Beatty Ridge
Oak Ridge
White Rock
El Sereno 3x P750

Sat, Feb 29, 2020
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
El Sereno previously attempted Mon, Sep 5, 2011

February 29 comes around once every four years, and one thing I haven't managed to do over the years is climb a summit on this day, at least by LoJ's reckoning, where one has to climb a peak with more than 300ft of prominence. I headed up to the Santa Cruz Mtns with the intention of hiking to Fat Buck Ridge, but that proved to be a bit more involved than I expected and I gave it up. Only slightly deterred, I hit up a few LoJ summits along the crest that I hadn't visited before. Then hit up El Sereno, which I had climbed previously, since I still needed something with the prominence requirement.

Beatty Ridge

Located in a subdivision on the south side of SR35, I parked within a few hundred feet of the summit and walked up to the top from the northwest. A bit to my dismay, there was a home immediately on the other side of the summit within a dozen yards, half wrapping itself around the wooded highpoint. I got out of there quickly before someone might have spotted me. What an embarassment trying to explain why I was on this little knoll in someone's backyard with 40ft of prominence.

Oak Ridge

This one immediately south of SR35, also with very little prominence. I parked just off the highway on the north side of the summit and went up a steep slope with little brush to the highpoint. There is a house to the west of the point I reached which may be slightly higher. Again, I didn't want to be seen wandering around someone's backyard so I hightailed it out of there.

White Rock

This one I had to give up on. After a longish drive down Upper Zayante Rd from SR35 and then up a paved spur road signed a ridiculous number of times for No Trespassing, I got as far as the home that lies above and north of White Rock. I could see no way to get around this home to reach the rock outcrop without walking through the property. Lower down on the road, one could scramble up a creekbed/slope on the SE side, only about 1/3mi, but it was covered in considerable brush and no small amount of poison oak. Now I see why there are no recorded ascents on PB or LoJ.

El Sereno

This one is easy, mostly. I'd last been to it nine years earlier and not much has changed since then. As has been pointed out by others, including myself, there is a wall of manzanita off the dirt road that nearly goes over the summit. So far, it seems that everyone did as I'd done on that first visit, getting within about 80ft and calling it good. The OCD in me said I should at least try to find a way closer, and I managed to do just that. By walking west a little further, one can get into the oak forest on the edge of the manzanita and make your way around the north side of the highpoint. From there, I was able to make a tunnel into the manzanita to reach the highpoint. This was a neat little manuever, and if I'd had a register with me I'd probably have left it here. Someone repeating the route should find a faint trail of broken branches to the summit. No views of course, but bonus points for the extra effort. Oh, and lots of poison oak here, too, but not enough to deter me. The new leaves were just starting to come on on the branches to make it easier to spot (and avoid).

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