Mother Grundy Peak

Tue, Jun 7, 2022
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I had already made several trips to this area in San Diego County along SR94, southeast of Jamul. Most recently, Patrick O'Neil and I had climbed its near neighbor, Peak 2,860ft, called Mother Gundy Peak on PB. It had a challenging summit block that Patrick was able to climb free, myself following on aid. Mother Grundy has another such summit block, though I didn't realize it on that last visit, nor when I started out today. I had misread Michael Sullivan's TR on PB and for some reason was expecting a class 3 effort. Patrick and I had actually tried to reach Mother Grundy on that previous outing when we were done with Peak 2,860ft. We drove around to the southwest side where a monastery is located. Others had gotten permission to hike the trail to the summit, but we found the entrance gated, locked, and signed as unwelcoming. There was no pedestrian access, either. As we were making a difficult turnaround, a neighbor's unfenced dogs came out to defend their territory and chase us away. We ended up climbing unnamed Peak 2,500ft on the west side of the monastery as consolation. It occurred to me while we were at the summit that this route might be used to reach Mother Grundy. The cross-country up the south side of Peak 2,500ft had only light brush. The distance to the start of the trail up Mother Grundy was only about 1/3mi from the summit of Peak 2,500ft. It did look brushier, though. More than a week later, I decided to return, but did not use this route. I was kinda tired of so much bushwhacking after a month in the county. I decided to follow the Lucky Six Truck Trail from its junction with the Mother Grundy Truck Trail on the north side of the peak. The Lucky Six road is gated shortly after the junction, but continues all the way to the monastery. It was the southern extension of this once-public truck trail that we had driven up from SR94 on the previous visit. I figured I could walk the road without disturbing anyone at the monastery since the start of the foot trail is north of the main monastery grounds. It's a longer route, about 2.5mi one-way to the summit, but it would be much easier than the route over Peak 2,500ft, I figured.

The fog had not penetrated to the higher reaches of the Mother Grundy Truck Trail where I started around 6:10a, and it would warm quickly over the next few hours. This was another day to finish early. It was a pleasant hike around the north and west sides of Mother Grundy Peak on the road, with views of the fog filling the lowlands to the west. Where the road turns south, Peak 2,500ft can be seen to nice effect. The slopes coming off its northeast side looked as brushy as they had in the satellite view I was reviewing the previous afternoon. There are small signs at the start of the foot trail where the road makes U-turn. The trail is in good shape and is regularly clipped, a good thing because the brush on either side of the drainage it ascends is very thick. A section of the trail goes up some granite slabs, the route marked by a series of red bricks stragically placed. As the trail nears the summit, there are very large boulders peppered about the landscape, many of them looking unclimbable by ordinary means. In all, I spent an hour and a quarter to reach the highpoint where I found the largest block, though not the most difficult one. The block is perhaps 40ft in height. It is vertical or overhanging on all sides. There is an adjacent block on its east side that forms an off-width crack with the main block at an angle of perhaps 40 degrees. This seemed the only reasonable route up. I made a half-hearted effort to scramble it, but I didn't get even two feet off the ground before giving up. I lack the skill, flexibility and strength to climb it, even if I was on toprope. But It's definitely climbable, perhaps 5.7-5.8. At the top of the crack there is a reachy step-across to get onto the main block, but I was unable to ascertain whether that or the initial crack would be the crux. I looked around the various spur trails that go off to other blocks, climbing a few of these but not finding the register others described. I admit I didn't really look too hard. Seems to me the register belongs atop the summit block. Unfortunately, my time in San Diego was drawing to a close and I would be unable to pay a return visit this season.

On my way back down the trail, I ran into one of the folks living at the monastery. Jeff had just started up the trail with a pair of clippers and was lightly trimming the brush. He was a most friendly fellow, asking where I'd come from and offering me food and drink back on the monastery grounds. I explained I had come from the Mother Grundy Truck Trail and was heading back there on the Lucky Six Truck Trail. He seemed delighted with the plan, never mentioning the No Trespassing signs I had undoubtedly encountered on my way earlier. We wished each other well and I continued back to the Jeep without further incident, finishing around 8:30a.

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