Sheep Hills
Multon BM P300

Sun, Jan 21, 2018
Sheep Hills
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 3


This was a few hours of egregious peakbagging, an embarrassing and shameful display of stat-padding. I had driven to San Diego specifically so I could drive my daughter back to UCSB the day after she'd seen the play Hamilton with her mother (who was more conveniently flying back to San Jose). Little did we realize that US101 was still closed at Montecito due to mudslides and it would not be reasonable to reach Santa Barbara from the LA area. So instead we bought her a train ticket and I was to drop her off in Irvine to catch an 11a train. She wanted to get a hike in with Dad before her return so I picked out a semi-random peak from PB that would amount to about a mile hiking, all told, just enough to use up the available time before she needed to get to the train station. Unfortunately it was somewhat of a poor choice. The other two "summits" were in Orange County in the hills about the upscale Aliso Viejo community. Neither offered much in the way of a workout or amusement. Feeling a bit dirty after these weak efforts, I headed north to Santa Clarita to have dinner and spend the night with my sister - a much better use of my time, as it turned out.

Wire Mountain

The unfortunate part was that I grabbed this one off, a site I usually treat with some suspicion. Today would have been a good time to double check. PB shows a small hill between SR76 and Camp Pendleton to be Wire Mountain. There is a gate at the bottom of the road (Wala Dr) leading to the top from the south, but this is only for vehicles and signs seem to indicate hikers are welcome. We hiked the half mile to the top where we found the expected fences around the highpoint. Others have reported circling the fence to call it good, but Jackie and I had little trouble breaching the fence to stand atop the roof of the underground reservoir. We spent a little over half an hour on the effort. The trouble with this all turns out to be Wire Mountain (as shown on the topo map) is a small community within Camp Pendleton, about 0.6mi to the west. LoJ shows this correctly and the two are linked together on the peakbagger app, which just makes for a confusing mess. Boo. After making the appropriate inquiries, PB changed this one to "Wire Mtn East". A fair solution, imo.

Sheep Hills

After dropping Jackie off at the Irvine Amtrak station, I drove out to Aliso Viejo. The Sheep Hills are a small range within the larger coastal hills above Laguna Beach and San Juan Capistrano. Pricey Soka University, based on buddhist principles, occupies the highground, adjacent to Aliso Viejo. The guard at the entrance was kind enough to let me drive in after taking down some identifying info. The highpoint is found outside the dorms at the west end of the school. They are building a couple more large dorms nearby and have piled up some dirt to make a temporary highpoint in the construction zone. I thought it would be weird explaining myself if someone caught me going over fence there to scramble up it. Sunday turned out to be a good time for unshaven old guys to visit without getting odd looks. I was happy to find the place mostly deserted.

Multon BM

This one is actually legit (prominence>300ft), about a mile and half north of Sheep Hills. There are water tanks and a small telecom tower at the summit on the edge of Aliso Viejo. The public can access the summit from the undeveloped wilderness park that occupies most of Wood Canyon to the east. One TR on PB has a track getting there from Soka University, a clever route but more work than I was interested in. There is a road going to the top and I was determined to use it. The trouble here is that the road comes down through a gated community within Aliso Viejo, exclusivity within exclusiveness. I parked outside one of the entrance gates and simply waited for a car to exit before walking in. It felt weird walking through a neighborhood where literally NO ONE goes walking. After walking a few blocks I realized the gated community was adjacent to the one I really wanted to breach. Rats. Some studying of the satellite view found a way to climb over a wall between the two communities to access the road and use trails leading up to the summit. There are actually some nice views from the top. The benchmark seems to lie under a concrete pad for the telecom tower, but I did find a reference mark along the use trail I followed. The five minutes of actual enjoyment on the use trail and summit did not adequately compensate for having to walk through the suburban development. Yuck.


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