Peak 1,940ft P500
Peak 1,108ft

May 28, 2022
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX


The family was coming to join me in San Diego for the weekend, so I had only a few hours to squeeze in a couple of hikes while Mom went to pick daughter up from the train station.

Peak 1,940ft

This summit is found within the Cleveland National Forest adjacent to and above the El Capitan Lake Recreation Area. The trailhead is at Jet Ski Point, though there's no actual trail. I parked in the overflow lot on the west side of the road because it saved me a few hundred feet of hiking. The hike is short, only about 3/4mi each way, but it climbs more than 1,000ft and is very steep. Thankfully, much of the NE Ridge can be climbed on grass between the brush. The only real brush comes at the beginning in climbing to a transmission tower a few hundred feet up, and even that isn't too bad if you weave around for the better paths. Late May is not a good time to climb it - the stickers and thistles from the grasses were attaching to just about every pore on my boots and socks, even with long pants. Once the steep section is dispensed with, the summit rocks come into view another quarter mile to the southwest. There's little elevation gain left and one can follow an old motorcycle track the entire way. There are two summits to this one, within a foot or two of each other, too little difference for me to pick a winner, so I climbed both. The register left by Mark Adrian in 2018 is located at the base of the western summit block. It is located outside the NF on private property, demarcated by a barbed-wire fence. The eastern block is where LoJ has the summit. It is comprised of two closely-spaced granite boulders about 12ft high. The sides are very steep all around. The only way I could figure out to get up the thing was to chimney in the 3-foot space between the boulders. It wasn't pretty, but it worked. After finishing the gymnastics on the eastern summit, I returned back down the NE ridge via the same route. I spent about an hour and forty minutes on the exercise.

Peak 1,108ft

This is an easier summit in the hills north of Santee, with developments surrounding it on three sides. There is a great deal of graffiti at the summit, popular with the local teens going back decades (Pacman characters date it back three decades, at least). Michael Sullivan describes a route from the southwest starting at the corner of Kerrigan St and Magnolia Av. I tried this first. As I was walking across Magnolia to the dirt road/trail heading east, it looked very familiar. I looked at my GPSr and noted it did not show me as having climbed Peak 1,108ft. Yet, it looked very familiar. Looking ahead, I saw a chain link fence around the base of the mountain and suddenly recalled that I had indeed been here only a few years ago, but I'd given up because of the fence and the proximity to so many homes. I saw that a number of folks had registered ascents on PB in the past two years, so there must be another way. I went back to the Jeep, studied the satellite views a bit, and decided I would try via the paved road going to a water tower on the north side of the summit. This worked nicely. The starting point was only a few minutes' drive north to the end of Princess Joann Rd. There is a gate signed for No Trespassing that I ignored. I hiked about half a mile up the road to the water tank. A dirt road, also gated, forks off to the left, going to the summit. It is also signed for No Trespassing. The dirt road was recently graded, but it already is covered in footprints - this is a well-used route. The road ends below the summit, but old motorcycle tracks and use trails can be taken the remaining short distance to the summit rocks. The highpoint is a large boulder, a stiff class 3 climb up its east side, aided by a lower rock to step on. It's basically a steep slab climb, only about 5ft, but a little nervy in hiking boots. Going back the same way, I spent a little less than 40min on the round trip effort.


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