Ascent of Alan Peak on 2015-05-01

Climber: Daryn Dodge

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, May 1, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Alan Peak
    Elevation:1649 ft / 502 m

Ascent Trip Report

Started at the signed Valencia Peak Trailhead, which is a little south of the old ranch house in a parking lot/day use area. There's rather new trails in the area, not all of which are on maps that one can download from the State Park website. I followed the main hiking trail to Valencia Peak first, then dropped off the NE ridgeline following a use trail that eventually led me back to the official Oats trail. This goes over the top of Oats peak. From here the trail is not well-maintained along the ridgeline going east, but still easy to follow.

At a point approx. 1 mile from Alan Peak, the easy-to-follow trail portion ends on a bump in a clearing. I think a sign used to be here falsely indicating this was Alan Peak, but it was gone now. Diving into the trees and brush I followed a mostly detectable track of the old trail. After earlier reading Bob Burd's report on his ascent from a few years back, I decided to pack some clippers/loppers to help maintain the trail out to Alan Peak. Out they came and I continued Bob's work in trying to keep the forest and brush from completely reclaiming the route. I only made a small dent, but I knew David Sanger was going to be out here in a few days to help with clipping.

Overall the brush was not that bad. I've seen a lot worse. But there are a number of downed trees and large branches to contend with. There's patches of poison oak out here too but was easy to avoid...until about a half-mile from the summit. Shortly before the ridgeline begins to turn north out to the peak, I came upon a very dense stand of poison oak I could not get through safely after a number of tries. Rather than push my way through to stay on top of the ridge, I dropped down 50-100 feet of the south side of the ridge to clearer ground and followed occasional animal trails. What little was left of the trail before this was now completely gone. Some steep side-hilling is encountered, but I eventually worked my way back up onto the ridge to the first false summit about 0.2 mi. from Alan Peak. This "false" summit might actually be slightly higher than the named summit.

Now came the most stressful part of the climb. The brush was only moderately bad and not very tall, but poison oak was interspersed with the brush and hard to avoid brushing up against. Progress through the brush was slow, but I got to the end of the ridgeline and to the peak for a fine view of Islay Creek Canyon. Trees block some of the other surrounding views. No indication of previous visits to the peak were obvious, so I left a little duck on an rock out-cropping for David to find in a few days when he got out here. I then made a hasty retreat back to the trailhead to cast off my tainted cloths and wash up at the campground. Luckily, I generally do not get a bad rash from poison oak unless I go swimming in the stuff. I did develop some itchy spots on my arms and ankles several days later, but it was quite minor. This ridge run was quite nice and well worth the effort, at least out to "False Alan Peak" where the trail becomes more difficult to follow.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2549 ft / 776 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2549 ft / 776 m
    Round-Trip Distance:11.2 mi / 18 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2049 ft / 624 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1549 ft / 472 m; Extra: 500 ft / 152m
    Loss on way in:500 ft / 152 m
    Distance:5.7 mi / 9.2 km
    Route:Valencia/Oats trail
    Start Trailhead:Valencia Peak trail  100 ft / 30 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2049 ft / 624 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1549 ft / 472 m; Extra: 500 ft / 152m
    Gain on way out:500 ft / 152 m
    Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    End Trailhead:100 ft / 30 m

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