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near Spruce (historical), California (United States)
A half day hike to a really cool summit in the Soda Spring area, near Donner Pass. The rock itself is a "volcanic plug", which is revealed as the surrounding terrain erodes. This peak can be climbed in both summer and winter, though the winter route is different (Troy Road). Take Kidd Lakes Road behind the Soda Springs Ski Resort to the end, where you will start. There is no official trail to the summit, so our route goes off-trail at a point that seemed to offer the most direct approach. Traversing around the east side of the summit block was quite challenging, very steep with a ton of loose rock. This was the least fun part. The route up to the top is found at the southwest end of the summit rocks. This route is mostly easy class 3, with minimal exposure. The true summit is at the north end of the summit ridge, an easy class 2 walk (in summer!) will get you there. A fun, quick, and relatively easy peak to bag, which offers some great views! The return trip, we tried to make it sort of a loop. A steep, sandy, scree filled slope gets you down to the logging road, and another cross country route gets you to the Heath Falls trail, which you can use to return.
The parking area, at the Devils Lookout Warming Hut (for the Royal Gorge cross country ski resort)
Summit, 7,704'. True summit is at the north end of the summit ridge, NOT where the brass benchmark is.