Saturday, September 25, 2010

Castle Peak Hike

Castle Peak (elev. 9,103') is a remnant of an ancient volcano and its three turrets, easily visible from the I-80 freeway, are geologic icons of Donner Summit.

Today, 13 members of the Sac. Co. Hiking group drove up to Donner Pass/Boreal/PCT trail head to hike to the summit of Castle Peak. Six members turned around at Castle Pass and completed a moderately difficult 6 mile RT hike.

Seven members took the spur trail from Castle Pass to the summit of Castle Peak. After lunch at the top, we crossed the saddle to Basin Peak before descending to the trail head. The longer hike was extremely strenuous, although not technical, and involved a lot of bush-whacking across low growing shrubbery and loose rock. Slipping and falling was a common occurrence for some. The very tough 10 mile RT hike ascended approximately 2,000'.

Click on pic once/twice for enlarged view

The hiking group at the trail head. With temps in the mid-80s, it was a beautiful day for a hike.

Equestrians saddling up at the trail head

Beautifully groomed horses

Looking up to our destination from the trail head - a grueling 5 mile climb

Passing a serene pond

The trail crossed vast fields of drying mules ears. What a sight to see them earlier in full bloom.

The view of Castle Peak battlement from below Castle Pass

Zooming in with my 10x Power Shot at hikers at the top

Two hikers approaching Castle Pass Summit with Castle Peak beyond

Taking the spur trail from Castle Pass toward the Turrets. About 1 1/2 mile of strenuous hard-scrabble climbing lies ahead.

Basin Peak (left) sits across the saddle from Castle Peak. After summiting Castle Peak, we crossed the saddle to the peak then bush-whack our way down the slope to the PCT for the return trip.

On the way up, I pass two formations in the image of a minuteman and a hog ;-)

The north face of Castle Peak drops off a shear cliff

Zooming in on some hikers at the top

Looking north over the edge

Finally, at the top!

A couple guys at the top from Reno and Germany

View north toward Prosser Lake

View north along a ridge line

View west along saddle toward Basin Peak

The lads eating lunch at the top - Ward, Don, Mike B. and Frank

Man vs. Apple

A gutsy hiker climbs to the top of one of the turrets

Mike, Ward, and Don

Zooming in on Mt. Lola, the highest peak in Nevada County. I climbed it last year.

Looking down to Boreal Ridge Ski Resort where we started the hike

Hiking across the saddle toward Basin Peak

Passing a truncated pine shaped by the wind and weather

Looking back toward Castle Peak from Basin Peak

Sign on Basin Peak. Must be the elevation . . . appears about right.

Mike T. and Frank G. begin the tricky descent bush-whacking over shrubs and very loose terrain

Mike T. and Dorthy T. whacking down the mountain.

This was one tough hike. End of blog.

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