of the year, I expect) that took some precarious rock-hopping to keep my boots dry, the route becomes much tamer, following the BLM road through a switchback before it begins to climb up the side of a ridgeline. Views begin to open nicely as one climbs higher, but then the road begins a traverse with a slow descent until it finds itself about 50ft above Spring Gulch, the road now almost entirely shaded by trees, some of them spectacularly mature madrones. This would be nice on the way back when the day warmed some and the shade would be most welcomed. After a little more than three miles, the road traverses left out of Spring Gulch, continuing for another mile and half to the end at one of two forks at the edge of the BLM lands, a few hundred feet below the main ridgeline.

Before reaching the end of the right fork I left to start cross-country steeply upslope. There was no bushwhacking in the forest understory, and in fact little bushwhacking to speak of on the entire route. At the ridge I intercepted a road that runs NE towards Tylers Peak, about two miles in that direction. I wasn't sure exactly where the road went when it peeled first to the right and then later to the left, so I stayed on the ridge where an old firebreak made travel fairly easy. It turns out the right fork (on the SE side of the ridge) goes through a burn area that was recently salvaged before returning to the ridge. It then goes left (on the NW side) where I think it reconnects with a road coming back up to the ridge soon thereafter, but I didn't verify this. A second burn area is encountered on the NW side of the ridge in the area around Short Gulch, and here I met the road coming up to the ridge from that side. An old logging road branches off the main road yet again and this leads to the forested summit of Tylers Peak.

I found a medium-sized cairn buried in the trees crowding about the summit, no views from the top but open ones only a short distance to the NE - where yet another burn area has been salvaged in the past few years. One begins to get the impression that if the lumber mill ever runs short on work around here, they need only send someone up to burn a few dozen acres. In fact a small fire was burning well to the east on the side of Shasta Bally even as I was considering this economic forestry model. A better view was to the north where Weaver Bally and Monument Peak rise above Weaverville. While other areas showed signs of clearing, the Trinity Alps were collecting clouds which would obscure the higher summits as the morning progressed. I couldn't tell if a storm was coming in from the Pacific but it had the look of it.

On the return I made a series of downhill shortcuts to take out some of the switchbacks I had used on the way up. None of these cross-country descents through steep, forested terrain were longer than about 1/3mi but they added considerable interest. I half-expected to run into thick brush at one location or another, but in each case I found smooth sailing (or more accurately, sliding and stumbling) with a little bob and weave action around minor obstacles. Back on the road, I noted a few familiar summits that could be seen during the descent, including Bully Choop to the southeast and Chanchelulla to the south, both of which I had climbed earlier in the year. Tyler never does provide a good aspect from the south, hiding shyly behind one ridge or another for most of the way without a distinctive summit visible from this side. It was nearly noon by the time I returned to Indian Creek and the van. I had been considering doing another one or two easy P1Ks out by Mt. Shasta but decided to call it a day and head home. Twelve miles would be good enough for this easy day...

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