Covill and I Martinizing... beautiful thing. F150 behaved like a champ too...
I was able to drive my 2WD Hyundai Santa Fe all the way to the summit from the west on Clear Creek Road (R1) without too much problem. There are a few steep spots, but the road isn't too loose or rocky, so it's doable without lots of clearance or 4WD. Didn't see anyone else once I was inside the gated area.
Came back a second time with a friend so he could get the county high point. Followed up with San Carlos, Idria Peak and Sampson Peak.
Clear day, no troubles.
Thanks to the beta from David Sanger below we did this one without any trouble. With Jobe and Dick, lots of driving and very little hiking to pick up the San Benito COHP along with 3 bonus CC peaks. 4x4 vehicle was a big help, drove all the way to the summit on San Benito and to within a couple hundred vertical feet on the others. TR is HERE.
Got permits online, then called Hollister BLM office for combo for the locked gate.
Came in via Clear Creek Road, off Coalinga Road, 16 miles off Hwy 25 south of Hollister. Had 4WD to the summit but road condition was good.
details at BLM site
and to buy permits
One more Toyota powered ascent for me.
Came to tag a bunch of other summits in the area, but made a second visit to the highest one. The Management Area is still closed but ungated, at least via the New Idria entrance. Trip Report.
Hiked this one from the turnout from Mexican Lakes Road. About 2 miles RT. We hiked it at night due to the closure of the Clear Creek area. There was only one sign indicating road closures past New Idria. Roads were passable with high ground clearance. New Idria was interesting and a little creepy.
Drove right up to the summit block with 4WD, was in no mood to hike after a midnight excursion up Table Mountain/Kings County the night/morning before.
The mountain is still closed due to asbestos, but when it's covered in snow, there isn't much to worry about. I had failed to summit Big Pine Mountain the prior day (1.5 ft of snow toward the top and the days are short), so had to "settle" for this one instead. Was surprised to find so much snow in Clear Creek--the treeless sections looked like ski slopes. The snow was only half a foot deep at the peak, so the hiking was not too bad.
Came in from just above New Idria since my Mitsubishi Eclipse is not so good on snow. I also didn't want to draw attention either way. Took a less-used route up (judging by the complete lack of tracks in the snow), but came down the standard way most people come up. This was helpful, because a couple trucks had driven to the peak in the prior two days (since it snowed), so could move faster hiking in their tracks. 14 miles RT.
Everything on the summit was covered in snow. Took the obligatory picture on the nice summit block, but could not find the corresponding USGS market, even with the coordinates. Cleared a few flat spots, but eventually gave up as I didn't want to spend any more time dallying around than was necessary.
I hiked the last mile up the road, but could have driven
I was doing this HP and my Dentist was on the MTN. I did'nt even know he was into HPing. if that was'nt a little strange.
Bonus peak after San Benito was San Carlos. Found an old vertical mine shaft that was _very_ deep.
Drove up from New Idria to below the top, hiked the last mile. New Idria is one of the creepiest places on the planet.
After being stymied by a landowner in Parkfield we decided to make our way to San Benito. I was glad we had taken Mike's jeep since the road was muddy and steep in a few spots. San Carlos, an ok hike had no views due to the high brush at the top.
Came out with some friends from work, they were interested in the drive. My little 4x4 Suzuki Sidekick doesn't have a very large gas tank (8 gallons), so had to carry gas in a gas can and fill up on the drive up! This place is REMOTE!
Could have driven all the way to the summit, but chose to hike the last mile, making for an easy 2-mile roundtrip stroll and about 800 feet elevation gain. View from the summit was great all around.
Came back for a second trip in the summer of 2002 and hit the summit again, and picked up all the geocaches in CCMA while on that visit. Nice area to visit, would return.
Lots of motorcycles, though, and the noise was a bit annoying. A couple dudes on bikes came riding right up to the summit while I was there. How obnoxios!
Pretty fun day of navigating the maze of dirt roads that is the Clear Creek Management Area. We got to the highpoint in the fog, with no view at all. We then drove further to Wright Mountain and biked our way towards the Joaquin Rocks, yet failed to get to them. I'll be back soon.
Sounds like I did a route almost the same as Matt, below. I was bummed that I failed so miserably on Laveaga Peak in the morning, but this was a nice consolation. Trip Report
Man, missed out on my own first signing :-) We parked just above New Idria and made a 14-15 mile hike out of it. We went up on R010 on the ridge south of San Carlos Creek and down on T156 on the north ridge, checking out San Carlos Peak on the way back. Very interesting place, lots of exploring.
I'll be the first to sign the climbers log. This was CA county high point #9 for me. It was a fun day trip out exploring. I found the abandoned town of New Idria interesting with warning signs all over about not stopping and audio and video monitoring. I parked my car at a road junction and hiked the last mile - mile and a half to the summit. There is a rockpile to climb up on to get the highest point. Stopped and had a soda and learned some of the history of New Idria at the store mentioned before heading home. I'll post some picture if I can find them