Ascent of Cone Peak on 2017-03-01

Climber: Marcus Lostracco

Date:Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cone Peak
    Elevation:5155 ft / 1571 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove up from San Diego on Tuesday February 28th - life without a job for a month allows for spontaneous weekday adventures. I was hoping to access Highway 101 within Big Sur, camp at Kirk Creek CG and then take the Vicente Flat trail up to Cone Peak. Well I soon found out on arrival in Big Sur, Nacimiento-Fergusson Rd was closed from the Coast Ridge trail and beyond. I did attempt to drive past this spot where the sign was, and the road was driveable in my Tracker. However, I drove down it for about 30 minutes and was not making much progress and I got worried that I could potentially get stuck with no way to turn around. When you're solo with no cell service and it's dark in a new place - these types of fears enter your psyche. So I took the next opportunity to turn back around and drive back up to the Coast Ridge trail and camp by the side of the road for the night.

I slept better than expected - not a single car drove by all night. I threw my trail runners on and got my pack filled and hit the trail around 9am. A California Wildlife Preservation truck pulled up to the road closure sign as I was about to start the hike. I spoke with the young lady for a bit, telling her I had tried to drive down. It was her intention to go down to the water to observe the California Condor - a critically endangered species of vultures. I took off up the trail - which was actually just a fire road - Forest Route 22S05, according to Gmaps. This road is not driveable even w/ high-clearance 4x4 - a lot of fallen trees.

It was 7.5 miles from the TH to the summit. From 2800ft up to 5100ft. Not quite the Sea-level to 5,000 feet hike that I had hoped to do, but it was still a fun experience. The fireroad was a bit mundane, but good for running. I made it to the top in about an hour 45, spent about 30 minutes on the summit, and then ran down for a total of 3h45m RT. From the road you exit to a single-track trail for about 2 miles up to the summit. This was the only interesting part of the hike. There was some snow near the top. Crazy to be in California, standing on snow and looking into the ocean. Pretty unique peak standing only a mile or so from the coast (as the crow flies) and standing over 5000 feet. Great views, but I didn't feel too great on the summit. I felt a bit lonely, didn't really appreciate the peak enough. I was looking forward to seeing my friends in SF and my brother the next day. I imagine the hike from the water would be spectacular.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2655 ft / 809 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2955 ft / 900 m
    Round-Trip Distance:15 mi / 24.1 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
beautiful day
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2655 ft / 809 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2355 ft / 718 m; Extra: 300 ft / 91m
    Loss on way in:300 ft / 91 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route:Forest Route 22S05
    Start Trailhead:Coast Ridge Trail  2800 ft / 853 m
    Time:1 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2655 ft / 809 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route:Forest Route 22S05
    End Trailhead:Coast Ridge Trail  2500 ft / 762 m
    Time:1 Hours 0 Minutes

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