Ralston Peak P750
Shandin Hills P300
Peak 1,900ft

Thu, Nov 30, 2017
Ralston Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profiles: 1 2

With an 8hr+ drive to start an 11-day desert trip, I stopped off near Cajon Pass to give the van a rest and my legs some exercise. The summit of interest was Ralston Peak with more than 850ft of prominence, the others were just bonuses to round out the day until sunset. Neither outing was particularly difficult nor tricky.

Ralston Peak

There are various TRs one can peruse on PB, describing brush and steep slopes via approaches from the south. I found the latter but little of the former as the slopes have been burned off in the past few years, though the vegetation is nicely making a comeback. I simply went up a slope from the west off Lone Pine Canyon Rd that makes for a short but steep hike, about 900ft in less than 3/4mi. The peak is located at the eastern end of the the San Gabriel Mountains, overlooking the San Andreas Fault to the south, Cajon Pass to the north, Cajon Canyon and Interstate 15 to the east. The initial slope was moderately steep with good footing, growing steeper and sandier in the middle section before easing off for the final easy hike along the summit ridgeline. I found the summit register in disarray, the notebook lying on the ground, pencils and nested cans scattered about. I collected these back together before leaving them in a more tidy arrangement. An older set of cans held the charred remains of a few loose pages, brittle and unreadable - this one I carried down with me intending to dispose of it, but it flew out of my hand into parts unknown when I slipped onto my rear during the descent. Oops.

Shandin Hills

This is a small collection of low hills detached from the main San Gabriel Mtns, just east of Interstate 215. I had looked at these once before when I was in the area with Tom Becht and Patrick O'Neill to climb Chalk Hill, and decided I had enough time before sunset to wander about them. The highpoint is crowned with an array of microwave and cell towers. A sign off Little Mountain Drive says No Trespassing, but the gate is open and unlocked and there appears to have been quite a bit of refuse dumped off the dirt road above. It seems one could drive to both the highpoint and Chaparral BM (a PB-only summit of little note just to the southeast - one can thank Laura Newman for it). I parked at the golf course on the southwest side of Shandin Hills, just off Little Mountain Dr and hiked from there, covering the three summits in an hour and a half. I found no benchmark atop the highpoint (it may have been bulldozed for the towers) while the Chaparral benchmark was covered in graffiti. There is a lonely memorial with some plastic flowers and a bird feeder just below Chaparral BM, and a cross planted near the benchmark at the top overlooking San Bernardino to the south. On my way to Peak 1,900ft it was necessary to cross Little Mountain Dr near a pass, a tricky crossing with limited visibility in one direction. Nearby, a Nissan sportscar had crashed into a guardrail since I had driven past an hour earlier. A couple of cars had already stopped and a few police cars showed up shortly to help get things sorted out and the wreck carted off. There are some old, overgrown roads and a few use trails that reach Peak 1,900ft from various sides and I found my way to the top with little trouble. I tried to descend the west side towards the freeway and golf course, intending to make a loop of it. It worked, but not without some heavy brush to wade through and a collection of stickers in my boots and socks to dig out afterwards. At the bottom I connected with an old road that runs along the golf course boundary before exiting into an adjacent neighborhood through a tall iron gate. Luckily the gate was simply latched and not locked, making for an easy escape. A short walk through the suburban neighborhood got me back to the van in the golf course parking lot. Now to find a place to shower and get on with the remaining 2.5hrs of driving...


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This page last updated: Thu Nov 30 18:51:38 2017
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