Hiking Stats as of 11/15/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet
I woke up knowing that this Tuesday promised to be a long day, but unfortunately less fun and more tiring than if I could spend the whole day hiking. I had an 8:30 meeting to get to in Oakland, requiring a ridiculously early departure from my house in Tracy. Serving as a bookend to this I had a 7 PM meeting to attend in Brentwood to close out the day. I planned on departing extra early, with the goal of bagging some easy CC peaks before the meeting started. I would then use my 1 hour lunch after the meeting to bag some more peaks. There are 5 easy CC peaks that I had yet to visit that would be within easy driving of my meeting, and I would try to get as many as possible while I was in the area.

Round Top

My plans quickly fell apart when I found myself stuck in traffic in the Altamont, and by the time it broke loose near Livermore I knew I would only have time to chase 1 peak before the meeting. I settled on Round Top, for no other reason than it was very close to my route to Oakland and I thought it would be one of the better of the 5. I arrived at the parking lot for Round Top at 7:30 and was happy to see it was fee-free. There were a few people milling about on the trails, and I stayed on a paved road which over the coarse of 3/4 of a mile took me to the summit. 8 minutes to get up, and no views to be had. By 7:55 I was back at the car. Not sure how this wound up on the CC list. I mean the area was nice enough, but probably lacking for serious hikers.

Vollmer and Chaparrel Peaks

My meeting wound up being cancelled (!), but given my 6 AM departure in the morning and my undetermined (sometime after 7 PM) return home, I decided I could have 1 hour to myself on the day and set off to try and get a couple of the remaining 4 CC peaks in the area. I drove from the meeting location to Vollmer Peak, probably the best one of the bunch on the short day. I parked across the street from Vollmer, and with no real time to do much beta, hadn't realized that the access road was gated. I walked around the gate, lost a bit of elevation, and found a good use trail that started back up towards Vollmer. There were various use trails that, at one point or another, intersected with the main trail. There were very nice views on the ascent, until the flattish summit area where a couple of towers diminished the experience a bit. It took 18 minutes to reach the summit. By walking around I was able to find a great view to Diablo. Thee two summit towers are gated, however, the high point is conveniently located between the two fences. As I walked around I found nice views towards the Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco. I headed back down, passing the East Bay Parks Corp Yard which is curiously fenced and gated as you approach from below on the trail, but is wide open to the trail from above.

It took 35 minutes to make the round trip back to the road, but as I approached my car I noticed a small peak to the left. A quick check of the Peakbagger app showed me it was named Chaparrel Peak, and I decided to bag it too since I was right there already. There is a wide trail leading to the summit, where I arrived after hiking for a monumental 4 minutes. There was a lot of junk on top, although there were good filtered views similar to the ones from Vollmer. I did notice Grizzly Peak, another CC Peak I wanted to get, looking mighty close to my current location. I was back to the car 4 minutes later and drove the half mile or so to the start for Grizzly Peak.

Grizzly Peak

This was the shortest and lamest peak on the day, quite an achievement given it was a day defined by such a weak lineup. After parking I walked around a gate blocking vehicle traffic up the service road used by the company operating the antenna on top of the peak. It took all of 4 minutes to reach the barbed wire fencing surrounding the summit tower. I had read that the fence was not easily breached, and the highpoint was clearly inside the fence so I felt that visiting the fence permiter was insufficient. Online reports indicated that if one is willing to descend the road back down a bit and then bushwhack up the peak the fence had some vulnerabilities on teh far side. But those reports indicated that the brush was thick right up to the fence line, and from what I saw there was a couple of feet of room to walk along side the fence. So I did, and I quickly found a section of fence that was not attached to the ground, making it easy to crawl under. So I went in, beside the tower, and actually got some great views of the Bay Area, including a very nice view to the Golden Gate Bridge. In a hurry, I slipped back under the fence and was back to the car a mere 12 minutes after starting out. This would end my hiking for the day, and now the day's real work would begin (I wound up getting home around 8:15 that evening).

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