Distance: 11.7 miles round trip on trail and cross country
Summit Elevation: 10459' (Dobbs), 10520' (East Dobbs), 9782' (Peak 9782)
Prominence: 59' (Dobbs), 40' (East Dobbs), 100' (Peak 9782)
Elevation Gain: 4780'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 3.82
Round trip time: 8 hours
Recommended water: 184 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass
The west ridge approach to Dobbs Peak is a substantial cross country trek starting at the Vivian Creek trailhead. We planned a loop over Dobbs, East Dobbs, and Peak 9782. Sean and I met up shortly after the gate opened and started up the Vivian Creek trail. Memories of our recent trip to Galena returned as we crossed Mill Creek. After climbing a steep section of the Vivian Creek Trail up to the first camp, we left the trail, crossed the creek and began heading toward the west ridge. Pretty soon, we found a faint use trail and followed it. The beginning of the ridge is moderate, with better views opening up as you ascend. We stopped for a brief break around 8300', just below the steepest section. It was shady and quite cold in the morning hours, but there was no wind to make the cold miserable. The last mile gained around 2000' and was a hard slog as the air got thinner. The very wide, rounded summit of Dobbs did not sport a challenging summit block, merely a pile of rocks slighter higher than other nearby piles. The best views were had on the ascent, since the summit area was surrounded by trees. We signed the summit register dutifully and took another food break.
Next we were off for East Dobbs (also called Little Dobbs) which is slightly higher than Dobbs itself. Most of the gain for the day was behind us and the trip to East Dobbs was easy. It has a unique register with a tattered red binding. The first entry went back to 1977, but all the entries still fit into this one book. Views were a little better from East Dobbs, but it was still surrounded by the other taller peaks to the north. Lastly, we started descending toward High Creek Camp and Peak 9782. Following the ridge line down to the saddle required more scrambling than we had to do on the way up. Sean was the master route finder, getting us around patches of manzanita and steep drops on both sides. Soon, we were at the saddle and dropped our packs before climbing the hundred feet of gain up to 9782. There were interesting trees on 9782, but we found no benchmark or register. We were hoping for a good view of the Mill Creek Jumpoff but were disappointed when it remained blocked by an intervening ridge.
Returning to the saddle, we picked up our packs and started the steep descent to High Creek Camp. We stopped at the creek to refill a couple of water bottles, then made good time down the Vivian Creek Trail. Just below Halfway Camp, Sean spotted a large buck just off the trail. He was as curious about us as we were about him. After a couple minutes of staring each other down, he moved off at a leisurely pace. We made it back to the cars in just under 8 hours. It was a pretty tough, satisfying, hike and another great day in the mountains.