Midnight Cucamonga Peak Summit | Six Pack 2 of 6 | 3-10-18
After failing to summit San Jacinto, I decided that the best course of action would be to go back and do all of the six pack peaks in order. The next peak after Mt Wilson would be Cucamonga Peak.
Cucamonga Peak was next
There was a good chance of rain on Saturday morning around 9 a.m. so I wanted to hike the peak early in the morning to beat the rain. Also I needed to get back home early to finish up some chores around the house. Okay the real reason why we went at night is because night hiking is one of the best types of hiking.
Night hiking is the best
Cucamonga Peak is a pretty intense. It's a 13 Mile out and back trail with 4,300' elevation gain. The Summit sits at 8,859'. Zoë and I left the house around midnight, picked up Albert and got to the Icehouse Canyon trail head around 12:30 AM Friday Night / Saturday Morning. Needless to say we got great parking.
8,859' | 13 miles | 4,300' Gain
A few miles into the trail we started to run into snow. After the Icehouse saddle it was pretty much snow and ice the whole way up. This made progress slow because Albert only had tennis shoes on so he had to go really slowly. My Vasque boots and trekking poles seemed to do the job but Micro spikes would have been ideal for the conditions.
There was Ice and Snow
With with the progress going so slow, we did not meet our goal of being at the summit by 6 a.m. Around 6:30 we were three or four hundred vertical feet from the summit and we seriously considered turning back. Albert asked if we turn back here if it would count for the six pack. I told him we would have to come back. So we made the decision to push further towards the summit despite the storm rolling in at 9 a.m.
We almost turned around at 90%
We made it to the summit around 7 a.m. we took some photos. I took one holding the STRU shirt like a waving a flag for the #STRUswagContest. We use the jet boil to make ourselves a cup of coffee and had some Goldfish crackers, granola bars and applesauce packages. We headed back down the mountain at 7:30.
Coffee never tasted so good
At at this point it was getting really cloudy and even snowing slash drizzling a bit. Progress was again slow as we needed to be careful heading down. Albert even slipped one time and fell pretty hard. On the slope like that, one wrong move and you are basically toast. It was very steep, rocky, and slippery. The danger is part of what attracts us to hiking in the first place. Being able to balance safety with extreme conditions and hikes. Going right up to the limit of acceptable risk and dancing with it, but never crossing into the area of unacceptable or stupid risk.
The storm was coming
On on the way back down we ran into our first people that were going to Summit the mountain. So we weren't the only ones to Summit that day but we were definitely the first. Zoe loved saying hi and bye to all the people passing.
We we finally made it back to the car and made it home for the day to finish up the chores. We were very spent but we still had a productive rest of the day.
Later in the day a friend told me that someone went missing on Baldy that day and to be careful. Two days Later the SBCSD Volunteer Forces released a tweet saying they found the hiker deceased. That was a bit of a reality check that hiking is a dangerous sport and should not be taken lightly. While this will not stop us and our journey to complete the six pack and go further, it will help us keep in mind that we need to be prepared for the worst.
Someone got lost and died that day.
This was an epic hike that tested my mental and physical abilities. Zoë had a great time, and so did Albert despite wearing tennis shoes. We are excited to take on the next peak which is Mt. San Antonio AKA. Mt Baldy. Cucamonga will always have a special place in my heart as it was a night hike in the snow on Cucamonga almost a year ago that got me hooked on Hiking in the first place.
Thanks for reading,