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Ascent of Old Man Mountain on 2020-08-02

Climber: Andrew Kirmse

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, August 2, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Old Man Mountain
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:7789 ft / 2374 m

Ascent Trip Report

After reading about the Fordyce Lake approach to Old Man Mountain, I thought my car had a better chance of making it in to Meadow Lake on the north side, despite the extra 90 minutes of driving. Google Maps put me on a terribly rocky unsigned road, which I soon abandoned. The correct approach is to take paved Forest Service Route 7 west past Webber Lake to Meadow Lake Road, signed for 10 miles to the lake. The first 6 miles are great, but then it becomes a slow, high-clearance rockfest.

Little did I know that the campground was infested with ATV enthusiasts, and people who like to blast dance music until 11:30pm. After a little bit of sleep, I got started at 6:30am, anticipating another hot day. After 2 miles on an ATV track, I was left facing a slabby landscape that led downward, past some lakes, and then up the other side to the peak, which looked impossibly rocky from here. I was very glad to have Bob Mclaughlin’s track with me, because finding one’s way up the cliff bands on the far side is difficult if you don’t know what to look for. I encountered a couple camping at a lake; when I said hello, the woman screamed her head off in surprise, but after she recovered she offered me some breakfast.

Upon reaching a high rocky knob, I noticed a trail cut into the face of the rock across from me, seemingly in the middle of nowhere after so much cross-country travel. This trail is key to easily reaching the saddle to the northeast of the peak. From there, the rocky sides of the peak itself, which looked so imposing from far away, were a relatively easy class 2 steep walk up. At the top I found a cairn and a rusted metal disc, perhaps part of a heliotrope, but no register. I encountered rusted metal pieces that looked like mining debris on the way back to camp.


Photos
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1889 ft / 575 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1400 ft / 426 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1889 ft / 575 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 489 ft / 149 m; Extra: 1400 ft / 426m
    Loss on way in:1400 ft / 426 m
    Distance:8.2 mi / 13.2 km
    Start Trailhead:Meadow Lake Campground  7300 ft / 2225 m
    Time:2 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:2 Hours 45 Minutes



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