La Cumbre Peak
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Temescal Peak was the last of the 10 LPC peaks in the Santa Monica Mtns that I had not climbed in the previous few days. I got up early to start before 6a at the Trippet Ranch Trailhead in Topanga State Park. I had already done most of this hike a number of years ago, but had not gone up the last hundred yards or so to tag the summit, a spur off the main trail.
The sun rose quickly, lighting up first a few straggling clouds, then the surrounding peaks in the range. Once at The Latitude, a ten minute hike from the start, the route follows a series of fire roads along the ridgecrests and the views are quite fine. To the south the fog had crept in from the ocean to cover the lower reaches of the Santa Ynez Canyon. To the west the sun had painted the higher peaks in an orange glow.
There were numerous rabbits that darted out from the brush or off the road as I cruised along. Not all of them had the normal instinct to run in the opposite direction, as some seemed confused and first ran towards me before veering off to the side or pausing to get a better scope on the situation. Rarely have I seen rabbits that would actually give me the time to get photographs of them as they did on this outing.
I took a roundabout route to get to Temescal, first paying a visit to Eagle Rock, an overlook about a mile NNW of Temescal. There was a nice view from the top and a wooden bench nearby for the weary. I continued on the semi-circle loop heading west, arriving at the kiosk at Junction Saddle around 6:45a. From here it was but fifteen minutes to the summit of Temescal, faster if you know the best way. Since I didn't, I ended up circling around the west and south side of the moutain, starting on the Backbone Trail at a junction, then finding a use trail heading up to the top from the south.
The summit had a benchmark labled "DIVIDE" placed in 1933 plus an HPS-style summit register among a small pile of stones. Aside from a few power lines, the place seemed fairly remote though it was surrounded by the Greater Los Angeles sprawl. With fog closely crowding the coast and blocking views of the city to the southeast, it was mostly the chaparral-covered hills of the Santa Monica Mtns that could be seen in all directions. The easier route is an overgrown usetrail off the northwest side of the peak.
With a bit of jogging and taking a more direct route back to Trippet Ranch, I made it back to the van before 8a for a two hour morning. I drove back to my sister's house, picked up my son, and together we continued our roadtrip heading north to Santa Barbara. We had arranged to meet with my brother Ron for a hike to Cathedral Peak in the coastal range above Santa Barbara.
The outing to Cathedral turned out to be a dud. We drove up Gibralter Road to West Camino Cielo on the crest of the range. We drove about a mile further to a turnoff for La Cumbre Peak. I went up to tag La Cumbre and photograph the summit lookout while Ron and Ryan waited just below at a view point. The hike to Cathedral Peak was supposed to go down the slope to a connecting saddle some 1,000ft below before climbing up half that distance to the summit of Cathedral. We were unable to find any use trail in the chaparral though we made a number of attempts from different locations that seemed most logical. A fire from the previous year had left much of the hillsides black and burnt, and brush cleared to protect the facilities atop La Cumbre had been plowed and piled in heaps around the perimeter, further confusing things. In the end I called a halt to the effort, much to the surprise of both the others. Though I'd have been willing to subject myself and possibly Ron to a horrendous bushwhack, I was not going to push that on Ryan. I'm not sure which was more relieved of the two, but they were happy to follow me back to the van and call it a day. I would come back sometime in the future to visit Cathedral by another route from the southeast, harder perhaps, but more certain.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Temescal Peak
This page last updated: Fri Jul 24 16:21:37 2009
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