Peak 2,860ft P300 CS
Peak 2,500ft P300

May 24, 2022

With: Patrick O'Neill

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
Peak 2,860ft previously attempted May 23, 2022


Peak 2,860ft

I had returned from the previous day's outing a little disappointed after finding a class 5 summit block I couldn't scramble on one of the summits. That same afternoon I got a semi-random email from Patrick about something silly and thought, he might be just the guy to make a return visit more successful. I didn't have any rock climbing gear with me in San Diego, but Patrick possesses a fair amount of the stuff and has a pretty flexible schedule. After pointing him to pictures I took of the summit block, he was intrigued enough to make plans to join me the following morning. He showed up at the house in Rancho Bernardo around 7:45a, transfered a bunch of gear and stuff to the Jeep, and we drove off for the hour-long drive to the TH along Mother Grundy Rd. There was much much jockeying of gear and whatnot to bring on our hike once at the TH, eventually we kept it to a minimum - a 30m rope, one harness, a pair of rock shoes, some prussiks and ascenders. I carried the rope while Patrick carried everything else. I'm not sure where the time went, but it wasn't until 9:30a that we started out, the morning fog having dissipated and the sun already warming things up.

We followed much the same route I did the previous day with some variations, taking less than 25min to reach the summit block. Having done the approach once already, the brush didn't seem as rough on the second round. The summit block is an interesting one. It seems like it ought to have a scrambling route or easy 5th somewhere, but upon close inspection each side has its difficulties. I thought the south side would be the easiest route, with a near-vertical 4-5ft to start before the angle eases. Our efforts started with this, but we were unable to get the rope to go over the block and the angle we could manage was pretty sketchy. We then figured we could get the rope over east-west, helped with a small groove near the top of the east side to hold the rope. Patrick wanted to try climbing the west side first, but that seemed to set him up for an unfriendly pendulum should he fall (which seemed likely). The north side we only briefly looked at, though it has a decent hand crack running vertically, it is overhanging for much of it. We eventually settled on the steep slab ascent up the east side, myself belaying from the west side. By now we had spent 45min at the summit block without ever getting off the deck.

But we were ready now. With climbing shoes, Patrick was able to climb the East Face free in just a few minutes. I used a hip belay that worked well in conjunction with the friction of the rope over the granite block. We then repositioned the rope to the south side with Patrick sitting at the far north end for added rope friction. I tied a bowline on the rope around my waist. Patrick complained that that was a stupid choice and I should use a figure-eight. I thought Barbara would be proud of me for going old old school, so I backed up my bowline with another knot and called it good. I then tied a couple of knots in the rope above me to help me aid the initial part of the ascent. It was a bit awkward in my boots and it took several false starts before I was ready. On the first attempt I realized I needed a few more knots in the rope. On the second, I managed to until my boot lace just as I was stepping off the ground. Patrick called down to ask if I'd ever rock climbed before. On the third effort, I muscled my way up, hand over hand, and quickly joined Patrick at the top. Success!

We spent barely 5min at the summit. Finding no sign of previous visitors, we left a register tucked under one of the shrubs growing from the large crack in the block. Patrick then lowered me down via the south side, much as I'd come up. Once down, I untied all the knots and we repositioned the rope going west-east. I then lowered Patrick down the east side, using a hip belay from the west side once again. With the rope friction over the granite, it was surprisingly easy and took very little effort on my part to hold him. All told, we were about an hour and a half for the rope part, not speedsters certainly, but at least none of what we ended up doing felt sketchy. It would take us only 15min to make our way back to the Jeep once everything was packed up.

Peak 2,500ft

With a few more hours before we had to get going so Patrick could beat the traffic back to Orange County, we decided to attempt the adjacent Mother Grundy Peak. Knowing there was a trail to the summit from the south side, we drove some 40min around to the Lucky Six Truck Trail. The dirt road climbs high above paved Campo Rd, ending at a pair of gates. One goes to the Madre Grande Monastery, the other a private residence. In his TR on PB, George Christiansen mentions visiting the monastery HQ, making a donation, and heading off to hike. It seemed less welcoming to us. The gate was locked with fencing around, no pedestrian access, and No Trespassing conspicuously posted. Not the friendly monks we were hoping for. It didn't help that two large dogs from the private residence came out to chase us off. This would not do. As consolation, we drove back out about a quarter mile and then paid visit to Peak 2,500ft as consolation. This is a short 1/3mi hike gaining about 400ft. The brush is surprisingly light on the south slopes we followed to the summit. There is a moderately-sized cairn at one point, a small collection of rocks further north sheltering a Mark Adrian register from 2019. Mother Grundy rises higher to the northeast. We could see the summit trail starting from the Lucky Six TT. To the east is the monastery property. It occurred to me that Peak 2,500ft could be used to reach Mother Grundy, after descending about 400ft off the NE side. I will keep that in mind if I can't find a way to get myself invited to the monastery.

We finished up back at the Jeep shortly before 1p, then spent the next hour+ driving back to Rancho Bernardo. A relatively short day, but a satisfying one at that...

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