www.MountainHiker.org

Hiking Stats as of 11/21/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet
On the way back from Baldy (the Tahoe version) 2 weeks ago I had told Kyle that we should look to get some more local peaks during the cool winter months rather than going to Tahoe quite so much. So fast-forward two weeks, and I suggested that we head off to Clear Lake, about a 2 hour drive north for Kyle and 3 hours for me, to hike the 5 peaks of Mt. Konocti. All 5 are on the CC list, and as such it was only the long distance drive that had kept me from this area before.

I met Kyle at his place at about 9:15, and we drove north towards Clear Lake. The 5 peaks cannot realistically be hiked in one loop, but rather, Clark Peak sits off by itself while the other 4 peaks are all pretty close together. So we decided to start off with Clark Peak, since this would eliminate the risk that we might feel satisfied after doing just the 4 peaks if we did those first. We drove up Glebe Road, which was gravel covered but still drivable by any vehicle, and parked by a white gate which marked the boundary of the public land. This seems to be a backdoor route into Konocti, and we saw no other cars or people at all from the moment we parked until we were back down. From the gate it is an easy hike up a wide fire road for the first half of the trip, eventually ending near an orchard where several use trails lead you around to the far side of the peak (where the large "K" is on the mountain as visible for miles around). The use trails dump you out on the bottom left of the K, and one must traverse up to the upper right terminus of the K to pick up a much more faint use trail leading to the top. The final climb is up some fun class 3 rock and the views from the top, especially toward Clear Lake, were impressive indeed. Behind us the higher 4 peaks of Konocti made our current elevation seem far less impressive. There was no register, and after getting a summit shot of Kyle we started on the descent. Back through the K and back to the car for what was a 4 mile, 1 1/2 hour hike.

We drove back down Glebe Road and drove up Konocti Road, along the drive I pulled over to get a shot of the "K" which we had used on our ascent (from bottom left to top right). We arrived at the parking area at 1:45, after a half hour drive from the Clark Peak TH. It was noly recently that Konocti opened up for public use, and it had many more signs (and restrooms) than one typically would see on a hike. The first part of the road goes through private property via an easement, and a trail is used to bypass a ranch up a bit higher on the road. The hike is very straightfoward, lots of signs and mileage markers to keep you on the right path. Our plan was to first go the the highest peak (Wright), bypassing the turnoffs for the other 3 on the way up and then tagging those on descent.

On the way up Wright we had a good look at South Peak, the only one of the 4 that did not have a trail, and whose summit location was a bit of a mystery. The TOPO maps seem to indicate it is in the middle of the ridge, but we had heard that there was a large outcrop on the far end of the ridge that was higher. From our current location it seemed evident that this rock outcrop was higher, and that would be our objective later. We continued up the fire road towards Wright, arriving at the summit barely over an hour after we started. There was a giant fire lookout on top, and upon noticing a weakness in the barbed wire fence we climbed up to the lookout platform for a better view. The views toward Clark Peak were fantastic, along with the view to Clear Lake and the small towns below. Kyle got curious as to what might be inside the lookout and in cartoon fashion simply pulled away the door cover. There was still no way to get inside, however, so we setled on viewing the contents of the small room from outside. We climbed back over the fence and hit the road back downhill for a few minutes until the turnoff for Howard Peak, which would probably not be worth of a visit if it weren't on the CC list. 15 minutes after leaving Wright we were on top of Howard. There was a benchmark and a good view back to Wright and over to South Peak, our next stop, but little else.

We backtracked to the main road after leaving Howard Peak and went back down to the last bathroom on the way up to Wright. It took 20 minutes to get to the start, where we boldly set up through the woods. We soon found signs of a use trail, including cairns, cut branches, and yellow flags. This was very important, as the brush was extremely thick all around us after ascending the first 50 feet or so. The use trail dumped us out at the base of the tall rock pile on top of the summit which was class 3 although class 2 routes may have been present but not seen by us. From the top it was clear we were on the highpoint, as the trees of South Peak were laid out below us. It was quite windy up on top which made our summit shots look a bit humerous. The descent of South Peak was a bit more difficult, as we lost the use trail and fought through some terrible brush. We were stubborn and didn't want to fight back through the brush to get back to the use trail, and this made matters a bit worse, as it would have been nearly impossible to get all the way down absent the trail. So we wound up circling back, fighting the whole way, before regaining the trail. Once down, we made a side visit to a site referred to as "Oak Grove" where we found an old cabin which had an interesting history, having been inhabited by a woman who, on a daily basis, used a mirror to signal down to the town below that she was okay.

Back on the road again, we had a mile walk or so to get over to Buckingham Peak, the last peak of the day. The top of the peak is surrounded by another barbed wire fence, and we traversed the entire square but did not try to breach the fence. Besides, it did not appear that there was any higher ground inside the fence since everything was bulldozed flat anyway. Satisfied with the day's haul of peaks, we started down, enjoying our last views of Clear Lake as the sun started giving up its hold on the day. We were back at the car by 5:45, making for a nice 4 hour hike of these 4 peaks of Konocti, and just over 5 1/2 hours of hiking on the day.

Add Comment

    
 

No Comments