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Hiking Stats as of 11/21/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Dec 30, 2012 - Saint Helena, Mount / Saint Helena East, Mount

 

Partners: Kyle Breen

Distance: 10.34 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,377 feet

Trip Time: 3:47

Maps and Stats:
Following the difficult conditions in the Sierra that forced me to turn around without accomplishing anything only 2 days prior, Kyle and I decided to go after the Napa County highpoint which I had missed out on by about 40 feet 13 months earlier. The Napa County highpoint is a small subsidiary peak about a quarter mile from the main summit of Mt. St. Helena. Since the main summit is actually in Sonoma County (with the higher Cobb Mountain claiming the title of Sonoma County highpoint), summiting Mt. St. Helena alone does not give you a county highpoint. Armed with directions from previous trip reports we were confident we would knock this one off the list.

We met at Kyle's house in Vallejo around 9 AM, and got on the trail around 10:15. The trip up was quite nice, as the highway winds through the wine country of Napa, St. Helena, and Calistoga. Once we reached Robert Louis Stevenson State Park, we began our trip on a nice trail through the wooded hillside. After coming across a monument for Robert Louis Stevenson, the trail dumps out at a boring fire road which slowly winds up to the summit. The road is far from steep, and seemingly it could have been shortened and been allowed to climb at a steeper pace. The one good thing about the long road was that the entire trip up has fantastic views.

Shortly after joining the fire road, we came across a large rock wall, filled with screws for climbing. Beyond this point the fire road wound up uneventfully, until we hit some bits of snow at around 3600 feet. Soon we were at the spur leading to the summit of East Peak, the highpoint of Napa County but about 100 feet lower than the main summit of Mt. St. Helena. The summit of East Peak was extremely windy, and we didn't stay more than 5 minutes. We did come across an interesting sign telling us that the radar was on, whatever that meant. There was also quite a bit of ice chips on the summit - probably shaped by the wind. We quickly descended and joined up with the main trail for the last little climb to the main summit.

The summit of Mt. St. Helena really is spectacular, with 360 degree views to be had if one is willing to brave the blustery winds and sharp cold that did odd things to some of the trees. I snapped off some shots showcasing the views of the surrounding terrain, snow cover, Snow Mountain to the north, Napa Valley, East Peak, and finally a summit shot of myself and Kyle.

The decent was largely uneventful, just a quick jaunt down some snow covered trails and finally down the boring fire road which led to the last mile through the hillside. The whole journey took a bit less than 4 hours and covered about 10.3 miles. Finally a success again in the mountains!

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