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Hiking Stats as of 11/14/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Jun 16, 2014 - Cobb Mountain / Cobb Mountain West Rim

 

Partners: (None)

Distance: 6.97 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,324 feet

Trip Time: 3:15

Maps and Stats:
Once again my work had me on the road for a day, this time sending me up to Santa Rosa for a visit at Gigabit fiber internet service provider Sonic.net. I planned to take advantage of my trip up north by visiting Cobb Mountain after concluding with Sonic.net, which confusingly has the highest point in the Bay Area (and thus the high point of Sonoma County), although the summit itself is actually in Lake County and is not the high point of that county. Make sense? In other words, I would summit Cobb Mountain in Lake County, and then head over to what is called the "West Rim" of Cobb mountain about a half mile west of the actual summit which happens to be in Sonoma County. In any event, both of these summits are on the CC list, and a successful trip would give me 38 CC peaks in the bag.

After my meeting at Sonic.net, I made the beautiful drive east, past the flanks of Mt. St. Helena and over to Middletown. Finding the TH was not a problem, as I had visited this TH on my previous visit to Mt. St. Helena. For the uninitiated, it is a bit of an odd experience, driving through a series of single lane residential streets in the woods to arrive at the gate. I've heard some hikers park on the highway, but I found a nice turnout past the last house on the right about 100 feet short of the gate to park. The gate is signed for No Trespassing, but it seems that this is not enforced, either by the operators of the communications towers on top or by the residents of the small enclave at the TH. I set off at 3:15 on a seasonably cool day, and was further relieved to find the trail to be fully shaded. I'm more used to the hills further south, where the summer heat beats down unrestricted. Even Mt. St. Helena can be brutally hot. But this was quite pleasant indeed.

The trail up is easy to follow and in pretty good shape, save for a downed tree or two. Parts of the trail are somewhat steep, but nothing too difficult at all. After an hour I was approaching the communication towers on the eastern (lower) summit. I wasn't 100% sure that this wasn't the summit, so I made a quick trip over to take a look but realized quickly that it was not the top and turned around and followed a service road toward the true summit. I arrived at the open gate where the summit of Cobb Mountain is located a few minutes later and found the summit rocks to the left of the equipment. The only downside to having all that wonderful shade was now I had to live with summit views of, well, a lot of trees. At the time I didn't notice a rock hidden by a branch that houses the summit log and is technically the highpoint, so somewhat puzzled by my inability to find a summit log I continued on, following first a jeep trail then a somewhat faint trail down hill towards the saddle between Cobb Mountain proper and the West Rim, arriving at the saddle by 4:45.

The next park of the hike was nearly the least pleasant experience of the day. There is no trail heading up to the West Rim, and there are no equipment towers or anything else that would lead one to build a trail to the summit except for being a county highpoint. So I started up through the brush, trying my best to avoid getting stuck but on occasion having to resort to crawling to find a way up. It's only a couple of hundred feet up, however, so it wasn't really that big of a deal. A few minutes before 5 PM I came across a clearing of maybe 30 feet, and in this location I found the summit cannister. The register went back to 2001, and the peak gets several visits a year. I was the 3rd visitor of 2014. The summit views weren't too great over here either, mostly just trees although I was able to locate the antenna on top of the summit of Cobb Mountain. I only stayed on top for about 5 minutes, and then started back down through the brush and back up towards the main Cobb summit. I wanted to look around again to see if maybe I somehow missed the highpoint, and this time I easily located the higher rock on the other side of the branch which held the summit register. The summit log book went back to 2002, although with no pen in the canister I was not able to add my name to the book. As such, I was not sure how often the peak is climbed, although judging by the older entries it seemed that there were many more ascents than what the West Rim sees.

I left the summit a bit after 5:30, and being anxious to get started on the long drive home I jogged the majority of the downhill trail. Unfortunately, I slipped on a covering of pine needles, taking a tumble and getting a couple of minor scratches on my face. This was definitely the least pleasant experience of the day. Discouraged I walked the remaining 10 minutes of the trail back down to the TH, completing the trip a bit before 6:30. It was indeed a long drive home, although a pleasant one through the Napa Valley before getting back into the Bay Area, thankfully late enough to miss the evening commute. I was back home around 9 PM, with a long but productive day behind me.

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