Ascent of Cedar Mountain on 2020-06-24

Climber: David Sharg

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cedar Mountain
    Elevation:8324 ft / 2537 m

Ascent Trip Report

Allen Peak, Birch Mountain, and Cedar Mountain

Total distance: 18.9 miles
Elevation gain: 5,540 ft
Total time: 14 hours
Start time: 5:45am
Trailhead: Bearpaw Preserve, Route 1S08
Accomplishments by list: HPS #70, #71 and #72

Difficulty of hike: 10 out of 10. The two miles to the ridge, the climb to Allen, the two miles on the Yucaipa Ridge Truck Trail, and about a mile past it were relatively easy. Starting with the first switchback on the climb to Birch, the amount of deadfall on the ground, and the difficult route finding becomes a major issue. The heat of the day was also pretty bad, though there were plenty of places to find shade and rest. The bugs were not as much of an issue as I expected.

Views during hike: 7 out of 10. All 3 of the summits were covered with trees, so the views were obscured in most directions. But inbetween, there were plenty of good views towards San Bernardino and San Gorgonio, along with views to the south towards Yucaipa and Oak Glen. From just below Allen, you could see Mill Creek flowing west, and all the way to Baldy.

Ascent on the descent: About 600 feet is lost after descending from Allen, which needs to be regained. About 300 feet is lost when descending from Birch, most of which has to be regained on the return trip.

People seen during hike: none.

Animals seen: A red-black striped snake, about 1-1.5 feet long, just below the summit of Birch on my descent. It was right next to the trail and not moving, so I took a picture of it. As soon as I tried to continue, it dashed across the trail, forcing me to stop so I wouldn't step on it. Further down, just before re-entering the Bearpaw Preserve, I saw a bear, running down the truck trail. I slowed down, walked slowly around the next bend, and I could see the bear there. As I started backing up, the bear stood on it's hind legs to get a look at me, then took off down the slope off the trail.

This was a much more difficult hike than I expected. I tried to get all the lower peaks of the Yucaipa Ridge on this hike, giving myself as much daylight as possible in June. I figured that I could reach Wilshire Mountain, then decide if I wanted to go for Little San Gorgonio or not. I wasn't worried about the high temperatures because I figured I would spend most of the day above 8,000 feet. But in reality, the last 800 feet of climbing to Birch, and the traverse from Birch to Cedar took up way more time than I was expecting, about 4.5 hours. I gave myself a drop dead turn around time of 2pm. I reached the summit of Cedar at 1:57pm, and left the summit at 2:10. As much as I wanted to do Oak Glen Peak, Wilshire Peak and Wilshire Mountain, they will have to be done another time. My goal is to complete the HPS list as only out-and-back hikes, so I don't want to do a shuttle for a traverse of this ridge, but it might have to be done.

That said, not all is lost. One of my goals was to explore alternate routes to reach to ridge, I saw 3 of these on the HPS map and in other guides. One is a descent from the Birch-Cedar saddle to Forest Falls. I didn't get much good information about this possibility. Another is a service road that reaches Yucaipa Ridge just east of Wilshire Mountain. I didn't reach that point on the ridge, so I can't comment on the viability of this route. (I'm afraid it's private though, since I can't find any TR's about it.) But the third one, via Ford Canyon Trail, seems like a possibility. Although I can't find any TRs on Peakbagger about this route since 2017, I did see a couple of register signatures on Cedar that the hikers said they came from Oak Glen. So perhaps Ford Canyon Trail is a route that I will try one day to complete the summits on Yucaipa Ridge (besides Galena).

With regards to Bearpaw Preserve, it was pretty easy to get permission to hike from there. I emailed them on Saturday requesting a Wednesday hike. They emailed me back Sunday asking to fill out a form, then emailed me the gate code on Monday.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
Ascent Part of Trip: Allen Birch Cedar

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Allen Peak2020-06-24 
2Birch Mountain2020-06-24 
3Cedar Mountain2020-06-24 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by David Sharg
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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.

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