Ascent of King Peak on 2015-06-07

Climber: Patrick Bergeron

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, June 7, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:King Peak
    Elevation:4088 ft / 1246 m

Ascent Trip Report

After being hoodwinked by incorrect Google Maps directions to Bear Mtn in Del Norte County, I gave up on that CoHP and devised an alternative hike on our way back to the Bay Area: King Peak, which you of course know as the county prominence peak for Humboldt County.

I had rented a Chevrolet Equinox for our whirlwind north Cali tour, expecting to encounter some rough roads. Its 6.9in ground clearance felt miles higher than my Audi's 4.2in clearance, and it had already come in handy for the drive between Mt. Eddy and Salmon Mtn. The drive along King Range Road to the Lightning Trailhead would continue that handiness.

Along King Range Road, we passed through several dried washouts that the 6.9in clearance barely managed. I suppose a normal passenger car could clear them after stopping the car and filling in the washouts with dirt. We had a very dry year this year. I imagine that on a normal year these washouts would pose a more formidable challenge. Just allot yourself extra buffer time to navigate the rough sections of road.

We pulled up at the Lightning Trailhead around 1130a to some crazy heat and even crazier mosquitoes. I HATE mosquitoes.

My soon-to-be fiancee (shh, don't tell her!) was still recovering from our trip to Mt Eddy two days prior. She's super fit and active, but hiking just takes a specialized muscle set that she just hadn't used much lately. Totally understandable. In any case, she offered to bravely guard the car and rest up while I did King Peak. I graciously accepted.

Did I mention it was hot as hell? And that the trailhead had mosquitoes galore? Gross. I booked it outta there as quickly as I could up the Lightning Trail. The first half of the trail follows switchbacks up the ridge and has decent tree cover. The top half is more exposed. The heat slowed me down considerably, but I still managed to top out in just over 1hr.

Route Details:
Mile 0.0: Begin at Lightning Trailhead
Mile 1.5: Signed intersection of the Lightning Trail and the King Crest Trail. Choose your own adventure; either trail takes you to the top. On the way up, I continued on the Lightning Trail, turning left (south). Then I did a lollipop, going around King Peak and coming back on the King Crest Trail.
Mile 1.7: Continue past Maple Camp. I spotted 3-4 flat areas tents. The creek, however, was dry as a bone. Not the best summer backpacking destination, I suppose.
Mile 2.3: Bear right following the sign to King Peak
Mile 2.7: Summit has a fun wooden deck/shade on top. And awesome views. I had brought a new register and left it beneath the wooden deck. If you make it up there, would love to know if it's still there... After topping out and taking a few photos <1> <2> <3> <4> <5>, I continued the lollipop route, going north after the summit.
Mile 3.2: Follow sign pointing back to Lightning
Mile 3.5: Arrive back at the same intersection from earlier (the one from Mile 1.5). Take the Lightning trail north/northeast, assuming you want to return to the trailhead :)
Mile 5.1: En fin
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1903 ft / 579 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1903 ft / 579 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1863 ft / 567 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1788 ft / 545 m; Extra: 75 ft / 22m
    Loss on way in:75 ft / 22 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:Lighting Trail; King Crest east
    Start Trailhead:Lightning Trailhead  2300 ft / 701 m
    Time:1 Hours 5 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1828 ft / 557 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1788 ft / 545 m; Extra: 40 ft / 12m
    Gain on way out:40 ft / 12 m
    Distance:2.4 mi / 3.9 km
    Route:Lightning Tr; King Crest west
    End Trailhead:Lightning Trailhead  2300 ft / 701 m
    Time:37 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Patrick Bergeron
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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