Every winter, I seem to have the urge to climb the PCT out of Seiad Valley toward the Devil’s Peaks. Each winter, I fail. In Feb. of 2016 I had terrible tick problems, along with lots of downed trees. In Feb. of 2017 the snow and fallen trees made it so I couldn’t go any further. Out of the blue this morning I decided that I was going to make my 2018 attempt at reaching Devil’s Peaks.
The fog was interesting on the drive in. The whole Rogue Valley side was in thick fog all day. The California side of the Siskiyou Pass was a lot less foggy, though when I reached the turnoff for Highway 96 in the river valley, there was a blanket of fog in the surrounding mountains that I knew I’d have to climb through.
The PCT trailhead just west of Seiad Valley is the one that climbs north toward the Red Buttes Wilderness
About to enter the fog
The ticks were pretty bad again. Over the entire hike, we must’ve encountered two or three hundred of them. I got bitten three times and Grace got seven. The foggy part of the hike took all of my perseverance because I had to stop every two minutes to swat ticks off of my legs and Grace. At one point, Grace had 4 ticks making their way into her eye. Repulsive.
With all the elevation that I had in store (almost 4000 ft!!!), I knew that I’d climb out of the fog eventually. Sure enough, I came out of the fog to the most spectacular view — I found myself under the clouds, but above the fog with a view of the snowy mountain range across the valley.
I was kind of disappointed that I couldn’t see anything in the valley because I was finally going to make it to Lower Devil’s Peak. I kept climbing, though my legs told me to stop.
Eventually, enough sunlight came through the clouds that it broke up the fog below and Seiad Valley became visible.
At about 5.4 miles in, I had climbed over 3700 feet. All I wanted to do was teleport back to my car, but I still had to make the final hike up to the top of Lower Devil’s Peak. The little trail that I found led me under the real summit and over to the foundation for a lookout. I had a quick snack in the windbreak of the structure and headed back down.
Looking down the PCT at Middle and Upper Devil’s Peaks
Red Buttes in the middle ❤
From the window of the structure
Another window shot
I am incredibly proud of myself for being able to reach the lower peak, especially after so many failed attempts. It was worth all of the ticks and the climbing. Next summer, I need to arrange something so that I can hike from the Red Buttes down through the Devil’s Peaks so I don’t have to deal with the climb.
If you’re interested in the stats and map for this hike, and you should be because it was fuckin’ impressive, here you go:
11.19 mi, 3858 ft elevation gain, 5 hrs. 11 mins.
Steady, torturous climb