This was an enjoyable hike but I was not prepared for the scramble to the peak.
By Ed Kotapish on 10/14/2017
Distance: 5.40 Miles Duration: 5 hours
My daughter and I attempted Mt Livermore on one of the Nature Conservancy's open days. Access to the peak is limited to a dozen days throughout the year so knowing when you can go is very important. You will have to pay a small fee and sign a waiver (mostly for automobile damage) prior to heading to the trail. A car with some ground clearance is necessary because you go through some standing river water roughly 6 times on your way to the start of Bridge Gap Trail. We had a Honda CR-V with 7 inches of ground clearance and made it just fine. The trail itself is a double track so it was plenty wide when us acrophobes needed the comfort of the mountain. This is why I gave it a difficulty rating of 2. A 4 wheeled vehicle made it up there. Up to 7200 ft (1.5 miles from the start) it was pretty easy. The next 1/8 miles to Bridge Gap at 7300ft was a bit steeper. The following 0.5 miles (up to 7800ft) was up to a 44%grade and had loose rocks. I rested often up the slope but we finally got into flatter terrain and made it to the base of the prominence (8200ft 2.7 miles) in three hours. There is a summit trail that leads you around to the WNW side of the prom where you have to fight through some trees to attempt the scramble. And this is where our ignorance cost us the summit. There is no trail where you have to scramble to the top and we went too far toward the South. That put us at the southern ridge of the WNW face with a steep drop from the top of the ridge. YIKES! My altimeter read 8300ft +/-9ft when we stopped climbing. But even from the prominence base the view was well worth the effort. The overall rating of 4.5 takes my 59 year age and descending the slopey loose rocks into account. There were people older than me humming right along and I even found an online video that showed a bunch of older folks at the summit. We spent about 45 minutes at the prom base before heading back down. I cooked my thighs and heels coming down. Had we been more prepared we would have descended using the Limipia Chute trail that is flatter. The Limpia Chute trail is marked by pink ribbons on a rusty sign and cuts off the 0.5 miles of high slopes. There were times I couldn't trust my legs on the way down fearing I would fall on the trail and break a hip. The final part of the descent was difficult only because my legs were shot. I'll get in better shape and do this again.