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Ascent of Cottonwood Peak on 2021-09-26

Climber: Eric Noel

Others in Party:Bobby Boxer
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, September 26, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Cottonwood Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:6608 ft / 2014 m

Ascent Trip Report

Access is not public but not a significant issue currently. The turnoff to the Jilson Mine starts my track and there are no gates. When you cross into Section 25 at 3600' (refer to USFS map for contours in feet and more recent road mapping) there is a tiny sign for the Michigan California Timber Company indicating no motorized vehicles but with no limitation on trespassing. Very strange sign, it's tiny and off to the side like they don't really want to keep you out. Perhaps the road features a public right-of-way as it goes to and through scattered Klamath NF and BLM parcels though the area is predominantly private timberland. I continued, you can decide for yourself, but other TRs didn't seem very concerned. Not sure who owns the various timberland parcels, including the summit, but there is no other signage of any kind. I wouldn't visit on a weekday but that's just me. Anyway, the road is surprisingly good. Call it high clearance but I think most SUVs or crossovers could make it. There are a few scattered large rocks but at worst you'd have to move these out of the way and the roadbed is quite good. Steep in spots, I don't think you need 4WD but opinions will vary. The road is narrow and thus the peak is probably best done outside of hunting season as I encountered a few hunters in trucks and passing can be tricky. Parking is limited but fine to get off the road.

From the parking spot, I worked up and left, aiming for the shade of the mature timber. But I wound up angling back right and working my way up on a mix of boot paths, game trails, old logging or bulldozer tracks, or seams of dirt. It improved as you ascend and is moderately steep but not steep steep. You get a decent view of the route which is funneled by the larger timber on both sides and the ridgeline above. Upon hitting the ridgeline, I went left but this soon had some rock formations so I traversed left at 6500' before hitting a better ramp of forest up to the top. The highest ground is perhaps a dozen feet past the BM. I was the fourth party of the year, two groups of peakbaggers and a recent hunting party. Reversed the route and improved on my ascent route on the lower section as I tracked further W and this was more direct and better avoided the brush. That W track is reasonably good to follow. It's a little grunt of a hike but short.

I did spy on the USFS map and the aerials that this road network circles counter clockwise all the way to the W side of the summit at 6200' which would perhaps shorten the hike but I leave it to others to see how the access and roads are on that and the extra drive time would offset much of the hiking time savings.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:888 ft / 270 m
    Extra Gain:40 ft / 12 m
    Round-Trip Distance:2 mi / 3.2 km
    Route:Clearcut in NE Basin
    Trailhead:Roadside  5800 ft / 1767 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles, Animal/Pet
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Smoky
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Eric Noel
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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