Trip Report
Hoffman Mountain : a little backcountry cragging
Monday September 26, 2011 9:23pm
I've wanted to climb The Obelisk for a few years. Probably it will be a few years more :) In the meantime, Em's advice on this thread sounded good to us.

Saturday we got an early start from the Rancheria trailhead, south of Wishon Reservoir. Friday night had been stormy (we could see the lightning while driving east from Los Banos), and we hoped to get some climbing in before the storms came back in the afternoon. No such luck -- thunder started rolling shortly before we caught our first glimpses of the mountain.

Hoffman Mountain (9622') from the trail
Hoffman Mountain (9622') from the trail
Credit: rhyang

It was hunting season, so at times it was hard to tell what was thunder and what was gunfire .. well, not really :) We saw lots of folks with rifles near the road, but nobody this far in.

But for us the hike wasn't that long, and we got our shelter pitched amid a few sprinkles. We decided to hike up to the base of the rock and take a look before it really started raining.

There was a bit of bushwhacking. It reminded me of the approach to Mt. Starr King or Coyote Rocks.

guarded by a sea of brush
guarded by a sea of brush
Credit: rhyang

Up close though the rock looked much better, and there was a faint path through the spiky green stuff that we got better at finding after a couple trips.

From the base we could see The Obelisk -

The Obelisk, off in the distance
The Obelisk, off in the distance
Credit: rhyang

Maybe we could have gotten some climbing in that afternoon, but the skies looked threatening. As it was, the real weather held off until after dinner.

Next morning we headed back up to climb Golden Tower Direct (5.7) -

Justin starting up the first pitch
Justin starting up the first pitch
Credit: rhyang

Looking down the mellow plates; partway up the second pitch
Looking down the mellow plates; partway up the second pitch
Credit: rhyang

Finger Rock, off to the east
Finger Rock, off to the east
Credit: rhyang

South-facing golden plates -- beautiful rock !
South-facing golden plates -- beautiful rock !
Credit: rhyang

The plates reminded me a lot of Coyote Rocks, or the third pitch of Hobbit Book. Justin took the last pitch, which headed up past a few bolts through a fun roof.

Justin starting up third pitch
Justin starting up third pitch
Credit: rhyang

Shooting Star Chimney (5.8+), from Golden Nugget rappel
Shooting Star Chimney (5.8+), from Golden Nugget rappel
Credit: rhyang

We rapped off Golden Nugget and our 60m half ropes stretched all the way to the start of Bear's Lair (5.8), our next route.

Me on first pitch
Me on first pitch
Credit: rhyang

The first pitch had some face climbing, some straight-in jamming and more of those wonderful plates. The second pitch went up huge 5.4 plates to some bolt-protected slab climbing and a small roof. Just my speed :)

Me at second belay, just above the roof
Me at second belay, just above the roof
Credit: rhyang

Summit scramble, couple hundred feet of third-fourth class according t...
Summit scramble, couple hundred feet of third-fourth class according to the topo. We didn't do it this time.
Credit: rhyang

By now it was mid-afternoon and the clouds were moving back in. It was getting windy and chilly up top.

The Obelisk again
The Obelisk again
Credit: rhyang

We rapped off and headed back down. From our camp to the car it was only about an hour. Good times !

Gear notes:

 60m half ropes
 8 shoulder-length trad draws
 1 double-length tied sling
 2 cordelettes
 DMM alloy offset nuts
 Cams from 0.5" - 4", depending on route. We brought some mid-sized link cams for gear anchors too, but probably could have done without. YMMV

All the bolts we saw looked bomber, but they were well-camouflaged and a little hard to spot sometimes.

  Trip Report Views: 2,592
rhyang
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Comments
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Gene

climber
  Sep 26, 2011 - 09:28pm PT
Damn Rob! You just keep tearing it up. Well done and thanks for posting.

g
justing

climber
Santa Cruz, CA
  Sep 26, 2011 - 09:38pm PT
It should be noted that the picture from the third pitch was taken right around the moment I realized I was ~20 feet to the right of the correct route. Much cursing and downclimbing ensued.
Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Sep 27, 2011 - 02:02am PT
oh wow! nice rob. I so wanted to do a Hoffman trip this year. After the partial torn calf suspending activity, I wonder if there is still an autumn season for Wishon in October.


hrm, Wishon, Big Sleep or SPH

gah!
bergbryce

climber
East Bay, CA
  Sep 27, 2011 - 02:19am PT
Sweet, this looks awesome.
Well done.
sullly

Gym climber
  Sep 27, 2011 - 07:31am PT
Rob, you've had a great season.
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Sep 27, 2011 - 08:01am PT
Nice Rhyang!! TFPU!!!
O.D.

Trad climber
LA LA Land
  Sep 27, 2011 - 08:13am PT
Good stuff!
neversummer

climber
30 mins. from suicide USA
  Sep 27, 2011 - 11:24am PT
Awesome.
nutjob

Sport climber
Almost to Hollywood, Baby!
  Sep 27, 2011 - 12:27pm PT
Thanks for getting out there and sharing your adventures with us! That rock really does look fun to climb.
rhyang

climber
SJC
Author's Reply  Sep 28, 2011 - 08:58pm PT
True, the shot of Justin on the last pitch of Golden Tower Direct doesn't accurately show the route. You go straight up (or maybe a little bit left) from the belay, then traverse right a bit .. the first bolt was hard to see.

.. I remember when we were climbing the North Arete of Matterhorn Peak last July .. I got way off-route on the fourth pitch and ended up below the Double Dihedral. Justin led back around the arete to the base of the last pitch.

Good times in the hills.
DaveyTree

Trad climber
Fresno
  Sep 21, 2013 - 03:13pm PT
Nice!!! Bucket lust area.
Banquo

climber
Amerricka
  Sep 21, 2013 - 07:00pm PT
Thanks, on my list of places I have to get to.
SeanYang

Mountain climber
Portland, Oregon
  Sep 21, 2013 - 07:35pm PT
Rob,

Beautiful golden rock, just like Obelisk.

Let me know if you want to climb Obelisk before the snow comes down this season. I want to go back there sooner than later as well.

Sean
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