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Ascent of Hines Peak on 2021-04-10

Climber: David Sharg

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Saturday, April 10, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Hines Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:6716 ft / 2047 m

Ascent Trip Report

Hines Peak

4/10/21
Total distance: 21.2 miles
Total elevation gain: 5,900 ft
Total time: 13 hours 15 minutes
Start time: 6:20am
Trailhead: Sisar Rd, about 1 mile north of Highway 150; southern end of Trail 21W08; lower Red Reef Trail
Accomplishments by list: HPS #90

Difficulty of hike: 10 out of 10. Sisar Canyon is deceptive. At no point is it really steep, yet it still wears you out, as it climbs nearly 4,000 feet. Once the ridge is gained, the trail is straightforward until reaching the base of Hines. The final climb is brutal. First is the "knife's edge", which is a bad idea of you're afraid of heights. Then it's a 600 foot climb over 1,000 horizontal feet, over loose dirt. That 0.2 miles took me 1 hour 15 minutes.

Views during hike: 9 out of 10. Looking up at the Topatopas from Sisar Canyon is a sight to see. It's the reason this trail is one of my favorites in SoCal. Further in the hike, as the trail circles around Creampuff, the views to the north into Los Padres open up, and are also amazing. Sespe Wilderness, Reyes and Haddock, Thorn Point, and Los Pinos in the distance are crystal clear. The only reason this isn't a 10 is because the views on the summit of Hines are mostly obscured by brush. It's possible to get round the brush at certain points, but it's still not a 360 view you'd expect from a 3,000 foot prominent peak.

Ascent on the descent: Around 200 feet extra after getting back on the trail from Hynes, until reaching the saddle with the Topatopas. Then it's all downhill.

People seen on hike: about 15-20, nearly all of them in the last 2 miles. After seeing no one at all until after descending from Hines, I finally ran into a biker, who said he would camp on the summit of Hynes, followed by another hiker who was going to the summit of the Topatopas. Then 1 camper at White Ledge Campground, and then everyone else in the final 2 miles.

Animals seen: a baby snake, no more than a foot long, in the middle of the trail just before White Ledge Campground. I thought it was a lizard at first, but it didn't run off the trail when I nearly stepped on it. Afterwards, on the ridge near the Topatopa saddle, a creature that looked like a bearded dragon, but I'm not sure. Possible sightings of 1 or 2 condors, also not sure. And then near the end of the hike, there were two men taking a picture of a rattlesnake inside of a tree trunk. They pointed out the tail to me, which I saw, but not the rest of the snake.

After my first hike of Sisar Canyon on 6/12/19, I knew I wanted to use the same route for another attempt at Hynes. That day, after summiting Topatopa, I was running low on water on a hot day, so I wanted to try Hines earlier in the season, with cooler weather, yet without snow on the ground. The forecast said 61 degrees, but it felt more like 80 degrees out there. So always expect warm weather on this hike, regardless of the time of the year.

The climb up Sisar Canyon is one of my favorite trails in SoCal, due to the trail being well maintained, the views of the sheer southern face of the Topatopas, the grade not feeling that steep. Two years ago, I was also treated to a superbloom in the canyon, which I didn't get to see this time around. I guess June is the time to go to see flowers.

Once the ridge is gained, the climb from 5200 to 6000 feet isn't that bad, and the views to the north really open up. There are a few ups and downs to get to the base of Hines, nothing too bad. Going around Creampuff made me really want to climb it, and I would have if I had more time after Hines, but it was not meant to be on this day. Even though I'm done with HPS peaks in this area, I might come back for Creampuff some day with the same route.

As far as the climb to Hines, it's very steep and very loose Class 2 climbing, especially in the lower portion. Eventually it gets more stable, but still Class 2, nearly to the top. There is a register up there and a benchmark, but the views did not meet my expectations of a 3000 foot prominence peak. Luckily, on the descent, the loose ground makes it easier to do a controlled slide down.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
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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