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Peakbagging with Sierra Club


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On July 4 weekend I was recruited by my volunteer group organizer to accompany some Sierra Club peakbaggers into the local mountains. The Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club has a "Hundred Peaks Section" that climbs a list of mostly brushy and uninspiring southern California peaks. The list of peaks has grown over the years from 100 to 276, and varies due to access issues. It's a big deal among club members to climb all the peaks on the list, and then climb them all again. The guy who wrote the classic rock song "Born to be Wild," stage & trail name Mars Bonfire, completed the list 25 times while living in L.A.

My local mountain haunt has a "Big 3" and "Big 4" on the HPS list that are challenging due to long walks up locked fire roads to get to the peaks. This group arranged to drive up one of the roads in exchange for having one of our volunteers supervise some trail clearing. I'd helped organize a trip in the area in May and am known to have bagged some peaks, so I was asked to lead this group up there, which I was glad to do.

So I unlocked the gate and we drove up the rough road, bagged West Big Pine Mountain, Big Bine Mountain (high point of Santa Barbara county), Madulce Peak, and Samon peak, and spent two nights in a dry camp at the site of the Alamar Guard Station. I brought a car-load of tools, gloves & hard hats and we worked on the Madulce Peak Trail on our way to the top. I'd been up all the peaks but Samon, but the Sierra Club hiking leaders had been up them all lots of times. 

One of the hikers completed the list on Madulce Peak and there was much celebration. Bagging hundreds of peaks most people have never heard of seems really silly, but it's just an excuse for comradery in the outdoors. Club hiking leaders organize several trips each week and people become great friends sharing the challenges. I had a great time and felt privileged to be along with them. I'll probably never try to complete their list, but I hope they ask me to let them through the locked gate again.

My pictures - I'm the goofball wearing the forest ranger shirt.

Edited by toejam
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