Ascent of Brushy Sky High on 2012-04-21

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Date:Saturday, April 21, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Brushy Sky High
    Elevation:3196 ft / 974 m

Ascent Trip Report

The following trip report is obsolete for now since the 2015 fire cleared out the brush. May be helpful as a more adventurous route if the fire road becomes overgrown again. The fire road along the ridge is a much faster route.

On a previous try, I found that the pack trail leading from the Redbud TR to Brushy Sky High was almost non-existent on it's north end and ends in impenetrable brush. So I looked at Google Earth to see if there is a possible way to climb this peak from the Redbud TR. Naturally, the easy way to get to this peak from the south is blocked by private property.

Google Earth showed that a fire trail indeed leads to the peak but only for about 3 miles north along the main ridge. My plan was to take the Redbud Trail to where it bends north near the edge of Rocky Creek rim (3.1 miles), then drop into the creek with no trail and follow it south 3 miles to where I can climb up to the main ridge in an area with less brush (2.1 miles).

Leaving the Redbud trail, I managed to find the remnants of an abandoned road that leads through the brush towards the creek. A bit of a minor bushwhack until I could drop to the creek. Rocky Creek itself was wonderful if you can get past all the rock-hopping one has to do to follow this course. There is no trail and no indication anyone goes this way very often. Also had to cross the creek numerous times to easier travel. This all became quite tedious on the return trip when I was tired and hot.

I left the creek at a small gully that looked less brushy on Google Earth, then found an old abandoned road on the south bank that almost went all the way to the main ridge with the fireroad. Fought sections of brush on my way up (especially near the fire road), but it was an exciting sight to finally see my goal after 4 hrs of hiking. The last 1.85 miles to the summit was on the road that doesn't appear to have been maintained for the last 5-10 years. So it was a bit overgrown in places. But without it, the hike would have been horribly brushy.

After 5 hrs and 20 min and 8 miles, I was on the summit, the high point of the Cache Creek Wilderness Area. Great view of Mt. Konocti and Clear Lake. Cell Phone reception on the summit and along the main ridge. The benchmark was there and a large rock cairn that had a little space for a register, but the register was gone.

It was a bit of a struggle on the way back because it was getting hot (near 90 degrees). I ran out of the 4 liters of water I brought, so I had to filter more water from Rocky Creek, which was running quite well this time of year. However, if it was running significantly higher than it was, I would have had more trouble trying to pick my way long this gorgeous creek canyon. I worried about cattle upstream on the private land. Cattle are notorious for pooping in their watering holes. I was hoping not too much E coli in the creek because I don't think my water filter stops bacteria.

Rocky Creek has a tremendous amount of serpentine rock, a nice green color but slippery because much of it was smooth and shiny. I found my way back to the trail and dragged my body the last 3 miles on trail back to the car, 10 hrs and 50 min round trip.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2796 ft / 851 m
    Extra Gain:300 ft / 91 m
    Round-Trip Distance:16 mi / 25.7 km
    Route:Redbud TR to Rocky Creek to fireroad
    Trailhead:Redbud Trailhead  1000 ft / 304 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 35 Minutes

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