With two days remaining on my last roadtrip before the Sierra Challenge, I had
planned a route across the northern part of the state to tag the two remaining
P2Ks I had left in California. The route would meander to allow me to
tag a bunch of other prominent peaks along the way. Today was particularly
productive with a total of ten summits, seven of them with more than 900ft of
prominence. Most of these were pretty short outings with lots of driving
between them. The only real exercise was the combination of the first two peaks
that could be done together.
Haight Mtn/West Haight Mtn
While having dinner in Yreka the night before, I worked out a route to Mt.
Hoffman that would take me past a pair of P1Ks and a few other summits. Google
Maps did a decent job of getting me from Yreka to Alder Creek Summit, which is
the saddle between these two peaks. I was half-hoping the 4WD road shown on the
topo map would be driveable to make the route to Haight Mtn even shorter, but
alas it was blocked by downfall and no longer used. I spent the night at the
start of this spur road, a very lonely & quiet place and with temps in the
high 50s, the coolest sleep I had in three nights.
I was up and starting for Haight Mtn by 6a. The was
good for hiking and I followed it for about a mile until I reached what looked
like an old quarry site. I could have continued on the road as it switchbacks
up to the SW Ridge, but that seemed unnecessarily long. Instead, I went more
directly up the slope, helped some by a myriad of other old logging roads, to
reach the ridge more quickly. There is some boulders/talus to avoid and for the
most part I was successful by keeping to the trees and weaving between the rock
fields. The gradient relented at the ridge and
continued to be relatively free of brush, taking about 45min to reach
after about 1.5mi and 1,200ft of gain. I found an open summit
above the trees with a fine morning view of Mt. Shasta to .
There was also a 1949 and a register left by Bighorn Bill
. This prolific NorCal
peakbagger was the author of most of the day's registers. This one seems to
get about one party a year, and most of those are solo outings - a lonely peak
indeed. I followed a more direct line on the return, finding more
, but otherwise a faster route than my ascent.
I to the jeep at 7:35a, continuing past it to head for
, a slightly lower and less-frequented summit than Haight.
It does not have the same abundance of old logging roads, but I did
at the start that got me perhaps 1/4mi of the 1.2mi distance
to the summit. The cross-country that started at the old road's end was easier
at first, through open forest understory. The second half was characterized by
more brush, but much of this was avoided by meandering route choices. West
Haight similarly took me 45min to reach , this one flatter
and views not as good (though that of was better). Bighorn
Bill had left a register here . John Vitz was the only other
name I recognized, having climbed it the day after he did
Haight Mtn. I was
for a second time by 9a, happy to have gotten the two harder peaks of the day
done early. It had remained pretty cool in the early morning and the shorter
hikes I had planned for the rest of the day would make the increasing
temperatures less of a nuisance.
This P900 is located about 4.4mi ESE of Haight Mtn. The topo map shows a 4WD
road going up to the summit from the southwest, starting from well-maintained
Forest Road 6. The 4WD road has been blocked for further use at a small
clearing at the start, but after getting out to examine it, decided I could
get around the blockage and drive at least partway up the road. The road was
pretty rough, 4WD needed, and I only managed the first half mile of it until
it makes a sharp . The , but brush
blocks any type of motor vehicle and as I came to find out, made even
where I parked, I had 0.85mi to the summit, about half of this through fairly
heavy brush. I kept to the road as much as possible since the brush looked even
worse away from the roadbed. As I , the heavy brush
gave way to more easily managed that helped get me to the
summit in a little over half an hour. There was an old
found amidst the brush, still standing after many decades, though barely. The
seemed to be helping to hold it up some. There is a
good view of Haight Mtn to . I left here
under some rocks before beating a retreat back to the jeep via the same route.
Little Mount Hoffman
Continuing on my forest route towards Mt. Hoffman, I stopped at Little Mt.
Hoffman, about 5.5mi SW of its higher namesake. There is a lookout atop Little
Mt. Hoffman which is a drive-up, save for a few hundred feet of walking up from
. is now rented out by the Forest Service
for visitors, though there was no one there at the time of my visit. The lookout
appears to be in good condition with two unfurnished beds inside and modest
ammenities. There are several picnic benches , which at over
7,000ft, can offer a pleasant respite from the summer heat at lower elevations.
The summit marks the triple point where three National Forests converge -
Klamath, Shasta-Trinity and Modoc NFs. The peak overlooks Little Glass Mtn to
which has an abundance of obsidian
that one can easily collect at the periphery where an access road runs.
It wasn't until 12:30p that I reached the starting point for Mt. Hoffman. There
is a rougher road that climb up the south side of Mt. Hoffman, starting from a
much better road that traverses the Arnica Sink. The rougher road ends at a
geothermal well as shown at the topo map. A at the
well promises all sorts of dangers, but the reality is a sorry disappointment.
