Seven Summits Northern California

In 2015, I came across a small book (The 7 Summits of the Siskiyou Trail) by Aria Zoner – an Ashland-based ultra hiker~backpacker~peakbagger – that described a 448-mile long hiking loop through seven wilderness areas in Northern California (NorCal), with scramble climbs (Class 3 or less) of the high points in each wilderness.  While 448 miles seemed a bit much, these seven hikes/scrambles looked like fun, so we added them to our never-diminishing list of hikes to do just in case the couch started to look too inviting (assuming, of course, the cat ever lets us sit on it…).

Not counting Mount Shasta (which I’d already climbed in 1997 and again in 2003), it took us two years to reach the other six. Mount Shasta, mainly because of its height and snow, was the most challenging. Thompson Peak and Preston Peak were next in difficulty due the length of their respective approaches and the complexity of the scrambling (but never over Class 3) involved. Boulder Peak has no scrambling, but it’s a long walk with a lot of elevation gain. Red Butte, Russian Peak, and “Harry Watkins” were relatively easy due to nearby trailheads and short approaches; but each still involved some cross-country travel and route finding. In the end, seven unique adventures in parts of wilderness areas we might not have gotten around to visiting otherwise.

RED BUTTES WILDERNESS

Red Butte Red Buttes Wilderness California
Red Butte (6,739 feet) from the Pacific Crest Trail (June 2016)

CASTLE CRAGS WILDERNESS

Harry Watkins Peak Castle Crag Wilderness California
The Trinity Alps from the summit of “Harry Watkins Peak” (7,200 feet) (June 2016)

SISKIYOU WILDERNESS

Preston Peak Siskiyou Wilderness California
Preston Peak (7,313 feet) (July 2018)

RUSSIAN WILDERNESS

Russian Peak Russian Wilderness California
Russian Peak (8,190 feet) as seen from Russian Lake (June 2016)

MARBLE MOUNTAIN WILDERNESS

Boulder Peak Marble Mountain Wilderness California
Boulder Peak (8,299 feet) above Lower Wright Lake (July 2016)

TRINITY ALPS WILDERNESS

Thompson Peak Trinity Alps Wilderness California
Thompson Peak (9,002 feet) above Grizzly Lake (July 2017)

MOUNT SHASTA WILDERNESS

Mount Shasta California
Mount Shasta (14,179 feet) ~ 2003 photo by Patrick Y. Wang {1977 – 2005}
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