Hiking Stats as of 11/19/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

May 1, 2016 - Robison Mountain


Partners: Andrew Kirmse

Distance: 21.98 miles

Elevation Gain: 3,713 feet

Trip Time: 9:00

Maps and Stats:
Robison Mountain is a P1K buried deep within Henry Coe State Park. It is climbed no more than once every year or two, with the last recorded ascent in Peakbagger about 5 years prior (Bob Burd did record an ascend in LOJ in 2014). Part of the reason is that the peak cannot be dayhiked from the standard Henry Coe entrance, meaning you need to do it during the weekends that the Dowdy entrance is open on the east side. But even then, a dayhike would be problematic, 30 miles from this "easier" starting point. Teh solution? The annual Henry Coe Backpacker weekend, when they open the park up for one weekend per year, allowing camping driving an extra 5 miles into Orestimba Corral. The only catch here is that you still need to camp out, as they lock the gates at 5 PM and reopen at 8 AM. With the gates about an hour away from the TH at Orestimba Corral, and with 22 miles of hiking needed to get to Robison, the only sure way to get Robison is to sign up for the weekend backpack, camp out, and dayhike the peak, pack up, and leave before the gates lock.

It was just Andrew and I, and we agreed to meet at the parking area before the gate at 4:45 to consolidate our stuff into his car and make the drive in. We did this, taking an hour to arrive at the campground at the Corral. There were a lot of cars and trucks parked all along the way to the Corral, hundreds of visitors and campers enjoying the weekend in Henry Coe. At our location there were dozens of vehicles, with some having brought luxury accommodations, including canopies, wine and barbecues. We got to work setting up our tents, with Andrew helping me since this was all new to me. Once we were done with this we were glad to see the air temperature had cooled (it was about 80 degrees at the peak earlier) and we joined the campfire festivities.

We turned in about 9:00 PM, and I fell asleep quickly, waking up a few times but getting about 8 hours of sleep. We woke up at 5:30 and were off by 6 AM, before sun rise but with plenty of light. The trail is really a road, going through valley with mountains on both sides which kept the sun away from us. The road was drivable, and we would see rangers driving it later in the day. We had to cross the creek perhaps a dozen times, which became a nuisance after a while. The miles went quickly, with our pace of well over 3 MPH as we slowly lost 400 feet of elevation over the first 4 or so miles. We eventually turned off on the Rooster Comb trail, not at all obvious to us and we may have missed it without our GPS devices. There were flags, but still, the trail was well off to our left and there were no warning signs that we needed to exit the main road. Of course if you don't exit, you eventually wind up bumping into private property and would be forced to turn around. A most costly mistake on a 22 mile hike.

The Rooster Comb trail is a bit circuitous and rises up and down, although it isn't too difficult. Just a bit of a change form the wide road of the first 4+ miles. We followed this until it reached a natural high point and our GPS devices showed an old road on the TOPO maps leading up to Robison. The road, as it was, was very long abandoned, and not visible for much of the trip up. We tried to follow it where we could, but several variations were required to maneuver around downfall and rocks. The weather was heating up, and our pace slowed considerably at this point. We stuck with it, going up at a steady clip, trying to avoid the bushy sections as best we could. Once the ridgeline is reached, it is another mile+ walk with some mild ups and downs before emerging on the summit. It had taken us 4 1/2 hours to reach the summit, a good time for 11 miles. With over 1K in prominence there were good views to be had in all directions, and while I rested Andrew found a geocache which hadn't been found in over 5 years. He had also brought a summit register, which we signed and left for some future party to sign in who knows how many years?

It was too early to eat lunch so we decided to descend back to the Rooster Comb trail and eat there, after which point there was nothing left to do but follow the trail and then road back for all those miles, back to the car where we arrived at 3 PM. We then packed up our stuff and made the very slow drive out, getting stuck behind some horse trailers. We took advantage of the slow drive to scout out future peaks in the area for visits later this year and a potential target for next year's weekend backpack.

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(3 years ago) Kerry said:

Yes, this is one that every Bay Area Hiker has to do at least once - you just roll the dice in terms of weather for that one weekend per year.


(3 years ago) Gordon ('boyblue') said:

What a great hike! I came so close to signing up for this meetup, but ran into an insurmountable snag: My wife's birthday was that weekend. [D'oh!] Maybe next year for Mustang Peak!