Posted by: martinworster | June 2, 2015

Hiking the So Cal Six Pack of Peaks

Climbing the six highest mountains in Southern California with my nine year old son…

Wildflowers on Los Pino's peak, Orange County's fourth highest mountain

Wildflowers on Los Pino’s peak, Orange County’s fourth highest mountain

Having bagged Mount Whitney last year – at 14,505 feet (4,421 m) the highest mountain in the contiguous United States – it only seemed natural that I’d want to climb (well hike) the biggest peaks in Southern California. After doing the Whitney hike in a day – 22 miles return on challenging terrain with lack of oxygen – I felt that anything was possible. Also, my 9 year old son Tristan got wind of the idea and decided he’d like get in on the action. The list of peaks in reverse order of height are as follows:

1. Mt Wilson

Distance: 14 miles
Elevation: 5710 feet
Vertical gain: 4,200 feet

2. Cucamonga Peak

Distance: 12 miles
Elevation: 8,859 feet
Vertical gain: 4,300 feet

3. Mt San Antonio (Mt Baldy)

Distance: 10.2 miles
Elevation: 10,068 feet
Vertical gain: 3,900 feet

4. San Bernadino Peak

Distance: 16.5 miles
Elevation: 10,649 feet
Vertical gain: 4,702 feet

5. Mt San Jacinto

Distance: 11.4 feet
Elevation: 10,834 feet
Vertical gain: 4,702 feet

6. Mount Gorgonio

Distance: 17.3 miles
Elevation: 11,503 feet
Vertical gain: 5,840 feet

Close up of an unknown insect

Despite the amazing views I decided to experiment with the macro feature on my camera

I’d been hiking with Tristan on various local trails and hills but nothing too extreme. I doubt we had ever done anything more than five miles. A few weekends ago we’d hiked Los Pinos peak in Orange County (4,555 feet – the fourth highest mountain in OC). I know, the fourth highest mountain in the OC is a bit ‘9th man on the moon’, although not a walk in the park for a young boy. To give you some idea of scale Ben Nevis, the highest mountain in Britain, is 4,409 feet. To be fair, on the Los Pinos hike we’d driven quite a way up, I’d say the return hike was approx five miles so not the longest ascent in the world. Although a healthy jaunt in the high chaparral of California. I think this little jaunt piqued Tristan’s interest. I sensed a burgeoning interest in the wilderness, geology and the facts and figures of mountains. When I told him he’d climbed higher than the highest mountain in Britain he was very excited and I seemed to have opened the adventurers door.


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