Galena Peak, Little San Gorgonio Peak, Wilshire Peak, Wilshire Mountain, Oak Glen Peak, Cedar Mountain, Birch Mountain
By: Bill T. Russell
Leaders: Bill T. Russell, Frank Goodykoontz
Our trip was a strenuous route bagging adventure with +5400, -6700', 14 mi, considerable class 2 scrambling and one or two spots of easy class 3. We met at 0600 at the large parking lot 1.3 miles east of Hwy. 38 where Valley of the Falls Drive crosses Mill Creek. The 23 of us fitted into four cars and drove to he Vivian Creek trailhead and started hiking at 0635. We went east up Mill Creek to the headwall and then used some steps that I had cut a week before to surmount that obstacle. It was then on to Galena which we reached about 0940. When we reached the flat summit area, I followed the use trail to the West Bump which appears to be the highest. I then checked my map and found Galena Peak to be the bump that we skirted 0.2 miles back. We retraced our steps and got to the peak at the same time as Frank, who was the sweep.
Our cross country hike to Little San Gorgonio went fine although some of the people were unskilled in 2nd class scrambling and their legitimate cautioned did slow us considerably. Little San G. Was Devra Wasserman's 100th peak so she led us to the top. We left Little San G. and enjoyed the walk along beautiful Yucaipa Ridge: over Wilshire Mtn, Wilshire Pk, Oak Glen Pk, and Cedar Mtn. Access to Yucaipa Ridge from the south is made difficult by property owners and the trail along the ridge is slowly disappearing because of lack of use. Birch Mtn was Pete Doggett's list finisher so he led us rapidly to the summit.
We left Birch about 1730 to descend to Forest Falls down the ridge on the east side of Section 14. However, to avoid some steep faces with rock fall hazard at the start of that route, I went down the northwest ridge to 7000 and then down the gully bottom that goes through the center of Section 14. We encountered thick scrub oak along the NW ridge with gave us experience in squirming through brush. The Gully was mixed talus and dirt and was relatively free of rock fall hazard and brush. We had a participant who was very tired and very slow in descending. After some waiting, we sent the main body on ahead with Bobcat Thompson in the lead and David Russell as sweep. They reached the cars about 2000. Frank and I, with the valuable help of Don Croley and Pat Russell, brought out the slow climber and one other and reached the cars 45 minutes later.
It was indeed a route bagging adventure with very good people. We had thunder storms to the north and to the south, but thankfully, none right over us. I had announced the estimated trip time as 12 hours which we would have made but for the two slow, inexperienced participants. Congratulation to Devra and to Pete, thanks to those who helped descend from Birch, and thanks to Frank for his invariably fine job of coleading.
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