Ascent of El Cajon Mountain on 2019-07-28

Climber: Kurt T

Date:Sunday, July 28, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:El Cajon Mountain
    Elevation:3675 ft / 1120 m

Ascent Trip Report

Ascended the south arete. With careful routefinding and an indirect ascent, the entire route could probably be kept to upper class 2. I stayed mainly on top of the ridge so there were a few class 3 moves and slabs. The crux of the route is near the top. I came to a rock spray painted "Mike" and could have either made an exposed ledge traverse or climbed a 15' class 4 rock pitch. I decided against both and descended about 100' and moved to the west around the rock ridge to ascend a steep gully. I couldn't surmount a chockstone in the gully, so I descended about 50' and took the steep class 2 slopes to the west to reach the top of the plateau. For the descent, I went down the gully to the east of the arete and met up with the climbers trail. The descent was much more challenging then expected with brush, steep grassy slopes, and dryfalls to navigate around.

I underestimated this mountain. The route finding challenges, 90 degree heat, brush, tall grass, and steepness made for a 5 hour hike, longer than the 6 miles and 3100' feet of gain would suggest. As others have noted, one must also be careful during snake season as most of the route is through tall grass could easily hide rattlers.
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