ENGLISH MOUNTAIN (8,373') CLASS 2
Location: 10 miles SSE of Sierra City, CA, or 10 miles N of Cisco Grove, CA
Drive: Take I-80 to the Highway 20 junction, which is 3.6 miles west from the Cisco Grove Exit, or 44 miles east from the Maple Street Exit in Auburn, CA. Head north on Highway 20 about 4 miles to turn right on the signed, paved road "N.F. 18." See also Black Buttes, Route A, Drive. After several miles, the road becomes dirt, and gets rough. Basically, head north and then east, staying on the main dirt road past Bowman Lake, and pass the Jackson Meadow Road. Turn right, after about 21 miles from Highway 20, on the unsigned Catfish Lake Road. This dirt road becomes very rough. Drive carefully about 2-3 miles to the vicinity of unsigned French Creek and park.
The Catfish Lake Road is more easily reached by driving north from I-80 on Highway 89 to the Jackson Meadow/Henness Pass Road "07 (see Mt. Lola, Route A, Drive)." This junction is 14.5 miles north of I-80. Follow the main, paved road "07" past many signs to Jackson Meadow Reservoir. Cross the dam, then come to the end of pavement, after 17.3 miles from Highway 89. Continue south on the Bowman Lake Road, here. At a major fork at 19.5 miles, go left and down. At 19.9 miles, ignore a left fork. Pass Catfish Lake, and descend on rough road. The road gets rougher and rockier. There are places to park, and hike the rest of the way. About 22 miles from Highway 89, you will come to unsigned French Creek. This spot is best described as a large, flat, and quite logged clearing. English Mountain is seen high above to the west. Park off the road.
Climb: Head cross-country up a ridge to the right (west), then contour around a brushy area, after climbing a few hundred feet, to the left of the ridge. Continue up. If navigation has been good, come to Echo Lake, an interesting basin in volcanic rock. Climb up the rocky, gully/slope up west from the slight saddle to the south of Echo Lake, and well to the left (south) of the apparent summit. Gain the main ridge. Cross over to the west side, drop about 50-100 feet while contouring, around north, a hundred yards or so to the easier, western talus slopes. Head back east up class 2 rocks to the top.
Alternate: Follow brushy French Creek, on which the southeast side, at first, the going may be easier. There has been a very faint, hard-to-follow, use trail in sections. Come to a lake not on the 1955 15' topo. Ascend the right (east) side of the creek which leads north to Echo Lake, and join Route A.
Drive: See Route A, Drive. From the Bowman Lake/Jackson Meadows Road, turn off the junction south which leads to Faucherie Lake. This point is 19.9 miles from Highway 20 to the west. Continue a few miles and park near the dam.
Climb: Rock hop or wade across the stream below the dam, then proceed cross-country northeast up fairly gentle, brushy, and rocky slopes straight up to the top, which is generally visible from below.
WINTER SKI ASCENT: As the roads are not plowed much past Highway 20 on the west, and Highway 89 to the east, it would be a very long tour to ski the peak. One other possibility would be to start from Highway 49, taking a route to Jackson Meadows Road. Route B, the west slopes, would be the least steep way.
TRIP STATS: Route A, 2,000 feet gain, 1.5 miles one way; Route B, 2,200 feet gain, 2 miles one way; winter ski ascent from Highway 20 or 89, probably 20-30 miles one way.
Notes: This mountain is
a long, low ridge, that is not particularly prominent, except
to peak climbers. It is seen from many other peaks. English Mountain
is on the SPS list. In September, 1995, I completed all of the
63 listed peaks on the OGUL list a minimum of three times each
The western roads are long and bad, and one prominent Sierra Club leader punctured his oil pan and spilled definite pollution onto the roadway a short distance from the end of pavement.
Reports say a 4WD road climbs high on the ridge to the north of the summit. This has not been substantiated.