Ascent of Big Pine Mountain on 2015-02-13

Climber: Greg Slayden

Others in Party:Dave Covill -- Trip Report or GPS Track
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Friday, February 13, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Big Pine Mountain
    Elevation:6800 ft / 2072 m

Ascent Trip Report

What a long day. In the winter, the access road in Santa Barbara Canyon is gated at the Reyes Ranch at just under 3000 feet. Dave and I parked here, got our bikes ready, and set off. Our miles added up like this:

  • Start: 2980' - 0 mi

  • Road Junction: 3246' - 3.29 mi - easy rolling ups and downs, a few cattle guards

  • Summer Gate: 3470' - 5.05 mi - more easy road, mostly on a slight uphill

  • S.B. Potrero: 5240' - 9.68 mi - lots of switchbacks, gaining elevation quickly

  • Roadside Rest: 5460' - 12.10 mi - rolling along a ridge, road now deteriorating

  • Chokecherry Spring: 5500' - 14.92 mi - more ruts, washouts, and rocks in road.

  • Malduce Ridge: 6180' - 16.61 mi - high point.

  • Almar Saddle: 5620' - 17.75 mi - worst section of road, very steep and rocky downhill

  • Stash Bikes: 6340' - 20.40 mi - lots of big trees across road, big pine cones

  • Summit: 6800' - 21.20 mi - old trail to summit useless due to blowdown, bushwhacked instead

We did not see a single soul on the entire trip. We did follow somewhat recent dirtbike tracks all the way up on the road--there was a sign saying they were prohibited, but the road is not in a wilderness area, so it is unclear if they were legal or not. One could drive most cars to the Portrero, but you would need a jeep to get much further, and a sturdy one to get past Malduce Ridge. And big trees block all four wheeled vehicles after Almar Saddle.

A strong and competent mountain biker could certainly go faster than we did, since we pushed our cross/hybrid "gravel bikes" on most uphill stretches and over rocky/rutted terrain. Downhill we made good time, including an hour to coast down the 10 miles from the Portrero junction.

It is a shame that in the winter the road is gated 5 miles down from the summer gate, adding 10 miles of biking. When we came down we noticed tire tracks on the road below the Portrero and the gate was open by our car, so maybe access can be arranged--but Dave did call the rangers but was told "no".

Despite the long mileage, this was a great day in the mountains. The feeling of accomplishment compensated for our aching posteriors, and the remoteness, scenery, and variety of the journey was exceptional. I particularly liked the view of the Channel Islands in the Pacific off in the distance.

We tagged the summit boulders with the interlocking coffee-can register, the big rock a bit to the SW, and the high point of the east lobe of the summit contour. The summit area is a bit overgrown and a recent fire seems to have created a lot of blowdown--the path from the road is pretty much gone and you should just climb cross-country the best you can.

Dave and I each fell off our bikes once, and were definitely tired at the end of the day, but this peak is pretty much impossible as a day-trip without them.

Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:5780 ft / 1760 m
    Extra Gain:980 ft / 298 m
    Distance:42.4 mi / 68.2 km
    Trailhead:2980 ft / 908 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:7 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:3 Hours 30 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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