Sunset Mountain March 2020

Joel is back. He’s playing for 2 softball teams, so he doesn’t have much time, but he wants to finish the San Diego 100, and he decided Sunset Mountain was the next up. He picked me up at 0600 and we drove to the desert and to the Pinion Wash Trailhead. This is a pretty aggressive hike for someone who hasn’t hiked in a long while.
We picked a line and started up a wash. Nearing the top, we were traversing a contour when I ran into a huge cholla forest. I was in the middle of it and yelled back to Joel to be watchful. I was trapped and could only go forward. Joel was significantly behind and below the cholla, so he yelled that he was going straight up and not through the cactus. We’d meet on the ridge. I made it to the ridge and started my lunch, and after about ½ hour, I began to worry that we missed each other. Thinking that he might have had an easier and more direct route, I left my pack and summited, hoping he was there. He wasn’t so I headed back to find my pack (which took a while since all the boulders look alike), then went to the ridge to where I thought Joel would have come up. After many minutes of traversing the ridge and calling, I finally hear a reply. He was way above me and had summited as well. I guess it turns out that he picked a line below me and traversed to the summit. I thought I had found a rock perch high enough I could have seen him make the ridge. Just goes to show that this mountain had big enough boulders to hide the big guy from my view. After re-joining we had a long, very steep hike back down. Joel was pretty gassed by the time we got back to his jeep, but after setting up 2 chairs, having a beer, and watching the setting sun light change the mountain colors, all was well. As Joel said at the end …. If you are looking for a hike that has trails, this is not your mountain. If you are looking for a hike that has easy washes or ridges to walk over, this is not your mountain. If you are looking for a hike that you have to jump from rock to rock, dodge cholla, cat-claw, agave, ocotillo and barrel cactus, both up and down, this is your mountain. Hang on for 4 ½ miles and over 2,100 vertical of fun. (Click on any picture to see slides)

One thought on “Sunset Mountain March 2020

  1. This is one of my favorite mountains in all of SD! I’ve spent a ton of time in this area. Anytime you guys want to hike it I’m in. Sounds like a full value day!

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