Ascent of Chews Ridge on 2014-01-11

Climber: Dan Baxter

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, January 11, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Chews Ridge
    Elevation:5045 ft / 1537 m

Ascent Trip Report

I wedged this ascent in between a birding group outing Saturday in Monterey Bay, and a Sunday birding group outing along Panoche Valley back to Fresno.
Tassajara Road was easily found and well signed from Carmel Valley Road. The dirt road up may be tedious for a 2WD but quite doable. Just stay on Tassajara Rd past the Los Padres Natl. Forest boundary, and when less than a mile past the White Oaks campground you will top out on the ridge, where the gated dirt road to both the summit tower and the MIRA astronomy observatory begins (on your left, or to the east).
I drove to the gate at the junction of Tassajara Road and Chews ridge road. The gate was closed and locked. Even if open, however, I would have parked here just to avoid the potential hassle of being locked in, as happened to Bob Burd. The gate lock is one of those serious ones which neither the bolt cutter nor hack saw I carry would be useful.
It truly is a trivial walk, anyway. It took me 9 and a half minutes to walk up (GPS trip odometer 0.32 miles one way), and 5 mins 40 sec back, in the dark.
I parked at 4723' and the summit is only 5045', hence just a 322 ft gross and net elevation gain. (the topo implied the start was at 4880', but I'm using my own GPS unit). Beeline it read as 0.23 miles.
It was already well past sunset, and unexpectedly drizzling, so I cannot comment on the view.
With a headlight in the dark the tower appeared in good shape. It was of course locked up and unclimbable. I found the benchmark, as well as one of those typical wood register boxes on a pole that Forest Service often uses, but it was full of trash. I camped for free in the back of my Jeep at the nearby White Oak campground, where there was only one other party on this winder Saturday night. The campgroup is 6.4 miles from Tassajara/Cachagua Rd junction, and the Chews Ridge side road is 7.7 miles from Carmel Valley Road
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:322 ft / 98 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.6 mi / 1 km
    Route:dirt road to the lookout towere
    Trailhead:Gate on Tassajara Road  4723 ft / 1439 m
    Grade/Class:Road walk
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Drizzle, Cool, Breezy, Low Clouds
night walk in drizzle
Ascent Statistics
    Time:10 Minutes

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