|Rock Difficulty:||Class 3|
|Difficulty:||Mostly Class 2 with some Class 3 but one short Class 4 weakness|
The highest point of the Colonel Bob massif is one of the two rocky points east of the old lookout site. The two rocky points are spaced about 100 yards apart.
There are two ways to get to the eastern points. The most expeditious up-route is to take the trail to the lookout and when the trail reaches the saddle between the lookout summit and the eastern summits, leave the trail and descend a few feet into the basin on the north side. In early season this will be a moderate snow slope with good run out. In late season it is a rocky meadow slope.
Western Summit (4510 Point)
From the trail saddle you could descend the aforementioned basin ENE for about a fifth of a mile until directly below the 4510 benchmark summit and then climb up an easy Class 2 slope with some rocks and gullies to get below the summit rocks, which will require some Class 3 scrambling. Alternatively, from the lookout saddle after descending onto the north slope aim directly for ramps and ledges leading up to the 4510 point from just below the summit. This looks more straightforward than it really is due to unseen minor gullies, tree bands, and what turned out to be a lot less straight-line hiking than anticipated. All in all I think it’s a push versus just descending the basin all the way as decribed in the first sentence of this paragraph.
The 4510 benchmark is located on a lower rock between rocky blocks. The benchmark is about 5 feet below the highest rock point. Does this mean this summit is actually approximately 4515 feet? This would put this summit's height on par with 4517-ft Gibson Peak, the accepted (but perhaps conjectured) highpoint of the Colonel Bob Wilderness.
Eastern Summit Point (4480+ ft but potentially as high as 4519 ft based on map contours)
From the 4510 summit the rocky point farther east looks just as high and my theodolite showed strong evidence it is actually a bit higher. So I went over to climb it too. It looked simple to get to from the 4510 point, but...
Descend off the NE side of 4510 back to easier slopes. Work your way down to the notch just west of the eastern summit. The west wall of the east summit rising above the notch is not climbable. But if you descend the gully to the south about 20 vertical feet you can work your way over (east) 10 yards then back up a bit to reach the base of a steep vegetated weakness (not quite a gully). This steep weakness is doable as a free-climb but you need to use green-belays off of small trees, roots, and even grass clumps. Class 4 for about 10 feet. Once past the overhanging tree and its roots, move right across a steep slope 10 feet to easier ground. Circle counterclockwise around the summit block to find the easy way up its back side.
Return via the steep vegetated weakness. Note that there is another weakness a bit farther south down the gully. This other weakness is not quite as steep but about twice as long. It may be an option for the climb up and subsequently back down.
For the descent from the eastern summit point, you can go back up to the notch and work your way back over to the lookout trail. This would work. But I decided to descend down the south side back to the trail. I had hoped to angle down and right to hit the trail at about 3800 feet but I could not see an obvious way down through the steep trees where there would be a possible cliff. So instead I continued down and left all the way to 3450 feet in the lower basin very near the trail where I could hear talking from day-hikers on the nice slabs south of the basin drainage (Moonshine Flats). I crossed the creek and was back on trail. This down route off of Colonel Bob was brushier at the bottom than I would have liked but it’s a good quick descent route if you don’t mind a bit of brush. It took me about 30 minutes to descend not including the dinking around I was doing. For sure you'll be in an area of the wilderness not many folks venture to given its away from the trail.
No special gear neeed except ice axe in Winter, Spring, and Fall for the back-side snow traverse.