A long-overdue little scrambleI'd wanted to climb St. Peter's Dome for some time, but always seemed to keep putting it off. With most of the day available and beautiful sunny weather, I finally decided that this was a good way to kick off the 4th of July weekend.
I got to the trailhead at the shooting range on Gold Camp Road about a quarter to ten, and the temp was already up in the eighties--perfect by my standards.
I set off up the clear trail and, following csmcgranahan's TR, looked for the fork in the trail to choose between the hiking and climbing routes. I was impressed by the nearly vertical wall which looms over one turn in the trail, and followed it to where a rope--sensibly encased in a plastic sleeve where it would otherwise fray on the rock edge--has thoughtfully been anchored to the rock to facilitate the eight-foot-high step which begins the climb up to the eastern rock outcropping. No amount of searching, however, revealed an alternate trail heading off to the left (west) and the promised Class 2 route to the actual summit.
So, after retracing my steps virtually all the way to the TH, I simply began heading west off-trail at what seemed like the most logical point, hoping to discover a way below the rocks and up onto the ridge.
I succeeded in this, and finally came out onto the ridge somewhat west of the summit. A short bushwhack through the trees (mostly just below the crest on the south side) led to the base of the tilted slabs over which one must scramble to reach the summit. This scramble is, as reported by others, not as bad as it looks at first glance--although my guess is that it would be truly hair-raising should those sloping rocks become very wet. They have nice texture when dry, but real handholds or ledges are few and far between, and if you start sliding, there's absolutely nothing to stop you!
Once on the summit, I looked over at the more prominent outcropping to the east. A little surveying confirmed that there was no feasible way directly down to the saddle in between, so I retreated westward to the base of the summit block, and searched for a way around the rocks on the north side.
I found one. A very nice, if narrow, shelf trail leads all the way around the base of the summit block, and a little easy climbing leads out into the saddle.
From there, the outcrop is an easy slab walk--again, as long as it's dry.
Nice views. I should have taken a summit register, as I doubt it would fill up very fast, for all that there are scads of people visiting the TH every day in the summer. Then again, I'm not sure how I would secure a register container on the smooth rock of the summit.