Last weekend I hiked Cave Mountain again. I've hiked it many times now and I've been to the summit 3 or 4 times. This time I took Luke up the easy route. In 2008 we hiked a steep ridge line from the northwest side. That was hard. On this hike, we took the green route shown on the topo map here. Our previous hike was the blue route. I don't recommend that unless you're in good shape and enjoy route finding. As it is, the green route also requires a little route finding. But just a little. Here's a photo of the highway looking north toward Baker from the summit.
The weather started out fine, with a breeze and temps in the high 70s. It took us about 2 hours to reach the top. By the time we started down, the wind had picked up and it was very very windy at times.
I've marked our route in several of the photos as an experiment. Sorry if it's annoying. We began by hiking up the 4wd trail toward a saddle. To avoid crossing unnecessary hills on the ridgeline, we turned left short of the saddle and cut across the desert to reach a small ridge that leads to the main southern ridgeline. Looking back from that ridgeline, you can see the use trail we followed.
Lookup up from there, the summit is kinda in view.
From this position, there are many choices. You can go sraight up the steep gully, but I prefer to take a traverse.
Then there's a large relatively flat area. Again, you can choose any route you like, but I prefer the less-steep traverse to the saddle on the left.
Here's a shot looking back from about midway along that traverse.
Then the highway is visible from the saddle.
The route up is easier than it looks. It's pretty easy to hike up those boulders.
I like these cube shaped boulders. They are huge. About 20 feet on a side.
From above the cubes, this shot looks down on the ridgeline that's the blue route in my map.
Luke found the summit register. He even signed it. I almost never sign those. Coincidentally, Bob Burd hiked the hill recently. He had also hiked Kelso Peak shortly before Luke and I did last year. Bob took a different route up Cave Mountain. Here's the map from his trip report. He took one similar to what Andy Zdon published in his book Desert Summits. I think that route is harder and longer.
And another shot of the highway.
The breezy day made it hazy. For comparison, here's a similar photo I took in 2008 with a different camera.