Ascent of Middle Peak on 2017-11-19

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, November 19, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Middle Peak
    Elevation:5883 ft / 1793 m

Ascent Trip Report

Third peak of the day and this one was hard to enjoy. I was tired, and this is not a nice looking summit. First of all, the trail up was a maintained dirt and gravel road not intimate and tight. Secondly, the 2003 fire really devastated this peak far worse the others in the area. Whereas Cuyamaca has some great large sugar pines, incense cedar and white fir that survived up near the summit which are still impressive, this peak has large 4 foot diameter stumps of death. The lost hunter that started the fire 15 years ago created the worst wildfire in CA history and it is sad to see all of these old growth trees dead. Third - the new growth is ridiculously thick shrubs that obscure all views. If that is not enough, fourth, there is not trail to the summit. At the high saddle of the Middle Peak Fire Road, you can look around and find a use trail to the summit but it is a lot of nasty bushwhacking too.

I followed Colby Kings GPS route and took his advice and used the second track. That track you find near the road saddle by finding the cairns that are laid out. I followed this route and you have perhaps 4 cairns, lots of boot tracks in the sand and some planted pines with black id nets to follow. This may sound like an easy to follow trail but not really. There are places where the use trail to the summit disappears into the thick shrub layer but usually you follow your instinct and pop back into a clearing with more boot tracks. I moved probably 30 large branches out of the way to try to do my part to make the route more recognizable and someday it might be back as a nice use trail. Now I would call it a bushwhack in many stretches especially when you are about 60 feet from the summit.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1223 ft / 372 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.8 mi / 9.3 km
    Quality:3 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1223 ft / 372 m
    Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Route:Middle Peak Fire Road to bushwhack
    Start Trailhead:Parking turn out at SR 79 and Middle Peak Road  4660 ft / 1420 m
Descent Statistics
    Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
Ascent Part of Trip: SanDiego-2

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Otay Mountain2017-11-18 a956 ft / 291 m
2Otay Mountain Wilderness High Point2017-11-18 b351 ft / 107 m
5Cuyamaca Peak2017-11-19 a1682 ft / 513 m
6Stonewall Peak2017-11-19 b880 ft / 268 m
7Middle Peak2017-11-19 c1223 ft / 373 m
8Fletcher Island High Point2017-11-19 d370 ft / 113 m
10(Attempt) San Miguel Mountain2017-11-20 a410 ft / 125 m
11Mother Miguel Mountain2017-11-20 b1097 ft / 334 m
12Iron Mountain2017-11-20 c1265 ft / 386 m
Total Trip Gain: 8234 ft / 2510 m    Total Trip Loss: 2067 ft / 629 m

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