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Ascent to Black Jack Mountain-Gate on 2017-02-18

Climber: William Musser

Others in Party:Karen Musser
Date:Saturday, February 18, 2017
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Point Reached:Black Jack Mountain - Gate
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:1500 ft / 457 m
    Remaining Elevation:510 ft / 155 m (100% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

Day after the record storm that killed 4 in California. Even though the wind and sun was drying out the trails nicely and the younger rangers said things would be fine the older Ranger told our bike guide that we would be fined if he saw us off the main road. the trails and interior roads were off limits. He was not a happy camper. The younger ranger tried to find ways around it for us but we did not want to risk a mess on private property and respected the ruling of the day. I get the erosion thing and assured him I would only walk and stay out of clay and mud and he insisted we would lose our boots and sink to our deaths blah blah blah. I can't tell you how many times now I have heard some national park ranger or private park ranger insult me with stories of these rescues of stupid tourists doing dumb stuff and therefore the rest of us serious careful peakbaggers are turned back and compared to careless. I doubt this ranger has ever done anything actually technical like say, Mount Rainier - but he thinks the liability and risk of the peaks in this area - after a rainstorm is dangerous!

I was OK with the concern of keeping people off the trails until they dry out to prevent erosion. That I respect. But the fact is everywhere I went and stopped to check out the conditions there was more sand than clay and the routes were dry enough. He apparently was making his judgment from the intuition gained from the plush interior of his conservatory ranger truck with his custom decorate Cabela seats in his truck ( no kidding I saw the special order seats). I actually had him ready to drive off and leave us along when my bike rental guide just felt compelled to say to him....oh and by the way, my patrons are going to hike up Black Jack and the island highpoint too. That is when the entire day went bad. Later I spoke to another younger ranger - and we talked to agreed that we would have been fine and he was willing to check out the route for us but the bottom line was - they all followed the senior rangers guidance so.....I was very disappointed to see the day clear up, dry out and be sunny and have the older ranger tell us we would have to wait a few days.

Renting the bikes and permits to get up there cost us $180. Thanks buddy. Never mind...we decided to leave early the next morning - even though the younger ranger was cool with us trying again first thing in the morning, I had not faith that the senior ranger would stick to his wait 2 days and I was not about to provide more fees to the conservation folks to upgrade all the vehicles to special order Cabela label seats. So we began our bike ride downhill. When we got to some subpeaks that were NOT on roads or trails and were clearly dry rock, sand, or grass..........I desperately jumped off to bag any peak I could find. My disappointment in leaving a 2000 foot prominence peak behind for some 100 to 150 foot nubs left a sour taste in my mouth.
Summary Total Data
    Grade/Class:1
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail
    Gear Used:
Bicycle
Ascent Statistics
    Route:drive to airport then biked
    Start Trailhead:Airport  1500 ft / 457 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Catalina

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDateGain
1Ord 2 Benchmark2017-02-17 a952 ft / 290 m
2Cactus 2 Benchmark2017-02-17 b490 ft / 149 m
3East Mountain2017-02-17 c783 ft / 239 m
4East Peak2017-02-17 d1084 ft / 330 m
5(Attempt) Black Jack Mountain2017-02-18 e0 ft / 0 m
6Catalina Point2017-02-18 f265 ft / 81 m
6North Spur 2 Benchmark2017-02-18 g870 ft / 265 m
Total Trip Gain: 4444 ft / 1354 m    Total Trip Loss: 4144 ft / 1263 m



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