In the center of a large
is what looks like a a galvanized drainage
pipe. Perhaps it's venting the alluded-to dangerous chemical vapors into the
atmosphere, but it looks inert and completely uninteresting, while I was hoping
for fire, brimstone and molten lava seeps. What a ripoff.
The cross-country hike to Mt. Hoffman is tame and fairly easy, especially the
first half that rambles . There is some
to avoid higher up, most of which can be bypassed
if you look around. It took less than 30min to find my way to
with views mostly blocked by trees. There is
and another Bighorn Bill register ,
this one with more than a dozen pages of entries. There is an older one from
John Vitz with a few entries. I was surprised to find that
the was the well-traveled Nevada peakbagger, Ron
Moe, who had visited it earlier in the day - having never met him, I was a bit
disappointed to have gotten so close to a chance meet-up. It took less than
20min to make my way , a pretty mellow hike for a P2K.
I only considered Black Mtn as I was driving by it after leaving Mt. Hoffman,
intrigued by a simple USFS sign that said "Black Mtn 2mi". An easy drive-up? It
had more than 700ft of prominence so I pulled off the main forest road to
investigate. The road going to Black Mtn was in piss-poor shape, not having yet
been driven on this year. A second sign appears to have been removed, so
perhaps the Forest Service wants to let this spur road fade away. There was a
tree down near its start that I was able to drive around, but I had several
other blockages in the 2mi stretch that I had to clear before driving further.
I got within a quarter mile of the summit before getting
that I had to finish on foot.
proved a moderate bushwhacking effort, but it was less than 15min to reach
with poor views. A Bighorn Bill register
had no other entries until I arrived. Might be a while
before the next person wanders up this way.
This was also a last-minute find as I was heading northeast and near at SR139.
pointed the way to "Timber Mtn Lookout" which I guessed
(correctly) to be a drive-up. I met Wendy at , taking over
temporary duties while her husband was below in the nice RV where they lived for
the summer, "doing his chores," as Wendy described. of the
lookout is nicely kept and easier to keep that way since no one is living there.
The views are outstanding in all directions though oddly Mt. Shasta isn't
visible - it's blocked by the . Mt. Lassen can
easily be seen to the south and on a clear day Wendy told me that Mt. McLaughlin
in Oregon can be seen 80mi to the northwest. The actual highpoint of Timber Mtn
is found to the northeast from the lookout. A short
5min wallow through modest brush and an easy scramble gets you to
where is located. No
register that I could find.
Double Head Mtn
Once on SR139, I headed north and then northeast on forest roads towards Clear
is located south of this large body of water that serves as a
National Wildlife Refuge. The topo map shows a road going most of the way up
Double Head from the south but only
of this road is still
driveable. The 3/4mi hike to the summit climbs 1,000ft up
with moderate amounts of brush, junipers and a healthy
sprinkling of lava rocks. It was a pretty warm hike with temps around 85F,
luckily taking only about half an hour to reach . This one had
a Vitz register with about 10 entries. Nearby were
of a survey tower and . The views are
partially blocked by trees and mostly a flattish
part of the state.
Clear Lake Hills
This small collection of hills lies immediately west of Clear Lake, its unnamed
highpoint a P1K. are covered in grass with nary a tree and
almost no brush, either. A series of dirt roads can be used to drive to the
, but 4WD is needed on the very steep sections that go
straight up without switchbacking. Cattle grazing seems to
be the main use for these hills. There is a good view of
from the open summit.
Happy Camp Mtn
After returning to SR139, I headed south for an hour-long drive to Happy Camp
Mtn, another lookout-topped summit, this one a P1K in the southern part of the
Modoc NF. There are several on lower bumps of the
summit ridge with parking found just below the lookout on
. It was after visiting hours when I walked up the
remaining road to that sits atop the summit without a
tower. There was a FS truck parked outside but no one visible about the place.
I didn't want to walk over and disturb a possibly sleeping attendant, so I took
a few and quietly headed back
down. It had been 86F while I was driving on the highway below, but it was ten
degrees cooler atop Happy Camp Mtn. I decided to spend the night there, so I
showered back by one of the telecom installations where I also did some reading
and ate dinner to while away the remaining daylight. Around 9p I moved the
jeep to a flatter location and hunkered down for the night in the back.
Around 10:30p I was awakened by a trio of vehicles with lights flashing. A
handful of sheriff's officers cautiously approached to find out what mischief
I was up to. They had been alerted to a possible vandal by the lookout
attendant some time earlier. It probably took them a few hours to gather a
posse, perhaps the only three Modoc County Sheriffs deputies on duty that night,
to make the long-ass drive up from wherever they were beforehand. Seems they
thought I might be one of the local troublemakers they've been trying to
catch. It didn't take them long to size me up and find me harmless, but it
took another 15min of communications with the boss back at the station to get
the OK to let me stay where I was for the night. Eventually they all took off
and I went back to sleep - not the first time for such encounters, and
undoubtedly not to be the last.