Ascent of Horse Mountain on 2013-03-24

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, March 24, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Summit:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Horse Mountain
    Elevation:1920 ft / 585 m

Ascent Trip Report

A tedious bushwhack with dubious rewards. This "peak" is on the California Coastal Peak list I ran across on Bob Burds website.

Drove up a steep dirt road 1 mile that connected King Peak Rd with Horse Mtn Ridge Rd near Horse Mtn Campground. A gated road leads south from here out towards Horse Mtn. The road is in poor shape and is really just a trail now. But there is fantastic views of the ocean from the road.

This is one of the few peaks I've actually climbed "down" to the summit. Horse Mtn is at the end of a ridge and appears to be more of a bluff that stands out over the ocean than a true mountain. After about 1 mile the road switchbacks to the NW dropping some more. I could see an inviting grassy knoll surrounded by trees out on the summit of Horse Mtn. Unfortunately, there's a half-mile of thick brush between me and the grassy knoll.

When I was NE of the peak I struck out from the old road and began fighting my way through the brush. I was reduced to hands-and-knees crawling a few times to get through some tall manzanita. Then I found myself in a small poison oak patch in which the vines were just starting to sprout new leaves to torment the oblivious bush-whacker. No telling how many PO patches I pushed through before I figured out what to look for. Luckily there was not too many more PO patches on my way to the peak.

Upon finally making it to the summit and the grassy knoll I was disappointed to find I had almost no view of the ocean or anything else due to many tall trees. Could find nothing that marked the summit, which was really just a broad bump out at the end of the ridge. After the nasty fight with the brush I just wanted to get out of there, and wash off any PO I might have got on me.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:600 ft / 182 m
    Extra Gain:100 ft / 30 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3.2 mi / 5.1 km
    Route:NE ridge
    Trailhead:Horse Mtn Ridge Road  1520 ft / 463 m
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack

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