Mission Point LPC
Stony Point

Fri, Jun 26, 2009
Mission Point
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 Profile
Stony Point later climbed Fri, Nov 25, 2011


I forgot my camera for this outing which was too bad, because both peaks were in interesting areas with good views. The featured picture is of Stony Point taken the following day.

Ryan and I were staying at my sister's family's place in the San Fernando Valley, but Ryan had had enough of hiking the previous four days. So I was on my own as I got up at 6a while most of the house was still asleep. I decided on an easy outing to an LPC peak about 20 minutes away. Mission Peak lies above Granada Hills at the north end of the valley, reachable from O'Melveny Park. The park is the second largest in the City of Los Angeles, donated by John O'Melveny in 1984 upon his death. O'Melveny formed the first law firm in LA and represented many of the wealthy area families in the first half of the 20th century.

I had a 7.5' topo map of the area but it was well out of date. I drove up and down Balboa Blvd in rush hour traffic before turning off in a residential area and stumbled upon the park which does not show up on the map. I wasn't even sure I could get to the peak from the park, but it seemed a good shot.

I couldn't find a map inside the park at any of several kiosks, so I sort of wandered north through the park on a bridal path before turning left onto a well-packed use trail. The trail started off nicely, but soon grew steeper up the grassy hillsides, eventually splintering into several weaker trails. With a hand in front of me to push back the head-level dry brush, I fought my way up the slopes for about 15 minutes before coming out on a plowed dirt path. Evidently this path was the *real* trail to Mission Peak, not the part I had just ascended.

I followed this trail west for a few minutes. Where it turned abruptly left and headed back downhill, I followed the smaller use trail zig-zagging its way up another steep slope to the summit. In all it took about 45 minutes to cover the 2mi distance. The survey markers originally set in 1932 had been reset in 1987. In addition there is a small stone monument with a plaque to a Mario A. deCampos who was a respected physician and Sierra Club member in the area. He died in 1984 and the monument was errected a few months later by friends and family. He still has grandchildren living in the area.

The views were very nice, a prime location to see the entire San Fernando Valley to the south with views north over the hill to Castaic Lake and the Santa Clarita area. Many of the peaks in the San Gabriels could be seen as well as the Santa Monica Mtns and other further regions. The morning was partially shrouded in coastal fog creating hazy viewing over much of the landscape. On a clear day this view must be amazing.

I headed back down the regular trail that drops into Bee Canyon, an impressive, rugged canyon that drains down through O'Melveny Park. Had I started by hiking to the north end of the park I would have been funneled onto this trail earlier. The weather had been warm on the hillsides, but cool in the shady canyon bottom. The wild nature of the canyon converts to a manicured landscape and rock-lined creek with trails and wooden bridges where it merges into the park. It would definitely be worth a second visit to the peak on a clear day (and with a camera).

Heading back to the west end of the valley I stopped at Stoney Point, one of the iconic California climbing areas dating back more than 40 years. I grew up only five miles from it, but never paid a visit until I was in my twenties, and then only for one unimpressive bouldering session that did nothing to ignite a passion for the sport. But Stony Point played an important role as testing ground and winter training area for some of the well-known climbers of the 60s and 70s. It's almost funny that such a dumpy little pile of rocks should be so well known, but that's probably due to its proximity to a huge urban population.

That proximity has made it extremely popular, not just among climbers. Its sandstone boulders have an ungodly amount of graffiti scrawled upon them and the ground is littered with broken glass and other trash from teenage revelers that go back several generations. There has been much effort to paint over the graffiti, giving many boulders a fake, hollywood look, but overall it seems a losing battle.

I spent about half an hour scrambling up the north side and then down the opposite side. The north side is easy class 3, the south side class 2. The summit has three main boulders that are fun little bouldering problems. The north summit is lowest and easiest, class 3. The east summit appears to be the highest, easy class 4 from the west side. The west summit is the most impressive and most difficult at stout class 4. It was the only one I had to spend some time studying. All three summits have numerous bolts without hangers - seems there has been folks who feel a rap anchor is helpful and as many others that have felt them unworthy. Bolt wars live on.

After descending the south side I walked around to the west side where the ever-popular large boulder lies that seems to get the most use. The 15-foot high rock may be the most climbed boulder in the state. There are dozens of routes of varying difficulty to reach the top, circumnavigation routes and a host of one-move wonders. The rock is half covered in white chalk, there are chipped holds, pins scars, and other features chronicling the history of climbing. I climbed via the easiest route, a low class 5 route on the south side as my final tribute to Stony Point, then headed back to the car. That was about all a peak-bagger could find of interest in the place, but to the many rockclimbers in the area it can provide a lifetime of recreation.


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