DEVILS PEAK (7,704') CLASS 3
Location: 3 miles SSW of Kingvale, CA
Drive: Take I-80 to "Soda Springs Exit," which is 11.5 miles west from the Highway 89 South Exit just west of Truckee or 57 miles east from Maple Street Exit in Auburn, CA. Turn east on the major, paved Old Donner Summit Road and go 0.7 mile to turn right on old Soda Springs Road. Drive 0.9 mile to turn right on Pahatsi Road, which passes Royal Gorge Lodge. The pavement ends here. After 1.7 miles, go straight, ignoring the road left to "Palisades 1 Camp Winthers 1/2," going to "Pahatsi." In another 0.8 mile, ignore the road left to "Kidd Lake Group Campground" and pass the sign "Drum-Spaulding Hydroelectric Project" straight ahead. In 1 more mile, come to "Devil's Outlook Warming Hut" and park. A good 4WD vehicle could proceed to the base of the north side of the peak.
Climb: Take the main, dirt road west and quickly take the right fork which goes around the right (north) side of Cascade Lakes. One may walk across the top of the dam. Follow the main, sometimes very rocky, road about 1 mile to a junction with a better road that comes in from the right (north) from I-80. Go left (south) and come to a fork where one goes left. The right fork is signed "private property." The left fork begins to ascend toward the north side of the peak.
Here, one may climb directly up the north side, which becomes a class 3 scramble, then up to a false summit. To continue, one may directly climb a cliff band which entails a few class 4-5 moves, or one may contour around right (west) to reach a class 3 route on the south side.
Otherwise, back before ascending the north side, one takes the dirt road left and down around the left (east) side of the peak. Take whatever good opportunity to climb cross-country to the right, aiming for the far (south) shoulder of the peak tower. Avoid the willows as best as you can. Climb up through low brush to the base of the cliffs, and go left (west) on a faint use trail that leads a few yards further left (north) to a low-angle gully which is climbed over class 3 blocks directly up to the summit ridge. A faint use trail follows along the knife-edge to the northernmost summit which is the obvious highpoint.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: This peak may be approached from Donner Trails School, which is reached by taking the I-80 Kingvale Exit and turning west on a frontage road along the north side of the freeway. One crosses under the freeway further to the west, then continues south on the main road which ascends to join Route A near the north side of the peak. Avalanches have occurred on the east side, so it is wiser to contour low, away from and around to the right (west) side of the peak. Climb up the normally brush-covered west slopes, and follow Route A to the summit.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 1,300 feet gain with an additional 200 feet gain on the return, 2.5 miles one way; winter ski ascent from Donner Trails School, 1,700 feet gain, 4 miles one way.
Notes: Respect all private
property signs, and if unsure of access legality, turn back.
Presumably, ski trails from Royal Gorge Cross-Country Ski Resort can be taken to start Route A, also. The track fee is about $25-29 (2008-2009) per day, and an avid climber/skier can no doubt climb to the top without too much difficulty.
The only OGUL listed peak not described in this guide, Snow Mountain (8,014'), can be hiked by a dirt road passing to the west of Devils Peak. Some of this area has been logged. The road is posted "No Trespassing." The rangers suggest contact with the landowner can be made via a phone number on one of the signs. Permission to cross the private land supposedly can be granted. Also, by the maps, a cross-country route using the nearby Palisade Creek Trail may avoid most of the private property. By the shortest route, Snow Mountain is about a six-mile hike, each way, with about 2,000 feet gain, mostly on dirt road, and makes an excellent winter ski tour. There are fantastic views down into Royal Gorge of the North Fork of the American River from a stand of ancient firs perched on the southeast edge of the mountain.