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Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak

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Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 21, 2011 01:57PM
We had plans to get up to the Sierra this weekend. Honest we did. But a combination of terrible weather conditions (our friend's house in Twain Harte had no power...nor even plowed road for some of the weekend) and some commitments here at home derailed those plans.

But all was not lost. We decided to take a hike anyway, and drove up to Robert Louis Stevenson State Park at the north end of the Napa Valley. We edged into a narrow parking space in the snow...and then hiked the five miles up to the top of Mt. St. Helena. At over 4,000 feet, it's a real mountain, even if it wouldn't seem that way in Tuolumne County. And there was enough snow (and downed trees) to make it all quite and adventure.

The first mile and a half are on a trail, and between the snow, the downed trees, and the ice on the rocks, it was a real knee knocker.

Then the trail reaches the access road (there are electrical installations on top of the mountain, so they have to maintain both them and the road to them.) At that point the hike got a lot easier, and we timed it just right---the snow plow had reached the summit about 15 minutes before we did.

The only drawback was that the clouds that had slowly built over the course of the morning now pretty much obliterated 270 degrees of the view from the summit. This was too bad, because the air was sparkling clear after the storm...and we've seen as far as Mt. Shasta and Lassen Peak from here in years past.

Oh well. We got a chance to try out our new smaller packs (purchased for the Machu Piccho hike--the one with porters carrying the heavy stuff!). and took that opportunity to pack lots of warm clothes and a substantial lunch.

The hike back down was equally beautiful--except the really icy sections near the bottom were even icier and had pools of ice water in the deepest troughs. Our toes were hurtin' for certain!

In the end, the hike was great, the views spectacular, and the drive home a lot shorter than it would have been from Yosemite or Dodge Ridge.

if you're interested, the photos are here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/balzaccom/MtStHelena#



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
avatar Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 21, 2011 05:20PM
Very pretty album. Were you the only two on the trail?
avatar Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 21, 2011 05:50PM
Some really great pics! The snow cover really creates some nice shots
Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 21, 2011 08:50PM
We were surpised to see about thirty people on this hike...and then hundreds down on the highway below, playing in the snow. I think only about fifteen people made it to the summit...the rest were just out for a stroll...



Balzaccom

follow our adventures, read our blog, or just to come hang out at our website: http://www.backpackthesierra.com/
Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 23, 2011 10:41AM
Nice pics! crazy how the snow is coming down all over - supposed to be a chance of it in Bakersfield???

I'm going to Ohlone and there's a chance of it there too! should be a unique opportunity.
avatar Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 23, 2011 11:07AM
Thanks for the pix.

Almost, you know you're gonna be just as cold there as in the Sierra. wink

Going up Rose Peak?

Mt. Hamilton has had snow stuck for a number of days now...

Have fun



Chick-on is looking at you!
Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 23, 2011 11:34AM
Quote
chick-on
Thanks for the pix.

Almost, you know you're gonna be just as cold there as in the Sierra. wink

Going up Rose Peak?

Going the whole route. Got a shuttle guy. want to come?

Maybe a little snow, maybe in the low 30F, but not as cold as the Sierra right now! cross-country skiing

got some warm primaloft hot sox!
avatar Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 23, 2011 03:08PM
Almost, 3 trips prior to the danceyfloor... it got down to a frigid 40 at night in Yosemite.
smiling smiley

When you going? (dayhiked the whole thing a few years back)
(having a hard time not going to the "real" mountains nowadays)

Have fun out there



Chick-on is looking at you!
avatar Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 23, 2011 06:20PM
I've been seeing snow on the peaks behind Mission Peak since the last storm, which from my vantage point means Rose Peak. The incoming storm (w/ 500' snow levels forecasted for Saturday) would just add more.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/23/2011 06:22PM by ttilley.
avatar Helena, Shasta, and the Coast Survey
February 23, 2011 11:21AM
Quote
balzaccom
The only drawback was that the clouds that had slowly built over the course of the morning now pretty much obliterated 270 degrees of the view from the summit. This was too bad, because the air was sparkling clear after the storm...and we've seen as far as Mt. Shasta and Lassen Peak from here in years past.


http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/theodolites/heliotrope.html
Re: Mount St Helena in the Snow....Napa Valley's highest peak
February 27, 2011 06:31PM
Hey thanks for the report and pictures. I was thinking about hiking this on Tuesday. Do you think there will still be snow up there?
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