Blackhawk Mountain

4 Oct 2000 - by Eric Beck

The short version: I followed the PCT south from Sonora Pass to where it veered left under a snowbank. From there followed the excellent use trail to the summit.

The ammo box register is in good shape with even an empty notebook. Doing Leavitt might have been a mistake at this point. It is very easy and would make an excellent list finisher, if I ever get that far.

Drove west, dropping 3000 feet to the Kennedy Meadow resort complex where I spent the night in the almost full Deadman CG. Not very cold over night, off bright and early in the morning. The section between the two bridges on the climb to Relief Reservoir is very rocky and tedious. There is also a possible point of confusion in here. Just after the first bridge a "trail" sign points, but there is also an unsigned trail to the right. Follow the sign.

Further up, there is now a sign for the left turn to Kennedy Lake. Go straight. Hiking along above Relief Reservoir, the peak visible to the south is Granite, not Black Hawk. They are very similar in appearance, with a gentle black dome summit, a band of snow beneath that and large expanses of slabs below.

Just beyond relief reservoir, Black Hawk appears briefly. There is now a sign at the "T" intersection. Follow the sign left to Lunch Meadow. I had both Steve Eckert's and Mark Adrian's write-ups along which mentioned going a mile or two beyond Saucer Meadow to a "Sandy Meadow where the trail turns sharply east". Hiking along, hiking along and there is no sign of Saucer Meadow. I am becoming concerned about the time and am about to turn around when I come to the Sandy Meadow, more of a sandy area. The turn in the trail, however is unmistakable. I saw the "class two defects", but like Mark, opted for the slabs a bit further east. I started up about 0.3 miles east, wound up descending perhaps 0.5 miles east. The slabs are for the most part fun and easy, although I kept getting forced east by short walls. I gained the last 500 feet up the slabs thru a square shaped easy chute, maybe 8 feet wide and 15 feet deep. This deposited me in a sandy area below a rocky subsidiary summit. Steve recommended staying left here, which I did. After a short distance on a flat sandy opening I was on the plateau like area south of the summit ridge. From here the dark summit was again visible and quite close. Two more very easy square slots and the final easy summit slope and I was up. Concerned about the time, I did not take my pack off and spent 30 seconds to sign the register. Saw the names of Aaron and his crew. It was 90 minutes up from the trail.

Round trip stats: 19 miles, 4600 feet (300 feet gained and lost each way around Relief Reservoir), 10 hrs 40 minutes. One may park at the store if one is dayhiking. Only overnite hikers must go back a mile to the hiker parking.

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