Ascent of Black Jack Mountain on 2019-11-25

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, November 25, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Black Jack Mountain
    Elevation:2010 ft / 612 m

Ascent Trip Report

See TR for overall routing from the airport road from Avalon to this peak, Orizaba, and back to the airport.

We were dropped off from the shuttle at the roadway that leads to the Black Jack campground instead of going all the way up the airport. The shuttle is not cheap. in fact nothing about this trip was cheap. The helicopter ride to the island is certainly more expensive than than the ferry which is on the way back was $75 for two of us but the flight over by helicopter, although more scenic and exciting was somewhere around $250 for two and only took 15 minutes. The bus shuttle to the airport was something like 30 to 40 dollars for two people so nothing is cheap here. The permit though was free!

We hiked up to the maintenance road from airport road and at the junction there is no signs saying you can not hike up the tower on Black Jack nor a gate. Wonderful. The road is steep and winds around the peak which is a nice triangular pointed peak. At the end of the road the entire peak top is gated. Most of the time the gate has a nice flat area around the perimeter but not this one. It is a steep slippery mess all around the fence line. It appeared that the actual highpoint was about 15 feet higher than the road at the entrance gate.

So I started to hike around the perimeter. Warning! this is not advisable. I have heard very hard core peakbaggers say that they don't think you should count a peak unless you climb illegally a fence of barb wire and touch the highest ground in a tower facility . I don't agree. This does not demonstrate your commitment to physical commitment beating nature with climbing skills - only your willingness to be arrested. Others say as long as you hike around the perimeter of the fence you can count it. Of course, i prescribe to the philosophy that this hobby is up to you to decide what is what you enjoy to meet your personal goals. But, I elected to circumnavigate the the fence line to get to the highest ground possible.

Doing the perimeter is not advisable. I did it to make sure I found the highest ground outside the fence and yes it was only about 2 feet lower than the what I saw in the fence but who knows if the highest ground in the fence was even natural? it was totally disturbed roadway material?? But getting to that spot was a bit un-nerving. The slopes around the fence were steep lose material with cactus everywhere!
One slip and it was slippery and you would be in cactus. I kept climbing up to the fence to have something to hold on to but a large cactus bush 5 feet tall would always get in the path and force me to climb down slope and around it. Finally I made the natural shoulder that was the highest ground and then headed all around the fence and back to where I started but now the the downclimb was worse on this opposing side. The road cut deep into the cliff edge and the material was un-consolidated rock that crumbled away. Getting down would be a certain injury. But to work all the way back around 360 degrees was risking a fall too. So I used the fence to balance my way and at the end was a 10 foot drop with a 80 degree slope of bad rock. BUT the chain link fence gave a way to lock your fingers in it and work your way down.

Once down I thought "OK this was unnecessary and risk" I do not advise anyone doing that to claim the highpoint. If you reach the fence at the road call it a day. Going all around it is pretty sketchy and I would not have done this if I realized how risky the perimeter was.

The we went on to grab Orizaba see TR.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:678 ft / 206 m
    Total Elevation Loss:360 ft / 109 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:678 ft / 206 m
    Distance:2.2 mi / 3.5 km
    Route:see GPS track
    Start Trailhead:Black jack mountain trailhead   1332 ft / 405 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:360 ft / 109 m
    Distance:0.8 mi / 1.3 km
    Route:see GPS track
    End Trailhead:1650 ft / 502 m
Ascent Part of Trip: Catalina

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Black Jack Mountain2019-11-25 a678 ft / 207 m
2Mount Orizaba2019-11-25 b1160 ft / 354 m
3Mount Orizaba-Northeast Peak2019-11-25 c30 ft / 9 m
Total Trip Gain: 1868 ft / 570 m    Total Trip Loss: 1075 ft / 328 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by William Musser
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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