Turned out to be an extremely hot day. "Yesterdays high: 102 F". Dayhiked from chaparral TH to Balconies caves, down W fork Chalone Creek to cholone TH and back to Chaparral. Climbed up some large rocks and boulders for fun. I will totaly have to return here some day for some more hiking and climbing. Chalone peak is also looking like a nice winter dayhike. Get an early start. The parks opening time at 7:30 is almost still too late to beat the summer heat on long hikes.
I went twice in March of 2005 with my brother and law and our wives. The wives did the caves and then waited for us to return from the High Peaks Loop. The shuttle is worth taking when the upper parking lots are full during the peak season as we were passed by a few shuttles while hiking up to the Bear Gulch Visitor Center from the overflow parking area (a scenic 1-2 miles extra). Pinnacles is an exhilerating and scenic place to be on a nice Spring day with a variety of hikes and climbs to satisfy all ability levels. Bring sandals for the caves in the Spring as there is often running water/creekbed (ankle deep in one spot) through the talus caves.
I've finally made it over to the Pinnacles and been there three times this month. It's a very cool place.
Lots of spring color on the loop, no one else on trail during the week. Approx 10 mile loop, stream crossings @ 25. 4:30 total time
love this place - high peaks trail is great and so is the climbing on the east side - seconded some easy stuff though I forget the names of the routes and the wall we were on. also plenty of class exposed class 3/4 stuff in the high peaks area for practice, just watch the portable handholds and raptor closures.
I never get tired of hiking at Pinnacles. Every trip I find something new. I've been here many times, but this is the first time I drove into the East Entrance.
A fun weekend outting with my wife and children. As well as hiking the trails, we did some easy lead climbing at The Sisters and some more difficult routes top roped at the Toprope Wall and Tourist Trap. Lounging around the pool at the campground during the heat of the day was also quite fun. You won't have to worry about bears here, but you will share your campsite with the wild pigs during the night and the Magpies during the day.
Free soloed about 20 feet of first pitch of Old Original Machete Ridge before bailing due to moss and water. Decided to circumnavigate the base of Machete Ridge and decscended the east gully down to Balcones Caves. Mostly 3rd class occasional 4th, and about 10 feet traverse of 5 easy across a moss covered slab.
1.5 hours. Finished off with Balconies caves and cliff trails.
Checked out the Balcony caves on a Saturday and then on Sunday did the High Peaks Trail in the rain. Lots of cool caves and rocks.
Been to Pinnacles 3 times now. Nice area. Still no summit of Hawkins Peak (aka Tuff Dome) though the Regular Route (5.6) is supposed to be a Pinnacles Classic. Perhaps next time I'll be able to write that I reached the summit!
25 May 03: Discovery Wall: The Cleft (5.6) free solo; High Peaks Trail
20 Apr 03: Discovery Wall: The Cleft (5.6), Ordeal (5.8)
10 Oct 98: Juniper Canyon, High Peaks, and Tunnel Trails
Oct. 1998 - Hiked from the east side to west side and back via Old Pinnacles and Balcony Caves and Balcony Cliffs trails. Took a side trip along the North Wilderness Trail
Nov. 2001 - Took wife and daughter to west side of park and looped through Balcony Caves and Balcony Cliffs trail
Dec. 2002 - To the highest point in the park, North Chalone Peak.
Reached the summit in record time. Great and beautifully warm day. Caves were very dry. Very dusty trails. Needed lots of water.
Pinnacles was my winter stomping grounds when I live in San Jose. The very unique rock is a lot of fun to climb on. Decent trail running too.
2015- Climbed Salathe route on "the Hand", 5.7
2014- Climbed Portent 5.7 and "Cock Rock" 5.7
2006- Climbing the Discovery Wall near Bear Gulch
The rock is surprisingly solid depite its crumbly appearance.
2004- Condor Gulch to High Peaks to Bear Gulch
Finally did the high peaks trail, very interesting exposed footsteps chiseled into solid rock. Bear Gulch caves closed for bats. Endless hidden nooks to explore and scramble, sooooo much fun!
1999- Chalone Camp to High Peaks
A wonderful place. Bear Gulch caves were closed at the time due to El Niño floods.