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Ascent of Observation Peak on 2014-09-01

Climber: Dan Baxter

Date:Monday, September 1, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Observation Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:7964 ft / 2427 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove up Observation Peak easily in my Jeep. The lookout is still manned by Will, who has been seasonally at this lookout for ten years. He is extremely personable, and quite knowledgable about the environs, the human history , the natural history. I ended up talking to him for over an hour and thoroughly enjoyed it.

I was happy to find that past reports of the horrors of the road were unfounded. Yes, the road is a little rocky at places, and one needs high clearance and yes I used 4WD. But Will reports that the road is the finest its been in his ten years there. He himself has created a drag line that he uses behind his truck to eliminate wash boarding, and he stated he often works "chain gang style" on the road himself. Further, there was a big fire two years ago which encompassed both Observation and Hot Springs Mtn (I remember it well, I failed then to include these two peaks on a peakbagging tour in the area). Graders improved the road at the time of the fire.

I drove past a pronghorn antelope on the drive, as well as two chukars. The terrain is quite open, especially after the last fire (Will remembers three on the mountain in his tenure). Most of the mountain mahogany forest is now charred skeletons. Will reports seeing two near-tame bobcats on the drive, and often spots one mountain lion. An elk was hit on the nearby highway recently.

I noted the tower road to be 6.8 miles. The road was much easier than the approach to Hot Springs Peak the day before, which had sharper rocks as well as much steeper edges.

There is a register in the classic red can under the edge of the tower.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:20 ft / 6 m
    Trailhead:Road end at summit  7944 ft / 2421 m
    Grade/Class:Drive up then 1 minu
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)



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