I had camped the night along dirt Sierra Madre Rd in the Sierra Madre
Mountains in Santa Barbara County. In the morning I was up before
to begin my day, tagging a collection of peaks along the crest of the
range and a P1K found a few miles off it. Most of the hikes were very
short, usually less than a quarter mile, and they were somewhat
repetitive following a use trail along an old firebreak that used to
run along the crest. I'd brought my mountain bike which saw much use,
first to Treplett and then for the last three summits when I got tired
of driving the road. With low-clearance, it was necessary to drive
slowly for much of the road as it winds its way up the crest for almost
30mi. All of these would be trivial with a decent high-clearance (and
even a moderate-clearance) vehicle.
There are two summits, the highest to the north. The lower south summit
is crowned with multiple telecom towers (including 4G cell). A spur road
forks off Sierra Madre Rd south of the south summit, going
to the towers. A use trail can then be followed
along the crest to the higher summit.
Miranda Pine Mtn
There is a USFS campground on the southern flanks of
this one. The shortest and easiest route is up from the west
where grass slopes can be found (avoids the heavy chaparral further
north). A convenient turnout and use trail then lead to
the summit under the shade of the pines and oaks that grow here.
This is one of the P1Ks in the area that had attracted my attention to
for this trip. A high-clearance vehicle can drive the 6mi+ from Sierra
Madre Rd nearly to the summit. The road starts at the same
location as the Miranda Pine
CG turnoff. It continued past Treplett for many miles, eventually
connecting through Colson Canyon to paved Tepusquet Road to the west.
There is a 1,100-foot drop to Pine Flat at the saddle, then a
climb of 1,000ft up to Treplett. I rode my bike from Sierra
Madre Rd, taking about 2hrs for the roundtrip. I parked the bike
just north of the summit and hiked up through easy
cross-country to the top. Left a register here since it looked
to deserve one. Nice views all around.
A short hike up a use trail starting NE of the summit.
Open views, but
nothing too impressive. As with most of the summits along the crest,
there are fine views of Cuyama Valley to the north and east.
Another short hike from the road starting south of the summit.
This one doesn't have much prominence
and thus didn't make the cut on ListsOfJohn.com. It's found on
peakbagger.com, however. There is an old game guzzler at
the summit, no longer serviceable. Very brushy on top, too.
It was around this time that I got tired of driving the road, so I
parked the van at a small saddle north of Spoor BM and first
climbed this one.
After returning I got out the bike and continued up the road, about
10mi to the last two, both unnamed.
This was the only summit to have a register.
Daryn Dodge and Kathy Rich
left it earlier in the year, naming it after Greg Gerlach and claiming
that Andrew Kirmse had "discovered" this P300 summit. I have my doubts.
LoJ has the slightly lower north summit in its database, a common error
when double summits haven't been surveyed. I was wondering why this puny
summit without much going for it was selected to be named "Gerlach Peak".
It then occurred to me that, since it's over 5,000ft in height, it's
eligible for the HPS list. Having now been to the top, I'm one step ahead
of those pesky HPSers with their shape-shifting peak list. Easy climb
from the saddle SE of the summit.
The highest and last of the day's peaks is a short climb
from the south. I found a cairn on what looks like the highest
rocks under some tree foliage. Gave it a register as just reward for
anyone whacking through a little brush to reach it. Peak Mtn, an HPS
summit is just under 2mi to the east. McPherson,
another HPS summit is partially blocked from view behind Peak Mtn. Having
been to those summits already, I turned around here and rode back
to the van.
I spent about 2 1/4hrs on these last three peaks, covering
more than 20mi. I doubt the van would have been much faster if I'd used
it instead. It would take well over an hour to drive my back down to
SR166 after I had showered and made good use of the cell service near
Plowshare Peak. I had finished the peaks along Sierra Madre Rd faster
than I had expected, but I had plenty of other plans to keep me busy the