Cone Peak Trip Report

5,155 ft

About 1 1/2 years earlier I had attempted to climb Cone Peak while visiting my brother at his home in Pebble Beach just south of Monterey. I had been thwarted by a locked gate on the forest service approach road at about the 3,000 ft level. Since I had only a candy bar and a quart of water, I decided not to turn a 2 mile round trip into a 14 mile one ... and spent the day, appropriately, with Dale and his family.

What had motivated me to attempt this was the realization that here is a mountain a full vertical mile above sea level - and yet just three miles as the crow flies from the Pacific Ocean. Thereby the summit view "must" be spectacular. I resigned myself to re-attempt in the future with the interesting possibility of summiting at sunset for the unique vista that would afford.

Fast forward 1 1/4 years. Gordon MacLeod and Barbara Lilly are poised to be the first individuals ever to complete the California Fifty Finest List of the greatest prominence mountains in said state. They have just two left - Cobb Mtn and Cone Pk. Thereby I suggested to Edward that an invitation would be in order ... all of us participating in this "historic first".

After weeks of e-mail correspondence we all settled upon the weekend of May 18-19, 2002. This was not optimal for Edward and myself since we were slated to attempt the notorious Picacho del Diablo the following weekend - and we both prefer separating out-of-town climbing trips by a "spacer" weekend at home. Unfortunately the previous weekend of May 12 was not an option for Gordon as he had previous obligations at that time.

Anyhow, we all met at the Redwood Springs Campground before 9 AM and caravaned under a threatening sky to the trailhead some 5 miles up the (previously closed) forest service road. Richard Carey and Gail Hanna, both seasoned hikers, were also present for the occassion.

Gordon MacLeod and Barbara set the pace - which was slow but tolerable for my sake. Please note that Gordon is 77 and Barbara is 72. Among her accomplishments she has climbed both Denali and Mt Saint Elias! She is also a CA state completer insofar as county highpointing is concerned. Gordon is very sharp for ANY age.

The 1,450 ft gain over some 2 1/4 miles was accomplished in some 90 minutes and we all summitted simultaneously about 11 AM. The weather was not coorperating with a slight drizzle and an obscured view of the ocean with beach below. Fortunately just prior to the summit we did have good views of the coastline - and this was captured in at least one photograph.

I had brought champagne and a bucket of ice for the summit siesta. White chocolate raspberry almond cookies went perfectly with it. Everybody got a paper cupful except for Edward since he does not drink. In addition we each had our own separate snack and/or lunch food.

Several photographs were taken as this was indeed a most unique "first" as the completion of a prominence-based list.

It begain to rain more seriously and we all headed down wearing protective rainwear. On the drive back home there was no rain since mountains tend to be precursors of incoming storm systems - and the storm itself had yet to arrive.