South Yolla Bolly Mountain (Mount Linn)

  • South Yolla Bolly Mountain
  • 2467 m
  • Primary factor 1479 m
  • Location: North 40:02.184, West 122:51.262 (GPS at the summit)
  • Mendocino, California
  • Difficulty: YDS class 1
  • Climbed: October 23, 2011.


How to get there:
Drive north on I-5 to Corning (Exit 631). This is about 170 miles from San Francisco. Note that coming from the south, you want the second exit to Corning, then go west on Corning Road (Route A-9). Follow this road to the small village of Paskenta, this is approximately 20 miles from I-5. In Paskenta, locate the main road fork. The left fork has sign for Newville. The right fork is called Toomes Camp Road, its forest road name is M2. Take this road and measure from this point.
Drive M2, first flat, then uphill until at mile 17.6, the pavement ends. Continue on what is an excellent dirt road and go straight at mile 22. At mile 23.8, you are at a place called Cold Springs. Take the right hand fork here, leaving M2 and entering forest road M22. Continue to follow what appears to be the main road, in particular, stay right at mile 26.5, 27.9 and 28.2. At mile 32.7, fork left, leaving M22 and going uphill on forest road 25N19. You reach a local plateau at mile 34.4, keep right and climb the final hill to the trailhead at mile 34.8. The very last part is slightly rougher, but one should be able to drive (with some care) all the way with a normal car. Park here, this is the trailhead, location N40:02.283, W122:49.752, elevation about 2095 meter.
I navigated to this trailhead without a local forest map, however, it is strongly recommended to get hold of the Mendocino National Forest map. This map shows a large number of local roads and many of these are perfectly OK for even normal passenger cars.
Route description:
There is a trail register at the upper end of the trailhead area. Two trails run from here, one left and one right. None of these serve the summit. The best and easy way is just to proceed uphill. You will gradually find yourself on a more distinct ridge heading west. There are several local rock formations along the upper part of the ridge. Bypass these, possibly most conveniently on the left side. A final, gentle slope will take you to the summit of Yolla Bolly. The summit holds a small register.
I came directly from Frankfurt, arriving at San Francisco Airport around noon. The rental car company gave me a (much) bigger truck than I had reserved, but I did not think much of it at the time. Hoping to make a short hike after the long flight, I headed across the Golden Gate Bridge and north on Hwy. 101 to Santa Rosa. My plan was to climb Hood Mountain before dark. Arriving at the trailhead, it turned out that they would lock the gate shortly after 1800 and the time was already 1600. I did not feel that this hike could easily be completed in less than 2 hours and reluctantly drove back down to Hwy. 12.
I decided to spend the rest of the day getting to the trailhead for Yolla Bolly. Driving across to I-80, I certainly knew that the trip from the Airport to here had been much faster via Bay Bridge and I-80. Anyway, I headed north to I-5 and stopped in Williams for dinner. The place was a sports bar, the spare ribs were tasty, the TV featured Stanford football (with a score of 45-14 against Washington!), additionally the place featured a more than 3 meter tall polar bear.
I continued to Corning and picked my way to the trailhead, arriving there around 2230. To my surprise, 2 cars and 2 tents were already there. Despite being gigantic, my car could not provide a reasoably sized flat space for sleeping. Thus, I put my pad and sleeping bag on the ground and got ready to sleep. The sky was full of brilliant stars, I watched them as well as a few shooting stars, before falling asleep.
The next morning, I woke up already around 0500. I set out with my headlamp around 0530, followed the trail going left a short distance before heading uphill. Higher up, I scrambled a few of the false rock summits and leisurely gained the summit shortly before 0630. It was still dark and I truely enjoyed the silent morning with the slowly red glowing eastern sky. The sun had no hurry, but around 0715 she rose above the horizon and I had a new day waiting. I hiked back down in about 30 minutes, the other party being awake and having breakfast. They offered me some and we had a nice chat. I mentioned that I would meet our crown prince in Berkeley, the man said he remembered Haakon as a Berkley student and asked me to say hello from the Berkeley Police Department - small world.
I said good bye and drove back to Paskenta. My next target was Black Butte, I could have driven there via forest road M2, but my map did not have any detail that indicated this.
Here is a map with an overview of all my travel in Mendocino on this trip.