Fernando 2 BM 2x P1K
May BM P300 LPC

Apr 17, 2016
Fernando 2 BM
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPXs: 1 2 3 Profile
Fernando 2 BM previously climbed Dec 27, 2011


Fernando 2 BM / May BM

My daughter's team finished up early on the last day of a three day VB tournament in downtown Los Angeles. Afterwards, my wife and daughter would board a flight home to San Jose while I spent the week driving to the next VB tournament in Reno, NV the following weekend. This would give me the opportunity to drive up the Eastern Sierra along US395 and do some peakbagging along the way. Tonight I'd made plans to have dinner with my sister and nephew who live in Santa Clarita, so I found a few easy peaks to tackle on my there and work up an appetite. May BM, located at the west end of the San Gabriel Mtns, just north of San Fernando, had been added to the LPC list several years ago. I was busy elsewhere when Tom Becht was finishing the list earlier this year, so it seemed as good a time as any to nab it now. I got off the 210 freeway at Osborne St and drove the windy Little Tujunga Rd all the way to Bear Divide on the crest of the range. From here I drove west a few more miles to the County of Los Angeles Fire Dept's Camp 9. It's a popular destination for road cyclists riding up Tujunga Canyon and Sand Canyon Rd, as well as mtn bikers coming up the Santa Clara Truck Trail from the west and Wilson & May Canyon Truck Trails from the south. At nearly 4,000ft, it makes for quite a ride up from the valleys below. The hike to May BM is rather tame, and that includes a visit to Fernando 2 BM which is only a few hundred feet from the parking lot at the west end of Camp 9, a roundtrip effort of little over 2mi. One can make this significantly harder (by hiking from the base of the mountain on the north or south sides) or somewhat easier by driving a portion of the Santa Clara Truck Trail to the base of the mountain.

Fernando 2 BM, a P1K that I had visited four years earlier, has been bulldozed over a large area leaving a communications installation found at the south end. I didn't find a benchmark labeled "Fernando 2" on that first visit nor on the current one, but there is a CAMP benchmark from 1983. A fence encloses the installation and a large part of the bulldozed summit, but a use trail takes you across the top outside the fence and west down the other side. The descent trail is somewhat steep and loose, not great footing, but better than dealing with brush. It connects with the truck trail at the saddle with May BM before zigzagging its way up the east side of the second summit. It took about 25min to reach the top of May BM where a register can be found amongst a collection of rocks next to the benchmark. I signed onto the page of signatures with Tom's LPC list finish as a way to join him after the fact, if not actually in spirit. Though not an impressive summit, the view overlooking the San Fernando Valley is nice. I spent the first 24yrs of my life growing up here and my visits often brings back fond memories. The one thing missing from the view from when I was a kid was the thick, brownish-black smog that would have made such a view exceedingly rare (a few times a year I could see the surrounding mountains following a rainstorm). Thank you unleaded gas.

I wandered northwest off the summit, the shorter route to the truck trail, even though slightly longer overall back to where I'd started. I walked the badly worn pavement of the road back to the saddle before climbing back up to the top of Fernando 2 BM via the use trail. Back by noon, the outing had taken barely an hour. These were the only two summits found on LoJ, but as is often the case, PB (peakbagger.com) often has other semi-random points that users have submitted as "summits", some more deserving than others. I pulled out my phone and fired up the PB app and lo and behold there were three other such summits listed nearby. Karl Fieberling had recently logged ascents to all of them, so they couldn't be all bad, right?

Hero Peak / Tribute Peak

Hero Peak is found immediately east of the fire station, a small knoll that hosts the large water tank servicing the station. I parked at the base of a use trail running up the west side and took all of four minutes to climb to the top. This is the shortest route to the summit. A somewhat longer use trail runs up from the southeast and a third option starts from near Bear Divide to the east, making for a longer, mile-long hike to the top. One is treated to a nice view of Magic Mtn and other summits of the San Gabriels to the east. The summit also provides a good vantage from which to take in Fernando 2 BM to the west. But as summits go, it's pretty lame. So much so that when I got back to the van I decided to keep hiking the 3/4 mile northwest along the truck trail to Tribute Peak which is a mere 1/3mi north of San Fernando 2 BM. Had I known about it earlier, I could have tagged it while walking back along the truck trail. One could easily drive to the base too, making for a "summit" that takes but a minute to tag. The saving grace of the hike was the horned lizard I found along the way - cute little devils, not often seen in the state. The summit provides a nice view of Santa Clarita and the Placerita Canyon State Park areas. Both of these summits could easily have been combined with the first two summits by simply parking in the main parking area of the fire station.

Mesa BM

I drove a mile back along the main road towards Bear Divide, stopping at a bend where the road turns sharply to the north. A short hike of a quarter mile takes one south to the end of a subsidiary ridgeline where two small installations can be found. The lower one is the site of Mesa BM, also called Contact Point on the topo map. I found no benchmark, but did note an interesting use trail continuing steeply down to the south. To the southeast is a view of Pacoima Dam, a tall concrete barrier holding back the Pacoima Reservoir (low water level today).

It was just after 1p when I finished back at the van, barely two hours for the day, which was just as well - more time for visiting with my sister and nephew...


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