Peak 8,044ft P500
Peak 7,005ft P500
Peak 5,359ft
Chiquito Ridge South P500 CS
Whisky Ridge P300
Whisky Ridge South P300

Aug 27, 2021
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profiles: 1 2


The second of two days in the Sierra National Forest was spent driving around the 8mi-long Chiquito Ridge to tag a handful of lesser summits in the area. I had visited the two highest peaks, Shuteye and Little Shuteye, back in 2012. Since then, the massive 2020 Creek Fire had burned over most of the areas I visited today, though it was not as destructive as some other fires. Many trees were spared and the burn was not as thorough as I've seen elsewhere, suggesting the area will recover more quickly over the next few decades. Most of the hikes were short, but a few of them were more involved, giving me some mileage to keep me busy. The biggest surprise was Chiquito Ridge South, a summit with more than 500ft of prominence SE of Shuteye Peak that proved stiff class 3 and a nice adventure.

Peak 8,044ft

I had camped the night off Beasore Rd near Cold Springs Meadow, about half a mile west of Peak 8,044ft. The peak anchors the northernmost extent of Chiquito Ridge and was the only peak I visited not touched by the 2020 fire. Consequently, it had more brush to content with than any of the others and would keep me guessing all the way to the top. Starting off at 6:15a, I headed southeast towards a low saddle that looked to offer the least brush. This worked well enough until I was over the saddle and found a confusing mix of brush, forest, boulders and granite slabs to slow me down for the next 20min or so. The sun rose through a smoky haze, though not as bad as other parts of the range at the moment. After reaching a second saddle, I turned north to scramble up to the summit, finding it was further north than I'd hoped with some class 3 scrambling from the lower point I'd reached first. There were partial views from the top, primarily to the south. I left a register here before heading down. My descent route was much better, both more direct and almost entirely through forest understory with easier travel. I was back to the Jeep after little more than an hour's time.

Peak 7,005ft

I returned to Beasore Rd, then forked off on FR6S01 and FR6S71, both paved roads that traverse the east side of Chiquito Ridge before eventually connecting to Minarets Vista Rd far to the south. I used various spur dirt roads to get within a quarter mile of Peak 7,005ft on its northwest side. This summit had burned in 2020 as well as back in the 2008 Chiquito Fire. Though there was plenty of charred snags and burn evidence, many of the trees survived. It took only 15min to find my way to the summit. The peak lies east of Chiquito Ridge, which can be seen through the trees rising another 1,300ft higher to Little Shuteye Peak.

Peak 5,359ft

Another 30min of driving, most of it downhill, got me within 1/3mi of Peak 5,359ft. This was the lowest summit I would visit on the day, an easy hike with very little elevation gain through forest understory. Views are marginal, with a partial one looking north across the Chiquito Creek drainage.

Chiquito Ridge South

An hour of driving got me around the south and west sides of Chiquito Ridge, to the end of a spur road off FR7S02. This is the TH for Shuteye Pass that goes over a saddle between Shuteye Peak and Chiquito Ridge South. The trail seems to get little use, but there is decent OHV traffic out to the end of the driveable portion. From the TH, it's a little over a mile and a half to the summit. The first part is easy up to Shuteye Pass on a good trail. Some rock art decorates the pass. I turned southeast to head cross-country along the ridgeline to the highpoint, finding some challenging scrambling. The first ten minutes is easy through burned forest, then the granite blocks and slabs take over. I bypassed a first obstacle on the right side, descending a pile of large boulders at stiff class 3. This led to another saddle and easier travel around the left side of a larger obstacle, getting me to a third saddle just west of the highpoint. I moved around to the west side and found a ramp/gully that ended being the crux of the outing with a few tough moves to get out of the top of the gully. More class 3 blocks led to the highpoint an hour and a quarter after starting out. I found it unexpectedly (but not unwelcome) challenging. The views at the rocky top are open in all directions, notably to the north along the length of Chiquito Ridge and south to a lower, possibly more difficult point a short distance off. Smoke obscurred much of the far views. Finding no register here, I left one before reversing the route back to the Jeep. It wasn't until 12:30p that I returned, having spent almost 2.5hrs on the effort - a Western Sierra classic, I thought.

Whiskey Ridge

Whiskey Ridge is found southwest of Chiquito Ridge. It took only a bit of driving to get myself to the east side of the highpoint along FR7S06. The cross-country hike is short, taking all of seven minutes to reach the top. No views.

Whiskey Ridge South

I thought this one would also be short, as there are forest roads that get pretty close on three sides. Unfortunately, there was downfall along FR7S34 that I traveled, stopping me two miles from the summit. Someone had cut the large log enough to get an ATV through, but it was not wide enough for the Jeep. A second cut had been started, but never finished. I considered leaving it for another time, but I had to admit I still had plenty of daylight, so I set out on foot. An easy hike along road, meadows, and forest understory got me to the summit in about an hour. I startled a momma bear and cub shortly before reaching the summit, but they were nearly out of sight before I could get the camera out for a poor photo. The summit had burned over in the 2020 fire, but the snags still stood and blocked most of the views. Another 50min saw me back to the Jeep.

I had planned on a last summit in Peckinpah Mtn, about four miles to the southwest. It's not much of a mountain, more of an indistinct bump on a long ridgeline leading up to Whiskey Ridge from the west. It wasn't until I was standing on what I thought was the correct bump that I realized I had driven half a mile past it. Grrr. Apparently I hadn't paid well-enough attention to the GPSr I had in the car with me. A bit disgusted with my performance, I decided I didn't care enough about something with maybe 40ft of prominence covered in brush, and just continued down the road, eventually landing in South Fork and better roads that could see me home...

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