Santa Rosa Mountain and Toro Peak June 2020

Headed out to the Santa Rosa Mountains and to Toro Peak, considered off-limits with a gate across the forest road and nasty signs. The Forest Road 7S02 was newly graded and it made the 11-mile trip up to the base of Santa Rosa Mountain very easy. Along the way, the campsites were open, and several were occupied. I first hiked up Santa Rosa Mountain and its neighbor Peak 8058. There was a very strange fireplace and smoke stack full of bullet holes on the summit.
I then proceeded up 7S02 until I was slightly northwest of Toro Peak West. This peak has been substituted for Toro Peak on the Sierra Club Hundred Peaks Section. Toro Peak is considered off-limits due to the large array of communication towers on top, and the fact that it is on the Santa Rosa Indian Reservation. The forest road leading up to it is gated and signed to stay off. So, I set out cross-country instead because I did not want to trespass on the road. The land there is a checkerboard of BLM, public, and tribal lands causing it hard to determine where you can or cannot be. The route I took had no ownership signs or any warnings.
After Toro Peak West, I kept cross country and summited Wind Chill Peak. It turns out that this peak is the azimuth benchmark for Toro Peak, which less than a ½-mile away. I scanned Toro with binoculars and saw no activity. The approach was a very steep rock-face, but I found a class 2 chute up to the summit. I only had to do 2 real chin-ups over big boulders to continue upward. Just as I peaked, I heard 2 men talking and figured they were workers on one of the towers, and that they would not like to see me up there. There were no signs and no fencing to warn me to stay off, but I headed back down very quietly, taking a selfie just below the summit. I then summited Toro Peak – North. This pile of rocks does not deserve a name. It almost appears man-made.
Overall a good day with 6 miles and 1,450 elevation gain. (click on any picture for slide show)

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