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The great fire incinerated plants and burnt trees dead. Lots of plants and small trees are competing for height growing like weeds below the tall dead trees. The ledges with this undergrowth can be an awful poor visibility bushwhack to find the area. Its not above Jimmy Cliff.
Utopia used to be reached starting at the top of Jimmy Cliff and going east beyond the next cliff band and up to ledges. Its really thick now with fallen trees and young trees. Utopia has plenty of clean rock. There’s the east side, central and Freedonia side. Central has approximately 150-200+ feet of alpine trad rope climbing and the first fifty feet the steepest on all climbs. To the mountain summit are tree bands adjoined by slabs and by a little veering able to stay on rock. These are exfoliation slab ledges with short steep overlaps with holds or cracks. There’s also a band of blocks to climb left central. They make up a 15-30′ ground head walls about 40′ long. The ways up here are extreme climbing beyond my ability and need bolts or pinned.
Freedonia is left and up from central. It begins at the next rock band over and has slab starts to fractured head wall to similar upper rock and tree bands to the summit
East side has long slabs to grassy ledges and rock gullies and upper 20-30′ head walls. Furthest east the ground height is near equal to this head wall and not climbed yet.
The upper tree bands and gullies thicken east so directly or westward up the best higher slabs of rock to the summit. The actual mountain summit and trail are higher up.
Rescue from here is very difficult. Weather can be unbearably hot in summer or hypothermia cold by thunder clouds on the same day. Know the weather predicted before ascending. Loose rock is possible while hiking and climbing. I’ve been up and down much without any problems. There are many dog and a few dear ticks. Tree trunks often are charcoal. This gets on your hands and clothes. The new downed trees and their branches on the climbs continues. After fire, nature now doing its thing, young trees and tall plants competing for light in the incinerated enriched soil areas and rock cracks. There are nasty thorn plants.
The climbing season is best in October until the snow falls. Its very warm in the fall. Early spring has lots of ticks. Summer no vision ahead from leaves. Contend with there’ll be an obstacle coarse on the approach and some climbs. Rock climbing to the summit has its bonus the view.
Don’t go up there, unless you are capable of getting back to Buffalo Road. Worst comes to worst, there is the yellow marked hiking trail to the road but it’ll bring you out several miles west on Buffalo Road.
The old approach I have given up on doing because there are too many trees.
From the top of Bonsai trail, go up on connector trail east to cross woods and up left a rocky buttress.
Follow this buttress and go right under large boulder and ascend next ridge. Climb up it unmistakable and has to be done. On top is open slab. go down north west side through some rocks then forested meadow Ascend stream bed at boulder with a rock on top of it to identify it. The mountain summit and climbing area are a direct line up from here and come into view at the height of these forested slabs. Do not go left direct to the first crags you see. These are a fools gold and not good for climbing. This is the easiest approach to the base of the crags.
Much care is needed on this ascent not to disturb the moss, grass and forested slopes. Its doable and I have gone up it many days and left not trace. A little effort to not stomp and skid goes a long ways to keep vegetation in place. I do the approach in an hour or so. Most climbs are uphill left via the forested scree field finish. The east ledges are fifty feet to the east from trail top.
Cut logs are land marks before the stream bed going down from trail top. Same stream as Venus Wall. All the way down to Venus is complicated to describe. This is also the fire line trail and with a flashlight, I would find my way out of this area every time.
Hiking down from the east side ledges, the drop off ledges are at killer height as you weave your way back to the fire line trail.
There is also a overgrown trail on the western side of the mountain summit. When the hiking trail goes off of the rock, stay on the rock and go down to the edge of the steep slabs. Go across rocks and oak trees until able to crash through the woods to the top of the Monolith Crag (this became a learned experience and without any experience great potential for an epic doing it). At the Monolith the trail enters the woods before Monolith’s edge, at some stacked fallen downed trees on the western side of the slab top. Trail is very exposed in places and a long distance to the road. Another access to the Monolith trail is to follow the trial down off the rocks west and take a little used side trail west. This goes to some open crags and pine. Go down the opening for a long ways until escape to woods left, east is reasonable over a few rocks. Experience again is very helpful going down this way. The longest way down is the hiking trail.
Rappelling ‘Utopia’ should only be a minor trouble with the small downed tree branches and small rocks should be cleared first the ropes might pull down okay. Likely easily doable.