This was part of a trip pursuing county high points for an itinerary that ended up (adaptability and all that) including Modoc, Lassen, Siskiyou, Lake/Colusa, Glenn, Mendocino, Butte, Tehama, Humboldt, & Trinity counties. (As it happens, Siskiyou -- Mt. Shasta -- was the primary objective on this tour, and it was the only unsuccessful summit attempt.)
I slept in the vehicle at the Patterson trailhead the night prior and awoke to a gentle but steady fall of sleet. Super. I took the 38N18 road discussed in other reports. It is certainly rocky, and I would probably not drive it without 4WD & high clearance, but if you are of the mindset that sedans are evil and deserve to be punished, then this is a good place to start. Or, you could walk this stretch. You know, whatever.
Someone had quite clearly been here very recently prior to me as there were fresh tire tracks in the mud. About a mile or so from road's end, however, two large fallen trees blocked the road. It appeared that whomever traveled here before me had found a way around as I noted relatively fresh tire tracks continuing on the other side. I was not really into abusing my ride, but this didn't seem right. Yet the fork a few hundred yards back did not seem right, either. So at this point I called an audible and decided to go with the time-worn bushwhack. It was going to be wet and miserable anyway, so I thought I may as well save some potential time and distance.
I backtracked to 38N18A and drove it for a mile before it was time to start walking. I never once saw the summit, including when I was standing right on it. This is in part because I was shrouded in clouds, but I was also tucked in to my hard shell, rain pants, and gaiters with the hood tight over my face, and I scarcely looked at more than the ground in front of me. Once I was in the trees and able to avoid getting my phone face wet, I started checking the GPS to be sure I was heading in the general direction of the summit and avoiding unnecessary mileage. Once above the trees it was a little spicy in the wet conditions, but nothing unmanageable.
All in all, Hat Mountain was considerably less pleasant than Eagle Peak the day prior. I was prepared for and expected these conditions, but it just felt longer than it really was. In part I was eager to dry out and head to Mt. Shasta for our Sunday-Monday attempt. Nevertheless, I would still recommend this route unless you are very averse to bushwhacking (which is unavoidable, a smaller bit is still required on the alternate route) and a short hike up loose stuff.
After a long few days of peakbagging, we had saved Hat Mountain as the easy, half day peak to wrap up, since we had a 6 hour drive back home afterword. The drive in was familiar, having just done Eagle a couple days prior, and we took what is considered the standard route, dropping 600 feet down to Lost Lake, with a portion of this being a bushwhack. Once on the other side of the Lake it is a steep climb up, mostly through forest, thankfully, as it was quite warm. The ground cover also gave good, solid footing for the ascent. Once the trees ran out we had to push through scrub which gradually got smaller and easier as we went higher. We visited the true high point first, then the point previously marked as the high point with Suttle's register second. On descent we stayed further right (east) which really worked well, we were in the forest longer and came out almost right at Lost Lake. The last climb of 600 feet back up to the car was hot and uninspiring.
I hiked this on with Al Sandorff after doing two NV p2k's (drive-ups) with him and Dean Molen earlier in the day.
Down to Lost Lake (no markers but stay close to stream). Then up through the forest. Best not to stray too far to the west. Signed both registers
Climbed the east face, a 2300' climb. Pretty neat local adventure for us.
Not difficult but a bit more than I had expected. Love this remote area and hope to go back sometime. Climbed Eagle the next day.
Climbed with derbilly. Several contending HPs on the summit, each with its own register.
A day of P2ks and CoHPs. Made it to Hays Canyon Pk, Hat and Eagle.
It was hot and the black flies were biting. Earlier in the day I hiked Star Peak in Nevada
It was fairly early in the morning when I did this one, having done Eagle Mtn (Modoc) the day before. There was a huge amount of people in the area and so I wanted to get this one done before most of them got up and started driving on the dirt roads (dust, lots of dust). I went down to the small lake and then up, fairly close to the tree line. I noted that Bob Packard had signed the register with green which indicated that Lassen County was the final county highpoint in California for him. Dennis Poulin, my companion for Eagle the day before had done Hat just two days prior after doing Star in Nevada on the same day. Yikes, what a day that was for him. Nice views but Eagle Mtn is more of a gem.
A very fun day with my son, tagging Hat and getting in some fishing. Climbed Eagle Peak in the late afternoon making for a very long day. Trip Report
An enjoyable time with plenty of cross country travel. Someone has put up orange surveyors tape along the faint trail along the stream that helped with the trip back to the car. I got Ingalls Peak (Plumas CoHP) later that day