Ascent of Loma Prieta on 2014-02-15

Climber: Eric Noel

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, February 15, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Loma Prieta
    Elevation:3786 ft / 1153 m

Ascent Trip Report

I used the standard route from the South. From Hwy 17 take Summit Road heading E. Take the turnoff on Mount Bache Road. That turns into Loma Prieta Way and then Loma Prieta Road. Dirt but Prius compatible. I parked at the Loma Prieta Road turnoff which has plenty of space to park.

From here I just walked the road to the summit but the trick is that it is negatively signed four times. At the turnoff you pass through a gateless gate which specifies authorized person and vehicles only. This is a surprisingly busy road with a car every few minutes. At the saddle turnoff you'll find another sign that specifies that this is the Open Space Preserve and is closed to all people. If you continue on, turning quickly onto the summit road, you'll find an American Tower sign and gate that says No Trespassing. Continuing on past the switchback, you'll find a formidable gate with no trespassing signs. Bypassing this gate probably involves bushwhacking a bit uphill or downhill around a chain link fence. On this day, the gate was open. It was open because there was a tower worker on top. I quickly went from ascent to descent. I felt the highest ground was just S of the Northern most tower complex but whatever. As I descended, I spotted what appeared to a cop car waiting well below at the open space sign. I made a phone call to alert someone in case I was going to take a detour to the Santa Cruz County jail. Then proceeded down and took my chances.

After passing through to the other sign of the Open Space sign the cop car rolled up but it was actually an Open Space Ranger rather than a cop. He asked me if I lived here and I said no. He asked what I was doing and said I didn't belong there. Since I was now below all but the first sign I said that I had thought that applied to the adjacent land but not the road itself. He asked for my ID which I said was in my car. I said my car was down below the gate and he appreciated that I had not driven up and had at least walked. He said a lot of ORV types go past the signage but at least I was walking. He let me off with a warning and proceeded on. I noted several other ranger encounters in comments on the summitpost page so this area is fairly heavily patrolled. Also there are a lot of locals on the first road, but not the second. Since this is basically a roadwalk, you could adapt your schedule to a more discreet time of day. Or whatever.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:726 ft / 221 m
    Round-Trip Distance:4 mi / 6.4 km
    Trailhead:Loma Prieta Way  3060 ft / 932 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Overcast

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