Modoc County Highpoint Trip Report

Eagle Peak (9,892 ft)

Date: September 24, 2005
Author: Peter Maurer

We may have bagged this peak on the last summer-like weekend of the year, with winter storms on the horizon. A strong wind creating dust storms across the dry lakes south and east of the Warners and cold misty rain falling on the drive up 395 left us wondering if we would be able to attempt the climb but we woke up at camp at the Mill Creek Falls trail head with clear skies, although the puddles from the previous night were frozen. The route is straight forward, as described in Suttle’s book, over well-maintained and signed trails. There was a brief confusion at Poison Flat due to the crisscrossing of cattle paths in the meadow but keep the marshy area to your left and the exposed lava to your right and a clear trail heading into the woods reappears.

From Poison Flat it is a long, steady climb, through fir and pine forests, with clumps of aspen in the meadow off to the north. The trail breaks out into the meadow and steepens as it approaches the base of the mountain. Just before the Poison Flat trail hits the Summit trail, it veers off to the east (right).

We struck out there up the fall line, winding our way through a steep hillside of sage and mules ear. The further to the west one stays, the less of a grade, but it was fairly easy going most of the way. Once up on the shoulder, it is a straight shot along the ridge line and even when one hits the white bark pine forest at the top, they are fairly openly spaced and it is easy to make your way through them. Near the summit we hit snow from the night before and it must have blown horizontally since it was stuck to the sides of the trunks on one side. Must have been nasty up there! The top is deceptive, one thinks he's reached the top, only to find it continues on for a couple hundred yards more. This happens several times.

Finally reaching the summit in about 4 1/2 hours, a stiff, cold wind was blowing off the desert to the east. The register held lots of familiar names, including Ken Jones of Washington who had summitted two weeks earlier.

There were long views of the Modoc Plateau, desert ranges to the east, and Hat Mountain (the next day's target) to the south. It was too hazy to see Lassen or Shasta but we knew they were out there to the west.

We returned via the same route, with a total round trip of 16 miles in about 8 1/2 hours.