Four Lakes Loop via Swift Creek

The easternmost part of the Trinity Alps is informally known as the Red Trinities due to the distinctive red rock present in this region. However, within the red rock is a section of white granite that is akin to the White Trinities to the west across the Stuart Fork of the Trinity River. This “island”…

Pick Creek Loop 2018

Pick Creek is a spectacular rugged creek that is a classic of the Ventana Wilderness. The centerpiece is stunning Pick Creek Falls which shoots over a ledge with an 80 ft free-fall into a large, clear pool surrounded by lovely grove of old growth Santa Lucia Firs. Just downstream of Pick Creek Falls is a…

Sea to Sky to Valley and Back: Stone Memorial Loop

Silver Lupine, Stone Ridge and Cone Peak The Stone Ridge Sea to Sky is a classic Big Sur route from the Pacific Ocean to the summit of Cone Peak ascending over 5,000 feet in a little over 5 miles. The Carrizo Trail combined with the North Ridge is the interior version of Stone Ridge Sea…

The Drain via Cabezo Prieto

“The Drain” is an aesthetic and spectacular route that ascends from the depths of the Ventana Creek Cirque to the summit of Ventana Double Cone in the most rugged coastal terrain of the lower 48.  The route provides an authentic sense of adventure in a truly wild canyon that is rugged and unspoiled.   The feature…

2018 Snow Cone Roundup

It’s past mid-April, temperatures are warming and wildflowers are blooming higher up the mountains. The snow cone season is coming to an end.  Snow events happen occasionally in April, and in fact it snowed an inch or so earlier this week, but the chances for a large snow event are rapidly diminishing.  Now is a…

Cone Above the Clouds, 2018 Edition

I have written about Cone Peak many times on this blog, a mountain that I call the “King of Big Sur.”  Cone Peak rises 5,155 ft above the Pacific Ocean in less than three miles as the crow flies, making it one of the steepest gradients from ocean to summit in the contiguous United States….

Uncovered Route: The Window & Kandlbinder via Cabezo Prieto

Kandlbinder Peak and the Window are two of the more remote spots in the Ventana Wilderness.  For extensive background on these spectacular locations see a prior post here.  Prior to the Soberanes Fire the standard route to both Kandlbinder and the Window was via the Pico Scout Camp up the Little Sur River and then…

Black Cone Loop

The Black Cone Trail bisects one of the most remote regions of the Ventana Wilderness from Pine Ridge to Strawberry Valley with outstanding views of the seldom-seen North Fork Big Sur River drainage and Ventana Double Cone.  The trail has a reputation for being rugged and difficult with sloping tread, brush and lack of reliable…

Return to Ventana Double Cone

With the unreasonably long closure post-Soberanes Fire finally over, it was time to return to Ventana Double Cone.  If Cone Peak is the King of the Big Sur Coast, Ventana Double Cone is the Queen of the Ventana Wilderness. Rising 4,853 ft above sea level, no other peak in the Ventana Wilderness possesses such a rugged face…

Mount Andrea Lawrence

Mount Andrea Lawrence was named in 2013 when President Obama signed into law legislation officially naming this beautiful summit in honor of Olympian and environmentalist Andrea Mead Lawrence.  Prior to the official naming, the 12,245 ft mountain was sometimes known as “Gem Peak” as evidenced by the cover of an older summit register.  The mountain is taller,…