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Ascent of Sandstone Peak on 2011-09-10

Climber: Michael Ruddell

Date:Saturday, September 10, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Sandstone Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:3111 ft / 948 m

Ascent Trip Report

For the most part, a great day for a hike. Probably in the 70's and partly cloudy but bright nonetheless. Drove up Yerba Buena Road to the trailhead and arrived at 10:20 am. We began by heading up the Backbone Trail to a fork, which we took to the right--the Mishe Mokwa Trail. This meant we would loop around the peak for 4 miles before meeting up with the Backbone and scrambling up the peak, which is a very simple thing in and of itself.

Mishe Mokwa trail is maintained...barely. Excellent views across the Santa Monica Mountains. The windy and rocky trail makes its way through both brush and low overhanging trees as well as a flatter plain full of scrubby grasses and plants. All the trails were very dry (September) and the colors were interesting--a lot of reds and oranges throughout the trail. Tons of great rock outcroppings and peaks.

By the time we wound back towards the offshoot trail that leads to the summit, it was around noon. Byt this time the sky had turned grey and some serious thunder was crackling around the hills. We hustled up to the peak, but the moment we arrived it started to drizzle and hail. The thunder was pretty magnificent, but we couldn't enjoy the view because of the threat of lightning and the feel of electricity, which became more and more real. We hurried back down to the trail, and not a moment too soon.

The rain came down for about 10 minutes before letting up as we hiked the mile and a half back to the road. We could see lightning strike in the eastern Santa Monicas on the way. The clouds rolled in and soon visibility was cut to maybe 100 feet. It felt good to walk in the mist!

We arrived back at 12:55, 2:30 after leaving. 5.8 miles all told. This is a great hike with a ton of sights, both geological and botanical.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1400 ft / 427 m
    Elevation Loss:1400 ft / 427 m
    Distance:5.8 mi / 9.3 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble
    Weather:Thunderstorm, Cool, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Perfect cool weather to start, brief thunderstorm and rain near finish.
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1400 ft / 427 m
    Distance:4.3 mi / 6.9 km
    Route:Mishe Mokwa Trail to Backbone Trail
    Trailhead:Yerba Buena Road  1711 ft / 521 m
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:1400 ft / 427 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:Backbone Trail
    Trailhead:Yerba Buena Road  1711 ft / 521 m



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