Ascent of South Yolla Bolly Mountain on 2019-08-25

Climber: Steve Walstra

Date:Sunday, August 25, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:South Yolla Bolly Mountain
    Elevation:8094 ft / 2467 m

Ascent Trip Report

Considering the long drive to the trailhead, you might as well hike the loop around (and over) the summit. A very fine map can be found at the Chico Hiking Association.

The ride to the trail head took slightly longer than expected. I had dueling GPSes, with my car-included Tom Tom system suggesting a more reasonable route than the stand-alone Garmin, which very much wanted to take the shortest, though hilly route. But following the obviously most-used roads will get you most of the way there. It was only at the last offshoot to the trailhead where the Garmin picked the correct route, which was steeper looking than expected, but clearly signed for Ides Cove.

Did not make it all the way, though. Reached a point where the road looked rougher than my trusted Mazda 3 needed to endure. I would soon discover that, had I gotten beyond there (which was entirely do-able), it would have been clear sailing all the way. But I've made the opposite mistake before, so erred on the side of caution considering I was pretty close to the trailhead for this short hike. Turned around and parked the car on the side of the road. A few minutes later I realized I was just below the "Horsepacker TH", and a bit under 3/4 of a mile from the Backpacker Trailhead (Ides Cove).

I had already decided to hike a loop around South Yolla Bolly, and the primary reason I'm posting is that every GPS track only has the "boring" route. I'm here to tell you that the loop is better. You'd be silly not to do the full loop since the hike is still shorter than the drive from I-5 to the TH and back.

Once at the TH proper, I signed in and took the counter-clockwise loop at the (unsigned but obvious) junction. I thought this guaranteed that the steepest parts of the hike would be on uphill segments, which I prefer. I think it turned out to be a wash, but there is something to be said for delaying the summit gratification.

The "longer" route gains its elevation pretty slowly, passing through nice forested and wetland sections. It's a different experience than the ridge, with several places to get water (or camp). A nice contrast to the summit ridge. Despite the several implied junctions on topo maps, the older connecting trails/roads are difficult to spot even with coordinates, so following the path most-taken will get you all the way around.

Visited West Knob (peak 7950) while coming up toward the summit from the west. Just before that, the trail up to a nearby gap (to the right of West Knob) is one of only two places where the trail peters out due to the many ways up the rocky slope. West Knob had no registers or benchmarks, but did have a nice place to take pictures of the upcoming summit. There was a sizable snow patch just below this lower summit. From there, along the ridge, fine views of Mt. Shasta and North Yolla Bolly/Black Rock Mtn are to be had (the last two which I'd tagged the prior day).

The South Yolla Bolly summit did indeed have fine views befitting its prominence. Did not see a register, and the location pointed to by the reference marker was not obviously higher than another location. No big deal--touched them all.

Followed the obvious trail back toward the parking area. Just as the Chico Hiking map suggested, the trail sort of peters out for the second time, but if you follow the gentlest downhill route the whole way, you'll miraculously hit a point with an obvious human-created rock fence encouraging you to turn right (downhill). You'll hit an old road (as found on Topo maps) which will take you right back to the parking area (assuming you go left in this CCW scenario).

Signed out at the trailhead and hiked the 3/4 miles back to the car. Even with the extra distance, it was only 7.5 miles with 2kft of elevation gain. Why would anyone not do "The Loop"?
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2070 ft / 630 m
    Total Elevation Loss:500 ft / 152 m
    Round-Trip Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2070 ft / 630 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1570 ft / 479 m; Extra: 500 ft / 152m
    Loss on way in:500 ft / 152 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route:South Yolla Bolly Loop
    Start Trailhead:Below Ides Cove  6524 ft / 1988 m
    Time:2 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4 km
    Time:1 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Steve Walstra
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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