Mon, Dec 29, 2008
The trail to the summit was a bit over two miles with about 1,000ft of gain, taking about 45 minutes one-way. There are three points along the east-west summit ridge vying for the highpoint, and intially I wandered up to the middle one. The highest point is on the east end of the ridge, the rockiest of the three, and most appropriate given the name. At the summit I found a boundary marker between Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, along with an unusual rock painting that might have passed for an Indian pictograph if the paint hadn't been so fresh. The views stretched east to the San Gabriels across the San Fernando Valley, south to the Santa Monica Mtns and the Pacific Ocean, and west into Simi Valley and Ventura County.
After returning home, I packed up the van and drove Ryan and his cousin Marisa out to Thousand Oaks for a climb of Simi Peak, the highpoint of the Santa Susana Mountains. The 7.5' topo does a poor job of depiciting an area that has been heavily developed since the map was last updated. Dirt roads indicated on the map are now paved suburban roads with home pressed up to the base of the hills on all sides. We drove out to the north end of Lindero Canyon Rd off US101, finding the China Flat Trail TH neatly squeezed between two homes.
The trail start off as a single track that shortly meets up with on old dirt road that switchbacks up the south side of the mountain before traversing over to the east side of the peak higher up where it reaches China Flat, a pleasant oak-studded area with several trail junctions. Though the route to the summit is not signed, we found our way by taking the left-branching forks at several turns, with the last section of single-track traversing up the north side of the mountain before reaching the summit. In all, the three miles and 1,300ft of gain took the three of us an hour and a quarter. As earlier in the day the views were exceptional, even better than on Rocky Peak. We could see at least five other county highpoints including Big Pine (Santa Barbara), Baldy (Los Angeles), San Gorgonio (San Bernardino), San Jacinto (Riverside), and Santiago (Orange). Oddly, the county highpoint for Ventura (the county we were in), was not visible, hidden to the north by the intervening Topatopa Mtns. To the south we could see the Pacific Ocean and most of the Channel Islands.
A couple of mountain bikers joined us shortly after we had reached the summit ourselves, and after a brief tour pointing out the names of the surrounding peaks, we left them with the summit to themselves. It took us about an hour for the descent via the same route we had ascended. A very nice day overall.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Rocky Peak
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