Mount Tamalpais (East Summit) • Northern California Coastal Ranges
• Marin County

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Date: December 20, 2000 • Elevation: 2,571 feet • Prominence: 332 feet • Distance: 0.6 miles • Time: 40 minutes • Gain: 300 feet • Conditions: Cool and windy

Mount Tamalpais (or just "Mount Tam") is the highest point of Marin County. For years, it was assumed that the east summit was the highest. However, there is strong evidence to conclude that the western summit is higher by a few feet. In 2000, I hiked to the eastern summit, but not the western summit.

I was in the Bay Area for a few days, visiting my sister and hiking a few county highpoints before the Christmas Holidays set in. Today was my last day in the area. I planned to hike Mount Tam, then head home.

From my sister's place in San Francisco, I headed north on US-101, somehow managing the heavy traffic, narrow streets and the people to get out of town and onto the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin County. I followed the signs off the highway toward Mount Tam, parked, and hiked the path to the eastern summit with its lookout structure on top. There was no one else here today, so I had the place to myself.

The views were excellent, with San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, the shipyards, and a lot of low clouds and fog. It was what one would expect when viewing San Fran from a high perch. The day was sunny, but windy with a slight chill. I tagged a few rocks then headed down, the round trip taking 40 minutes.

I then started driving home, back to Arizona. I planned to get somewhere in Southern California by nightfall and get a cheap hotel. I drove Interstate-5 south and stopped for a meal at the Andersen's Pea Soup Restaurant in Santa Nella, a landmark and a place we used to stop often when I was a kid.

I passed through Bakersfield, Tehachapi and Barstow as night fell. I pushed on to Needles. Once In Needles, I decided to keep going. I have an unofficial rule - if I am inside Arizona returning from a long road trip, I just push on home. This I did. I arrived near midnight, a 900+ mile drive from San Francisco. My cat was pissed I had been gone so long, but he was being looked after.

The western summit used to be the highest point of the mountain, but was graded down so that buildings could be placed there. It had been assumed that the eastern peak was now higher, but recently (2016), there is some consensus that the west peak is highest. At the very least, it is too close to call. Thus, as of April 2016, I have relinquished my claim to Marin County's highpoint until I visit the western summit.

(c) 2000, 2016 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.