Given its proximity to the Pine Ridge Trail this peak sees infrequent visitors based on the register entries. The result is no use trail and a bushwhack. Summit register located at the southeast end of the peak. The views are worth the shwack to the top.
Northwest slope from the Pine Ridge Trail.
We left the Pine Ridge Trail a few hundred feet before the Black Cone Trail junction but soon turned back because the brush was too thick for our liking (we are Ventana bushwhacking novices) and didn't look to get any thinner ahead. So we headed a short distance back down the Pine Ridge Trail (away from the Black Cone Trail junction) and then headed up again, choosing a steeper aspect that looked to have more trees and less brush. Fortunately, soon after leaving the PR trail for the second time we came across a faint use trail/game trail that led to a campfire ring just below the summit plateau. From that point, we pushed through 50 feet of horrendous brush then scrambled up some loose dirt and rocks to the summit plateau.
From the top it looked like there might be a promising route on the southwest slope back down to the Black Cone Trail, but we didn't chance going down that way, as we did not know the state of the Black Cone Trail.
It was a sweet Ventana adventure, and the views from the top are awesome. Someday I'll try for the Ventana Cone once I forget how much I hate bushwhacking.
I enjoyed the views along the way and from the peak. If I head back to the Tassajara Road area again, I may opt to spend more time exploring Pine Valley and less time bushwacking to reach summits. As I already knew from previous experience and from reading, the non-burned off-trail chapparal areas of the Ventana can be almost impenetrable. The family and I stopped by the Chews Ridge lookout on the way out the next day.
Dayhike in from China Camp to Ventana Cone, then over to South Ventana Cone. Very cloudy most of the day. The CCC was in the process of cutting back and clearing the trail portion, had completed the first four miles or so.
Very nice but very long day hike from Big Sur Station. Bushwhacked up from the Black Cone Trail, but I did a terrible job of route selection on the way down and ended up being scratched and coated in resin and leaves.
Bushwhacked up from the Black Cone Trail, not far from the Pine Ridge Trail junction. Really enjoyed the views.
Hoo - boy. Finally successful at tagging all three of the peaks along Pine Ridge in one long, 20hr dayhike with Michael Graupe. Trip Report
Quite cold in November, quite hot in January. (Jan trip was with Bob/Matt below.)
Pics from the Nov trip are here
Hiked with Bob both times. It was hot both times.
The route gets a little harder each year as the chaparral grows back that ravaged the northwest side of the peak some five years ago. Trip Report