Recovering from knee surgery. Good time to bag a peak using my car
The new trail from the Bald Mountain parking area to the summit is one of the nicest trails in the Bay Area. It's well maintained, nicely shaded but with spectacular views.
Knowing that I'm leaving the area soon, my friend at the Umunhum Conservancy invited me along on a supporter's visit. So glad to legally get this summit, even though I drove to the top. The plans for the top look nice and there will be a 4.5 mile multi use trail to the summit from Bald Mountain parking for those don't think driving to the top is a true summit. :D
This, my latest visit, was about 43 years- almost to the day- after my previous one in 1974. Nice brand new trail. Sure beats all that bushwhacking we did back in the day!
First time was in March, 1970 With my younger brother after a long hike from our house in Almaden Valley. Trip Report
Second time in November, 1974 with a couple of friends. We were briefly pursued by a military vehicle with a siren and we plunged down the north face on some steep scree to escape.
Made it all the way to the final gate, which was locked, under the monolith (http://www.panoramio.com/photo/16500563) and decided to turn back. Up to that point there were no locked gates, and only a couple of "AREA CLOSED" signs, but when I got to the gate there were SEVERAL security cameras, lights, sensing equipment, and large, unmistakable NOT TRESPASSING signs that gave off a military/government vibe and made me feel very uncomfortable proceeding. So I took a few photographs of the amazing view, and turned back. It was a hot sunny day, with clear skies, and beautiful views. A great hike, except for the hillbilly I ran into that screamed his head off at me.
Halfway back down a white pickup truck suddenly appeared from the southern Mt. Umunhum Rd gravel road/trail (https://goo.gl/maps/Eqq2B). The driver stepped on the gas, and pretended to run me over. I didn't panic, so he slid to a halt on the gravel next to me, and started yelling "What the FUCK are you doing here???" over and over again, spittle flying from his mouth. He looked like a bearded Wozniak, with a grey Santa beard (but in a bad way).
I told him "Leaving. Right now." (I was on my out anyway) but he stepped out of the pickup and continued his maniacal rant, interspersing a few "Can't you read the fucking signs???" inbetween. He pressed his face against mine and continued yelling. Eventually he must've gotten tired of it, and after telling him again that I am leaving, and won't be back, he stepped aside and let me continue walking down, following me with his pickup truck down along the road, probably to make sure I wouldn't turn around as soon as he was out of sight.
The rest of the walk back down to the parking lot was uneventful.
I'll come back when it opens to the public in a couple of years.
Went up with a film crew and Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District staff. Summit trail from Bald Mountain parking lot is being built and is expected to open to the public in October 2016
Took the road all the way up to avoid the marijuana farms. We got busted by the very kind rent-a-cop just below the summit. Major bummer. At least he was as friendly as he was obstinate. We got no citation, just redirected back down the hill. It was a fun attempt nevertheless.
Tried twice to see how close I could legally climb to the peak – once in perhaps 2008 along the ridgeline from El Sombroso to Mt Thayer; there was a trail with freshly clipped vegetation on each side up to a geocache just before an “Area Closed” sign. Burd (below) once continued on from there and wrote “there was no way I could recommend the route to anyone”.
Back around 2002 my younger brother and I started from just above Guadalupe reservoir and climbed up Guadalupe Creek for 1,000 vertical feet or so, then cut right up the ridge until we were stopped by a headwall of poison oak. It made for a wonderful back-county climb, but we saw two abandoned marijuana farms on the way up – given the current arms escalation by the growers there’s no way I would take that route again.
The NE Ridge has not been an illegal route for quite some time unless your plan is to go though the summit fence; these were the words of a ranger in the lower lot. I ran into the doppler radar property owner after summiting; he stated that it's not illegal to walk up the road passed the locked gate as long as you stay on the road or the marked trails. You have a much greater chance of having problems if you bush whack from the based due to illegal marijuana cultivation, or if you park off the road outside the main lot; the ATF might think you are a grower and search your car and bend you over. If anyone is interested in actual route info, PM me as I suspect that SP will squish a sneak peak description even though this is arguably not a sneak peak... it's actually a fun scramble with only a bit of bush.
Some bushwhacking, a bit of trespassing, and eventually a visit to the concrete monolith. Trip Report
This peak was a large part of my adolescence. Many stealth ascents over the years. Great place.