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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

Dec 2, 2014 - Fremont Peak

 

Partners: (None)

Distance: 2.15 miles

Elevation Gain: 426 feet

Trip Time: 0:43

Maps and Stats:
I had a mid-week work conference to attend in Monterey, with the conference starting at 9 AM Wednesday morning and ending Thursday afternoon at 4:15. This would give me a great chance to gather up some peaks in an area further from home, although the timing of the conference wouldn't leave a lot of time to bag some peaks. With careful planning I developed an itinery which could see me round up 5 CC peaks in the area between San Jose and Monterey over the course of the 72 hours between Tuesday evening and Thursday evening. I had 48 CC summits prior to this trip, so Fremont Peak would be number 49.

Fremont Peak offers up fantastic views and resides in the smallish Fremont State Park south of San Juan Bautista. The approach is basically a long drive up after turning off Highway 156, followed by a hike of about a mile to get to the actual summit. This was quite convenient for me, as I was already on 156 for my drive to Monterey, so it cost me little in the way of time. It was already dark when I started up the well signed road directing me to the park. The signage indicated the park closed at 5 PM, and it was already past that time. When I got to the Park Gate at 6:00 it was still open, however, I didn't drive up to the parking lot out of fear that the gate might be locked by the time I got down. So I parked at a small turnout just outside the gate. I was quite concerned that a ranger might see my car and have it towed (it was still in the Park, just outside the gate) so I left a note on my car with my phone number, explaining I would be back down by 6:45 and asking that they be so kind as to leave my car alone.

With that I set out, walked through the open gate and up the road towards the parking area. Not more than 5 minutes in I was walking past a ranger residence with its light on. I was lucky to have a full moon overhead, and so I was able to largely navigate without the need of a headlamp. A few minutes after passing the residence and while I was still on the road a pair of headlights started coming up behind me. I froze on the road, not really sure if I should just explain that I was just passing through and wanted the summit while I had the chance or if I should hide. I kind of stupidly just stood there unsure, but fortunately the car turned into the residence. I hurried along, convinced that they would soon be driving up to check the parking area to where I had not yet arrived, although I never did see the headlights again so I don't think that happened.

I found the start of the trail near a plaque dedicated to John Fremont. Well calling it a trail is generous, it was more like a narrow paved road. This made navigation quite easy, and I could see what looked like a summit antenna getting closer. It was difficult to get any good pictures, as I didn't want to stop and my camera apparently cannot perform the stability control that it does in regular light. I could see the peak ahead in the moonlight, and this was turning out to be pretty easy. I arrived at the antenna which turned out not to be on the summit, with a more normal sized trail leading to the top of the rocky summit. Climbing up the rocks was a bit tricky due to the recent rains and the darkness, but I went slow and made it up to the top without incident by 6:25.

I found a summit plaque on top, along with a benchmark. The views of the city lights below were quite nice. For some reason my camera really picked up the clouds and inserted a lot of light that wasn't really visible, making several of the pictures appear as if it was still light outside. I spent about 5 minutes on top and then made the careful descent through the rocks. After that point I jogged the majority of the way down, and made it by the ranger house without incident. I was back to the car a bit before 6:45, in line with what I had promised on my note. I was happy to see that my car was still there (after thinking about it later it is a good 15 minute drive (at least) from San Juan Bautista and a calling a tow truck plus the drive time for a truck on this road would certainly take over 45 minutes). I hopped in the car and continued on my way to Monterey for the start of the conference on Wednesday.

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2 Comments

 

(4 years ago) Kerry said:

Good Point - I would never drive this far for such a short hike. I was driving down to Monterey so this was basically right on the way down!


 

(4 years ago) Petesthousandpeaks said:

Hey, pretty good for an easy holiday peak! Kinda out of your style, seems a waste of gas versus exercise benefit, but for view and history, fine I suppose.