Ascent of Santiago Peak on 2012-03-23

Climber: Joseph Hirniak

Date:Friday, March 23, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Santiago Peak
    Elevation:5687 ft / 1733 m

Ascent Trip Report

Started hike at 0730 hoping to park at Holy Jim Trailhead. I decided to park my car at the 2.75 mile marker along Trabuco Creek Road. After that it was too rough although I did see a Toyota Camry make the trip to the trailhead. Since this was my first time up here, I did not know what to expect. However, the jury is out - it is driveable in a 2WD in the right conditions (no rain) although a high clearance vehicle is recommended. A 2WD car, such as my own, had no problems making it to the first creek crossing - the road to that point is good - thereafter - use your judgement.

Needless to say my location added a total of 4 miles to the day plus another 400 feet of vertical. Summited Santiago at 1130 and headed back down at 1144 hr. after finding the benchmark amidst the awful array of telecommunications hardware found at the summit. Don't let this dissuade you - the hike is beautiful and views from the top are (were) exceptional. Some confusion after Bear Springs when Holy Jim Trail runs into Main Divide Road. Well signed except for the pickup point getting back onto the Holy Jim Trail from Main Divide Rd. The sign is there but the trail is not obvious. It is to the left of the sign by a couple of yards. An arrow on the sign pointing left would be helpful.

Made it back to my car at 3:15 pm. Twenty miles RT and a bad tick bite to show for my efforts. Bugs were bad at upper elevations but they were not the biting kind. Cool and foggy in am. Warm, sunny, and breezy in the pm.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
Santiago Peak from Trabuco Creek Rd (2012-03-23). Photo by Joseph Hirniak.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:4344 ft / 1324 m
    Distance:20 mi / 32.2 km
    Route:Holy Jim Trail
    Trailhead:1343 ft / 409 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Stream Ford
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
am clouds; pm sun
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:4 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 30 Minutes

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