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Ascent of Mount Gower on 2017-09-13

Climber: Jim Conant

Date:Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Gower
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:3103 ft / 945 m

Ascent Trip Report

I parked at the entrance to Mt. Gower Open Space Preserve at 3pm. It was a bit hot, maybe mid to lower 80s. That's when I noticed that the GPS track I had downloaded actually started about a mile to my south. No problem, I thought, I'll just hike over land until I intersect that track. I headed generally southeast over a small ridge where I hit the main trail. It turns out that turning right (away from Gower) is the way up, but I didn't know that. So I turned left and it gradually became clear that the trail was heading toward the parking area. I decided to bushwhack up the ridge to hit the GPS track and the main trail. I had to penetrate some thick vegetation lining the intervening creek, and then I climbed up through fairly sparse ground cover to reach the main trail at the top. From her I hiked toward Gower, pausing to take a refreshing break in the shadow of a boulder. Finally I reached the summit of False Gower, which really is a nice exposed view. True Mt. Gower doesn't look particularly impressive from False Gower, but I wanted to turn the red dot green, so I plunged ahead. The use trail along the top of the ridge wasn't too bad. However, once I started descending into a little valley in front of Gower, the vegetation became very thick and sometimes going 5 feet was a real chore. In addition I was wearing shorts, so I scratched up my shins pretty badly. It's best to aim for the south of the summit and approach from that direction. The sun was very low in the sky, so after a short break I turned around and approximately retraced my steps. The lay of the land leads you into the worst vegetation, so I had to backtrack and head south a few times to get around the densest patches. Finally, I made it back off of False Gower and onto a well-trodden trail pretty close to dusk. I hiked the trail, thankful for the cool night air, all the way back to the parking area and then down the road to my car. Got back to my car around 9pm. The bushwhacking near the summit slowed down the trip quite a bit!
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