Wed, Mar 8, 2017
I was in the Santa Clarita area of Southern California for a couple of days of peakbagging before joining the family in Irvine for a volleyball tournament. Patrick was driving up from Dana Point to join me, but traffic would conspire to push his arrival past our 8a meeting plan. Luckily he was able to text me well ahead and I had time to tag an extra summit while he sat in traffic. Poor Patrick. Our outing in the Magic Mountain Wilderness would start from Soledad Canyon, with plans to tag both the Wilderness Highpoint and Prominence Point. The highpoint is reached fairly easily, but the prominence point has recorded only a single party visiting it, reported to be a tough bushwhack. I had come prepared with clippers to groom a trail from one peak to the other, but luck was on our side today. The Sand Fire from July 2016 had swept across almost the entire wilderness which is located on the northwest side of the San Gabriel Mountains. The fire had been unusually thorough, leaving very little standing in its wake. Consequently, the clippers would go unused and cross-country travel on almost all the slopes, ridges and ravines was completely brush-free. This allowed us to reach another minor summit in the area that was last reached 13yrs earlier (undoubtedly after the previous fire cycle). All in all, a great day that we both enjoyed a good deal.
It was just before noon when we reached the Wilderness HP, having taken 2.5hrs. There was a small, single-page register left by Keith Christensen in 2013. There were other entries by Craig Barlow, Paul Garry and Bob Sumner, all among the usual suspects. Our highpoint at 4,700ft was less than half a mile off the crest of the San Gabriel Mtns to the south. Magic Mtn rose a few hundred feet higher about 2.5mi WSW, with the much higher MT. Gleason about 7mi ESE. Following a stop of sufficient length to allow Patrick to top off his fuel tank, we turned back, heading to Pt. 3,665ft and on to the Wilderness PP. We covered the 1.7mi wth a 750-foot drop through a saddle in about an hour, arriving not long after 1p. There was no register here, though this didn't really come as a surprise. I've not found anyone outside myself yet interested in Wilderness Prominence Points, so to most this was just unnamed Peak 4,054ft, normally a brushy undertaking. We were doing so well on time that it was easy to convince Patrick to continue northwest to unnamed Peak 3,897ft, another mile further. The saddle between the two was easier than the last, but still more than 450ft. We were surprised to see a cairn here, and more surprised yet to find a register in a nested set of cans. No one had yet recorded an ascent on PB or LoJ, so we wondered who might have left it back in 2003. His name is Bill Johnson, a fairly common name but not one we'd heard of in peakbagging circles. A few other parties visited the summit in 2004, then silence. We suspect that the register had been placed after a previous fire, with the brush then growing back and making a visit almost impossible. We headed northeast off the summit, following a ridgeline down to a small creek channel, the last half mile back to Soledad Canyon following this creek. With something over a mile to walk back along Soledad Canyon Rd, we stopped at the rustic Rio Market for some soda before returning to where we'd started around 3:45p.
It was 5p when we returned to our vehicles. We showered and drove back into town for dinner (mexican at Casa Vieja, corner of Soledad Canyon Rd and Sierra Hwy) and margaritas. Mmmmm. Later we drove back out to more rural areas, finding a quiet place off Davenport Rd to spend the night. More fun on tap for the next day...
This page last updated: Sat Mar 11 19:33:27 2017
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