The easiest way to Preston Peak is from Highway 199 to the Young’s Valley Trailhead on the west side. The hike to Raspberry Lake or Rattlesnake Meadow can be done in one long day. We approached our base camp tarn via Cedar Crest.
Most folks who climb Preston Peak do so via the northwest ridge from Raspberry Lake. This route is an easy 3rd class scramble. Another wonderful route is from Rattlesnake Meadow, climbing the southwest ridge. Most of this route is easy 2nd class until you reach the vicinity of the lower south peak. The final quarter mile traverse to the true summit is mostly 3rd class, with one short 4th class section thrown in for excitement.
Last summer, three of us climbed yet another fantastic route up this peak: the northeast ridge. From our base camp at a tarn below the east face of the mountain, we hiked to the ridge through snowfields and talus and then turned toward the summit, staying right along the crest. Here the route turns to 3rd and 4th class scrambling. By staying true to the crest, we encountered two short pitches of easy 5th class (5.2-5.4), with wild exposure overlooking the sheer north face of the mountain. The final couple hundred feet is an easy boulder hop to the summit. We named our route ‘The Spine of the Jellyfish” – don’t ask why.
There are certainly many other possible routes on this peak. I’ll bet our route up the northeast ridge can be ascended without encountering any 5th class by trending left (south) off the true crest onto innumerable ledges and ramps. And that north face looks like multi-pitch, vertical action.
There’s a fair amount of loose rock sitting on the ledges of Preston Peak (not many folks out here to clean the routes!) so shove your helmet into your backpack before you leave for the trailhead. Watch the sky too. Preston Peak is the highest thing around and summer thunderstorms can roll in quickly.
The easiest way to Preston Peak is from Highway 199 to the Young’s Valley Trailhead on the west side. The hike to Raspberry Lake or Rattlesnake Meadow can be done in one long day. We approached our base camp tarn via Cedar Crest, a spectacular ridgeline that extends south from Preston Peak to the Clear Creek. Plan on three days for this cross-country approach (highly recommended!), driving in from highway 96 along the Klamath River.
For more information on Preston Peak, consult pages 182-192 of “Hiking the Bigfoot Country” by John Hart. The book is a 1975 publication of the Sierra Club.
Basic Backpacking and Basic Rack equipment
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