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Lizard Head, Cuyama Peak

21 March 1970

By: Vic Gleason


Leader: Vic Gleason
Asst.: Paul Lipsohn

Thanks to a better idea by Paul Lipsohn, the Section has a new route to Lizard Head that cuts half a dozen miles off the old route and adds dramatic views of the Santa Barbara-Ventura-San Luis Obispo back country, a possible new peak for the List, and a handy, but rough, drive up Cuyama Peak as extra bonuses.

Thirty-one friends of Fred Bode, plus Fred, caravanned from Ozena Campground at 9:15 AM along Highway 33 past the previous (Rancho Nuevo Canyon) route to Brubaker Ranch. After a short wait for the caretaker to walk in from the north pasture and unlock the gate, we drove up Brubaker Canyon to Upper Tinta Campground and a fortunate system of firebreaks. The unhappiness of the 1400' climb from the cars to the main ridge dissolved with the panoramic view, which included Madulce Peak, Cerro Noroeste, Frazier Mtn., Caliente Mtn., Fox Mtn., Cuyama Pk, and, some 200 feet below, at the end of a curving 3-1/2 mile ridge, Lizard Head itself.

How Bailey left the group at that point to scout the high point above the present Tinta Pk and an early trip home. Rumor has it that he counted 25 List peaks from there. After a breathtaking (both ways) two-hour trip over firebreaks that went over, rather than around, the innumerable intervening high points, we lunched at the Lizard's Head with its surprising view of the Channel Islands, and retraced our steps along the ridge to the cars.

The two-mile drive up from Upper Tinta CG to Cuyama Pk. had all the relish of an automotive endurance course (won of course by the VW busses). The view from Cuyama Lookout, incidentally, was the best in a day of dramatic views, particularly of the San Luis Obispo-Kern County area. Dinner at Lake-of-the-Woods, under a full moon, provided a fitting end to a very pleasant trip.

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