Summit Rock
Indian Rock

Fri, Sep 2, 2016

With: Steve Sywyk
Tom McClaughry

Indian Rock
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Friday had come. I'd already done the tough work this week with my outing to Kings Canyon. Time for a little R&R in the way of a picnic lunch. Tom drove us to a place of my choosing, this one to tag a few minor summits in the Santa Cruz Mtns. Both are located in Sanborn Skyline County Park on the north side of Skyline Blvd (SR35), east of the junction with SR9. Summit Rock had been closed for a number of years until a peregrine falcon study could determine a safe time for visitors outside the nesting period. Back in 2012 that was determined to be the 5-month period Sep 1 to Jan 31. Today was Sep 2 - we were in luck. It's not too hard to find Summit Rock, less than half a mile from the TH, if one just follows the signs. Along the way we were treated to the continuous report of gunfire from the Los Altos Rod and Gun Club on the other side of the highway. It was an odd juxtaposition with the otherwise serene nature that surrounded us in the redwoods. We wondered if they had any rods at all at the club and what sort of noise those might make. We arrived at Summit Rock after a not-so-strenuous 15min of effort. The south side of the rock feature offers a class 3 scramble to the summit that the three of us made without much danger. The rock is covered in a great deal of graffiti, attesting to its popularity with the younger crowd. There are a number of bolted rock routes on the north and south sides, but we weren't there to explore these. The summit has a fine view overlooking the South Bay and the Santa Clara Valley to the north, today being clearer than usual. Too bad about the graffiti, though.

We next continued east on the Skyline Trail another 30min or so to Indian Rock. There is another TH here, with Indian Rock a mere 0.1mi to the north along a signed trail. This feature is both higher and slightly more difficult than Summit Rock and has almost none of the graffiti scourge found at the first site. Another class 3 scramble up the west side leads to the summit and sports an easy but airy gap to cross. Steve and I both went to the summit of this one while Tom declined upon reaching the gap.

Another 10-15min of hiking took us back to the second TH, across the road and up to Castle Rock, the last stop on our short tour. This is the largest rock boulder in the area, another popular spot for bouldering and some sport climbing. By its easiest route it's harder than any of the others, going class 4 by one of two options on the east side. I'd been up it a handful of times in the past but declined today since the soles of my tennis shoes were a little too slick. We spent the next hour enjoying our picnic wine and lunch in the shade of the oaks that populate the summit area. Only later did we learn about the alcohol restrictions in the park. Oops.

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