Mount Diablo is a mountain in Contra Costa County, California in the San Francisco Bay Area, located south of Clayton and northeast of Danville. It is an isolated upthrust peak of 3,864 feet (1,178 m), visible from most of the San Francisco Bay Area and much of northern California. Mount Diablo appears from many angles to be a double pyramid and includes many subsidiary peaks, the largest and closest of which is the other half of the double pyramid, North Peak, nearly as high in elevation at 3,557 feet (1,084 m) and about one mile northeast of the main summit.
On a clear day the Sierra Nevada is plainly visible. (The best views are after a winter storm; a snowy Sierra shows up better, and summer is likely to be hazy.) The southernmost mountain of the volcanic Cascade Range, Mount Lassen, is occasionally visible 181 miles (291 km) away, and people have claimed to see Mount Shasta 240 miles away.
Historic claims that the mountain's viewshed is the largest in the world—or second largest after Mount Kilimanjaro—are unfounded. It does boast one of the largest viewsheds in the Western United States and it played a key role in California history. Countless peaks in the state are taller, but Mount Diablo has a remarkable visual prominence for a mountain of such modest elevation. Its recognizable form and looming presence over so much of the bay, delta, and Central Valley, and good visibility even from the Mother Lode, all key regions during the gold rush and early statehood, made it not just a well-known visual touchstone but an important landmarks for mapping and navigation.
Mount Diablo is sacred to many California Native American peoples; according to Miwok mythology and Ohlone mythology, it was the point of creation. Prior to European entry, the creation narrative varied among surrounding local groups. In one surviving narrative fragment, Mount Diablo and Reed's Peak were surrounded by water; from these two islands the creator Coyote and his assistant Eagle-man made Indian people and the world. In another, Molok the Condor brought forth his grandson Wek-Wek the Falcon Hero, from within the mountain.
All of this made me pretty psyched for the visit. Here is our trip in pictures:
|Toshi's self-designed hiking pole harness|
|And off we go|
|The first rock we "had" to climb.|
|Max on the rock|
|I was surprised that the "weathering" on this rock left some formations that looked and functioned a lot like stairs.|
|I wouldn't take the kids up here.|
|Seeking shade under the oak tree at the top of the hill where we did our first bushwhacking exercise. Total fail.|
|Summit of Diablo|
|Views from Devil's Pulpit|
|Toshi is contemplating his domain|
|Devil's Pulpit was definitely the bomb|
|Sachin and Max are following Toshi and me up the ridge.|
|Toshi showing some more climbing skills|
|Sachin, getting microwaved on the north peak.|
|Toshi, enjoying his third peak of the day at mount olympus.|
|Nearing in on Mitchel Canyon|
|Cooling off at Mitchel Canyon before deciding to design the most efficient route back to the car (we were hot and tired by then)|