North Peak – Down – Up – Down – Up!

Mount Diablo W6/CC-045 is a drive up summit that provides a wonderful view of the area with 360 degree views at 3849′.  Adjacent to it is North Peak W6/CC-051 at 3557′.  The trail head to North Peak is at 3445′ at a hairpin turn on the Mount Diablo summit road marked “Devils Elbow.” Looks like an easy summit, 3557(summit)-3445(trailhead)=112′(elevation change), but do not believe easy math!

GAIA North Peak

Above is my track from GAIA. You start onto the trail at 3445′ then hike a single track trail down to Prospectors Gap” at 2960′; then hike up a maintenance road to the North Peak Summit at 3557′.  Down 500′ up 500′, then to get back to the trail head down 500′ then up 500′.

Devils Pulpit

The prominent feature as you start the trail is ‘Devils Pulpit.”  As you start hiking North Peak is no where to be seen, Mount Diablo screens it from view.

North Peak long view

As you come around the bend in the trail yo get a long distance view of North Peak, note the radio transmission towers on top.  At this point you have only descended about 200′ from the trail head.

quater mile

From the trail head to Prospectors Gap is 1.3 miles.  Then you begin hiking up the maintenance road toward your destination from 2960′ up to 3557′.  The distance to the summit is .75 miles and the road is quite good.  Above is the flat top before the final jaunt to the summit .23 miles remaining.

North Peak

As you begin the final ascent you have a great view of the trail ahead. A nice flat stretch of trail with a good view of the destination – but note that distant final ascent is quite steep.

final assent

This final section is so steep that I do not understand how a wheeled vehicle can get up. I don’t think this picture does justice to the slope of the road!

APRS North Peak

My XLY called me from the home QTH when I was at about 3350′  I was moving so slowly that she thought I had reached the summit.  She follows me on APRS.  A good contact from the 3350′ level with my HT and ducky.  But the intermod at the top caused me to bring out my roll up j-pole. You can see from the APRS track that my climb was slow and APRS recorded many points but my descent was much quicker with fewer APRS points.

sota flag

After a few 2M contacts I set up for HF. A KX3 into a 33′ end fed wire elevated on a 32′ PackTenna pole.  I started on 10Mhz then moved to 14Mhz and 21Mhz all fairly good but with QSB; then I tried 7Mhz and received a S2S call – I got that station into my log but was unable to fully copy the summit reference due to QSB and and noise on the band.  Copied K0MP on W7…….11 and later found from SOTA Watch that this was K0MP on W7A/AW-011 – he was persistent but I was unable to copy enough to record a S2S!


The above is the view looking down from the summit to the nasty bit pictured earlier looking up. I sat down and slid down this stretch – I would rather have dirty and torn jeans that a bad fall. Once past this short steep section the hike back to Prospectors Gap is quite quick, good footing all the way.  Then the hike up the single track to the Devils Elbow.

Going up the single track trail to Devils Elbow I met another hiker going down; he was wearing flip flop sandals and scampering along – I was wearing hiking boots and huffing and puffing.  At the trailhead I met a family of 4 that was starting the hike with one water bottle to share, I convinced the mom and daughter to each carry an additional water bottle – the dad could not be convinced. 3 bottles for 4 people, they were probably thirsty when they completed the hike.

What looks like an easy summit, 3557-3445=112′ together with operating time took me 5 hours. I am certain others can move more quickly! Next time I will carry a lighter pack!







Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s