Long Valley Peak Trip Report

4,906 ft

Began hiking from the carpark located just off I-8 at 5:45 AM. Decided this time to try an approach from the north side.

Found a decent (brush-free) route until the base of the mountain and then (wrongly) went up a gully in the hope that the brush would be less thick. Turned out that the branches were largely oriented horizontally rather than vertically - so making for very slow going. I actually at times walked on top of the foliage: it was THAT thick and I am light enough for the branches to hold my weight.

About 7-7:15 AM found a more clear path once on the north slope of the mountain itself, and, although the brush was still a hassle, it wasn't the horrific impediment I had just experienced.

Reached the summit (class 2 boulders) at about 8:30 AM and called home to announce my success. Beautiful sunny day (March 9, 2002) - visibility unlimited. I had the sensation that I earned this summit owing to the effort required in getting through the worst of the brush. Much more rewarding than standing on top of some highpoint in the cloud forest, with no view whatsoever, within Volcan Poas National Park the previous week in Costa Rica.

Ate my Butterfinger granola bar and had some butter rum flavor Life Savers (my favorite variety).

I chose to avoid the terrible bushwack further below in favor of finding the efficient route of descent I had discovered coming off of the subpeak a few weeks earlier. To this end I gingerly descended the summit rocky area and traversed through moderate brush to the subpeak (30-40 minutes). After a brief rest I gleefully located the cleared area and was back to the ORV road 30 minutes later.

The walk back to my car along the ORV road took 25 minutes since I was coming from the south side of the mountain.