Pacifico Mountain, 7100 feet, W6/CT-015: cool morning and baked on the descent! 25 July 2013

I had never hiked Pacifico Mountain before. It is North and West of Mt Waterman. I followed the Sierra Club 100 peaks “Route 3”:
From the parking area (5320′), walk back on the road (west) about 100 yards to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT).
Follow the PCT west for about 4.2 miles to a flat area NNE of the Pacifico summit.
Hike SE then SW along a gentle, forested ridge to the summit (approximately one half mile).

Took the Sulphur Springs Road to where it became a dirt road, then walked back to the Pacific Crest Trail
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It was nice and cool to start, I even had a sweater on for the first half mile. The terrain down here is pretty much like a desert.
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Here is a view back towards Mt Waterman (CT-012), Winston Peak (non SOTA) is to the left and nearer.
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After about an hour and 2.5 miles, came to the saddle between the long ridge of Pacifico and a small hill. During Dan’s activations he went up the ridge, but it looked too steep for me so I stayed on the easier grade PCT. During the traverse of this next section of the PCT I had to brush up against the notorious “Poodle Dog” brush (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turricula_(plant) ). This is supposed to be a skin irritant, so I hoped it would not affect me too much, since I had on shorts and a short sleeved shirt. Next time in burn area hikes wear long pants and long sleeves! (Note: As of 3 days later, I had some red inflammation more akin to stinging nettles, it had a very mild itch. I react to poison oak/ivy very badly, so if poison oak is a 10 my reaction to Poodle Dog is just a “1” on a scale of 1 to 10, thank goodness!)

I was surprised to come upon a small stream, according to the map it comes from Fountainhead Spring on the Pacifico ridge above. The rest of the hike was very dry. This picture is from maybe half a mile beyond the spring.

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At around 4 miles, the trail is near the north end of the ridge, and begins to turn to the left. This is where I went directly to the left up the now forested ridge.

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I ran into some markers that must show the way from the PCT to the campground at the summit
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After traversing a false summit, reached the flat true summit area by suddenly coming upon the picnic tables at the top! According to the USFS web site, the campground is closed; it used to be a drive in camp before the station fire but the dirt road to the area is now closed. I am sure mountain bikers use the road since it is in good shape. Set up the station, by the way the IC-706 is really too heavy (6.5 pounds) for SOTA and I am getting tired of lugging it up the mountain, I am thinking about a lighter lower power rig. My coax cable is also too heavy, 50 feet of RG-8! Anyway, I was grateful for the shade of the trees and a nice picnic table at which to sit.

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Made lots of nice QSOs:
7 MHz CW: KH2TJ (s2s on W6/NS-182)
10 MHz CW: KU6J K6EL(s2s on W6/NC-423) W7RV NS7P W7CNL KG7E K0LAF K6TUY N7AMA
14 MHz CW: W0MNA N1FJ W0ERI WA2USA N4EX AE4FZ W7CNL K7NEW K5WI WI2W W4AMW N7UN WA8REI/P NA6MG (s2s on W6/CT-038)
14 MHz SSB: W7USA N7AMA W7RV

I walked around the summit area, quite a mix of burned trees from the fire and nice live trees. The actual summit is a 20 foot tall boulder with a big embedded spike on the top. I suppose people throw a rope over it to reach the top. I decided to head directly down south down the ridge as a shorter way back. Follow the dirt road for the first quarter mile or so.

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Then went cross country on an indistinct trail. I came across a mylar party balloon, this one had reached 7000 feet before coming to ground up here! I packed it out. Much of the terrain remains park-like though gets rocky and a steeper in places.
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Here is where I should have gone somewhat to the left by my judgement, but I followed a “path” a little to the right which eventually petered out amid some burned chaparral which I had to force my way through in places. You can see the hill in the background, at its foot is the PCT so at least I knew I was getting near.
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After reaching the PCT, I went on a little and found a shady spot where I rested for 10 minutes and and a half pint of water. It was getting bloody hot! Continued down, in places it felt like being in an oven as the baking ground had heated the air near the ground. By the time I got back too the car in another 45 minutes, my throat was hoarse from breathing that hot air. This was my first introduction to a shadeless hike during mid summer in the San Gabriels. I am used to the shade on mountains like Waterman, Williamson, and Kratka!
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Now back at the car, I was happy after guzzling a cold lemon lime soda from the cooler. Had another as I drove the car, then stopped for a cold beer at Newcomb’s Ranch. I was parched!
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73!
Hal
N6JZT

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Richard says:

    Yes, the IC706 is a bit heavy. Are you interested in a Yaesu 817? I have a complete QRP station for sale if interested. N6ISY

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