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bcrowell

Interesting peak in So Cal with a short technical section?

I'm a member of the Sierra Mountaineering Club, sierramountaineeringclub.org  , which is based in Sacramento but has activities statewide, including here in So Cal, where I live. We have training courses in mountaineering, rock climbing, and snow/ice technique. Our introductory mountaineering course, which I've taught once before, is a weekend in which we work a lot on traditional map-reading skills and also climb a peak. In the past, we've done this at Devil's Peak in the Tahoe area, using a route that is mainly scrambling but also has a short technical section. For that section we set up a fixed line, which everyone ascends on a Prusik. On the way down, we rappel that section.

The courses are free of charge to members, so we can do them in any location on public land, without having to get a commercial permit. We are currently working on offering these courses in So Cal, which means we would have to find appropriate locations.

Can anyone suggest an area in the Transverse Ranges where we could do the kind of activities I've described above for the intro mountaineering course? When I try to think up locations for the short technical section, all that comes to mind is various rock climbing routes in Suicide Rock and Joshua Tree, but none of these lead to any prominent or interesting peak. I've searched in the MountainProject database, and that basically pops up a lot of rock climbing routes that don't lead to any worthwhile peak. Of course the basic problem is that the rock quality is garbage in most areas of the Transverse Ranges. We also want interesting topography to practice navigation skills, and we want to be able to camp in the backcountry overnight.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
Taco

One could possibly lead a small group up Kimchi Ridge on the north side of Ontario to the summit. The rock is not very good, so a small group is best. Probably doesn't fit the bill.

Got a real short class 5 section on the southwest ridge of Buttiro Peak, which is the prominent small peak with a south facing wall near the start of the road to Cogswell Dam. Not long, not a big peak.

It might be possible to rig something up near Tahquitz, and go to the summit of that peak. There are also several semi-technical summits near San Jacinto, between that peak and the tram. Cornell and the other peaks named after colleges.
Sean

Rockbound Canyon was pretty awesome. There is a 250-foot wall with decent rock (for the Gabes), though I haven't attempted to climb it yet, so I can't tell you how hard it is. There appeared to be a possible class 4 or 5 route up the left side. But I was hiking solo, so bypassed it. Stretches of the Canyon have a stream and a couple springs (flowing in January, but don't know how long they typically last). You top out at South Mt. Hawkins in the Crystal Lake Recreation area. Plenty of space to camp a night on the fire road. And the view of the back country is spectacular.

Only problem is that you can't get to the starting point by car right now because CA-39 is closed above the East Fork Road.
bcrowell

Taco wrote:
It might be possible to rig something up near Tahquitz, and go to the summit of that peak. There are also several semi-technical summits near San Jacinto, between that peak and the tram. Cornell and the other peaks named after colleges.


Thanks for the suggestions!

Hmm...Miller and the "Ivies" are more like scrambles. I doubt that the rock quality is such that you'd be safer with ropes than without.

On Tahquitz, the best possibility that occurs to me is something in the vicinity of the friction descent route. Of course people normally descend it, and do it unroped, but I don't see any reason why you couldn't climb up it (especially in the morning, when there's nobody coming down yet). The rock quality is good enough that it would make sense to place pro, and given the exposure, it wouldn't feel too absurd to set up a belay or a fixed line somewhere. I've seen people teaching rappelling off to climber's left of that area.

I don't know if there's good/legal camping nearby. It's mostly pretty steep and brushy. The course concentrates a lot on map reading skills and things like taking a compass bearing and heading toward a point on a map. Doesn't seem like the best area to practice that, since you really can't go crashing through the brush very easily. By those criteria, Long Valley would actually be better.
atomicoyote

Taquitz Peak would probably be the best for protected rock practice.  Cornell only has a really short section on Class 5, and its around the back (north side); the south side (facing Tamarack Valley) is a Class3/Class 4 scramble.  And no real summit plateau for a group to lounge on while taking in the view.

Why not Joshua Tree?  Great rock routes, navigation practice is great, too, and you can do some hiking.  Queen Mountain or Black Mountain both have decent views from their summits; the hikes are a little long, but that'll show participants if they are in shape or not for future trips.

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