It's been a while! My last adventure updates were in March 2022 from my New Mexico trip. Since then I've kept to mostly local adventures. They've been fun but not necessarily worth posting about. Good things in family and career have kept me from peakbagging lately. This unique opportunity to "summit" the high point of San Mateo County was well worth the post.
Long Ridge - San Mateo County High Point
There are 58 counties in California and a total of 56 county high points (Mt Whitney and Snow Mountain East straddle counties as their high points). San Mateo's county high point is Long Ridge at 2,600+ feet. It's the fifth lowest county high point and has minimal topographic prominence. Outside of the highly ambitious and dedicated county high pointing world, it's a forgettable summit.
Yet, for those climbing California's county high points, this has historically been a difficult summit to achieve. Long Ridge is one of five county high points that lie firmly on private property (Merced County, Sutter County, Kings County and San Joaquin County are the others). Thankfully access to San Mateo's County High Point is graciously permitted by collaboration with the landowner and a fellow peak bagger - see here for details on arranged trips.
I joined a group of like-minded peakbaggers in June 2022 for the first post-COVID "ascent" of Long Ridge. The landowner and a prominent member of the peakbagging community had agreed on a date and time. We caravanned up a private, gated road to the address and met the landowner. He was a lovely person and seemed happy for the company. We walked up a short garden path to the otherwise unmarked summit and celebrated. Most of the peakbaggers had amassed at least 30 prior California county high points but none finished. This was #38 of 56 for me and my first in over a year and a half. Naturally, all of us meticulously searched for the exact highest point on the otherwise flat mound to ensure the trip wasn't in vain. We shared stories of misadventures, progress and determination on our various peak lists as we lingered on the summit.
There was a remarkable view to the west of Ben Lomond Mountain which was severely affected by the CZU Lightning Complex in August 2020. I happened to summit Ben Lomond just 18 hours before the fire started. From afar, it looked like the forest was healing though drought has severely impacted the mountain range.
After about 30 minutes of swapping stories and mingling, we profusely thanked the generous landowner and made our way down. It was a peculiar but memorable day.