Ascent of Cahto Peak on 2012-11-24

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Date:Saturday, November 24, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cahto Peak
    Elevation:4233 ft / 1290 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drive route: In Laytonville, turn west onto Branscomb Road off of Hwy 101 and drive 2.4 miles to where the road takes a 90 degree turn to the south. Take the unsigned road west off of Branscomb Road in this turn. Follow it 0.7 mile to the Cahto Peak Road sign and keep going straight. This sign says 3.3 miles to public land, 4.2 miles to a locked gate, and 4.3 miles to the Black Oak Mtn trail. Sure enough, it was 4.2 miles to the locked gate where I parked. The dirt road to the gate is steep in places, but well-graded enough for passenger cars.

Hike route: Walk around the gate and follow it one mile to the summit of Cahto Peak. There was a poor jeep trail off to the left about 0.1 mile into the hike. It was unsigned, but is likely the beginning of the Black Oak Mtn trail. The summit of Cahto peak has been flattened to accommodate the radio facility on the summit. Does have a good view of Iron Peak off the the NE, another California 2000 ft prominence peak.

I next followed the road north to the next radio facility where the high point of the South Fork Eel River Wilderness is, located at about 4200 ft (called Cahto Peak-North Slope on peakbagger). The brush was a bit thick to tromp around the 4200 ft contour where the unsigned boundary of the wilderness area exists. For a bonus peak, I continued north cross-country to Signal Peak. I came across a road at yet another radio facility, this one much smaller. I followed this road 0.1 mile to where it turned SE, and continued north cross-country down to a saddle in light to moderate brush. There was a small stream running in this area. From the saddle, I followed the SE ridge of Signal peak to the summit area. The trees are pretty thick so there is not much of a view. There were 3 small rock out-croppings along the top, anyone of which could have been the high point. There was no indication of previous visitation, so I left small rock ducks on the 2 rocks I thought would be the most likely high point.

On the return I followed the SE ridge back down and found the old jeep road in the marshy open area called Stoten Opening. This jeep old is much more apparent once out of the march area, and is probably the track that is called the Black Oak Mtn Trail. This road/trail took me south back to the main Cahto Peak Road and my car. The entire loop was about 4.2 miles and 700 feet of gain total.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:333 ft / 101 m
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:333 ft / 101 m
    Distance:1 mi / 1.6 km
    Route:Cahto Peak Road
    Start Trailhead:Locked gate on road  3900 ft / 1188 m
Descent Statistics

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