Pajuela Peak P300 ESS

Nov 24, 2023
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This summit is the southernmost peak in the Sierra Nevada, rising above the north side of SR58, which separates the Sierra to the north from the Tehachapi Mtns to the south. It lies within a private windmill farm, part of the extensive installations that have dotted Tehachapi Pass for many years now. I've been eyeing Pajuela Peak for something like two decades, and had made a first effort that was aborted when the security forces ran me out. I would have to wait for a better time to do this, but it has been on my mind for most of the last decade. I was heading out at the start of a two-week birthday desert trip, and thought this was as good a time as any. It was a few days before a full moon which would be good for a nighttime effort. Coupled with the day after Thanksgiving, I figured they probably gave everyone the long weekend off. I even stopped at the windmill HQ off Sand Canyon Rd to make sure the gate was closed and no one was about.

I then got back on SR58 and drove east to the next exit at Cameron Canyon Rd, where the PCT crosses SR58. This is where I had started on that first effort. The distance is about 2mi each way to the summit, with nearly 2,000ft of gain. The first half mile is steep cross-country to reach the network of roads that service the many windmills found here. There are no cactus or other concerning plants that might be a problem if navigating in the dark. I was happy to find the route held no surprises and I made good time in reaching the summit by 4:45p, only minutes after official sunset time. The sun had set sometime earlier behind hills to the west, but there was still plenty of light while I took a few photos looking about the southern tip of the Southern Sierra. I found the 1926 benchmarkat the highpoint, nicely spared the intrusion of the telecom installations found nearby. On the way down, I did a slow jog going downhill to help get myself down while I still had sufficient light for the cross-country portion at the bottom. I finished up around 5:30p, a total of an hour and three quarters for the outing. It was getting dark when I finished up, but the moon provided ample light that I didn't need to use a headlamp as long as I went slow enough. I took a shower at the TH when I finished before continuing on to Barstow where I would get dinner and spend the night nearby.


HyltonHiker comments on 11/25/23:
Good that you did this peak,having these windmills encroaching this countryside is a joke. I've been eying this peak also since I successfully summited Cache Peak 7 years ago also on the wind farm property. I will do this peak when the time is right
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