Hiking Stats as of 11/17/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Aug 16, 2014 - Thunder Mountain East / Thunder Mountain West


Partners: (None)

Distance: 8.33 miles

Elevation Gain: 2,116 feet

Trip Time: 4:18

Maps and Stats:
I spent the night at the Toiyabe Motel in Coleville, which was a great little find kind of in the middle of nowhere. Today I would head back home, but not before doing a little more hiking. I had gone to bed with a plan of going towards Lost Cannon Peak. This would require a trip along a dirt road through the Mountain Warfare Training Center, a place I had previously visited but had turned around when the road got a bit too iffy. At some point overnight I had a change of mind, and decided that I would instead go on a house tour of South Lake Tahoe and Markleeville, given that the only other time I went house hunting (with Kyle) our hiking took longer than expected and we only looked at 1 house. Today I would house hunt first.

I was done the SLT tour by noon, and decided that a quick hike up to the Amador County highpoint of Thunder Mountain was in order. Thunder Mountain is not on any peak lists (other than being a county highpoint) and has a nice trail, with the trailhead easily accessed off Highway 88 near Kirkwood. I arrived at 12:30 and got started on the quick trip. The trail starts in a forested area, but rises quickly out of the trees. The views toward Kirkwood are especially good from up here, as the trail heads towards the Thunder Mountain ridgeline. Along the way I noticed a rocky outcrop that I thought was likely to be the top of Thunder Mountain, and after conferring with a couple of equally confused hikers I decided to head on up.

When I got to the top it was clear that I was not where I thought I was, as there were no other hikers around. I could see another summit about a quarter mile away, and figured that had to be it so I quickly descended back to the trail and kept going. As I did, I could see the hikers who followed me up the wrong summit (which turned out to be Thunder Mountain East, which by luck is higher than the named Thunder Mountain and is the true Amador County highpoint). At the time I didn't realize my good fortune in climbing this peak, as the trail completely bypsses it and continues on toward the named peak. I arrived at the named western summit at 2:30, where a group of 6 hikers descended just as I arrived. I had the place to myself, and enjoyed some pretty nice scenery. I spent maybe 10 minutes on top, taking in the views towards Round Top and the higher Thunder Mountain East. This peak is hiked a LOT, and I added my name to the thousands of entries in the log.

I left the summit, but before going down climbed a subsidiary peak about 20 feet shorter but topped with a pole similar to the one on the named Thunder Mountain. I had thought the pole might signify something, but the peak isn't named and there was no register (nor should there be, it took all of 3 minutes to get over to it). Satisfied with my days work, I started back down. On the way down I noticed another rocky point which I believed to be Martins Point. I figured "why not" so I started up the slope, eventually circling back behind the outcrop to find a route up. It was class 3 and great fun, with a spicy rocky summit traverse to the highpoint . I figured this was Martins Point, although I couldn't find a summit register on top. I noticed another point ahead, although it was clearly lower and didn't look like it would be of any interest to climb so I decided to head back to the trail. Well, it turns out that the little bump was the named summit of Martins Point, and I missed it. Rats! Why are the named summits the lower points in this area?!? All of this was unknown to me at the time, and so I hit the trail back down, and got back to the car by 4:45, ready to make the 2:45 drive back home after a fun 2 days of peakbagging in the Sierra.

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