Leaders: Carleton Shay, Tom Moumblow
The hike was scheduled with David Eisenberg and Carleton Shay as leaders, but David's knee still was not up to it. Tom Moumblow was recruited as coleader, so we could complete the hike as scheduled. The inspiration for this trip came from an unscheduled March 1991 hike to Villager and Rabbit by Evan Samuels and myself, where the weather was so threatening when we arrived at the Villager campsite, and it was so early (11:45) that we decided to go ahead and climb Rabbit the same day, and if luck was with us, try Rosa on Sunday. Luck was not with us: it snowed during the night and into the morning, necessitating a retreat. But it was obvious that the trip was possible under good weather conditions.
Weather is always a problem on these peaks. In David's trip sheet, all participants were warned to be prepared for hot weather, and a minimum of 4 quarts of water per day was specified. Then as the date approached, there were forecasts for rain on Sunday, and the temperatures in desert areas listed in the Los Angeles Times crept downward. As it turned out, the weather was almost perfect: cold, some wind, but no threat of rain and we used half or less than the specified amount of water.
This was a classic climb: as far as I know, the first time the three peaks were scheduled over two days, very cooperative weather, a small experienced group, and everything going as scheduled. All of the participants were list finishers; among the five, we had completed the list 12 times (5, 3, 2, 1, 1).
The trip was almost uneventful except for the inevitable encounters with cholla and a few unceremonious slips on loose scree where the worst insult is to one's dignity. Here is a chronology for the two days:
0605: Left the parking area.
1025: Arrived at the saddle where we would turn toward Rosa on Sunday, and left a cache of water there.
1125: Arrived a Villager campsite, set up camp, ate lunch.
1200: Started for Villager and Rabbit.
1210: Signed in on Villager.
1450: Signed in on Rabbit. On the way back to camp, we experienced a gorgeous sunset. In the growing darkness near the top of Villager, we saw flashlights ahead and met two people near their campsite; they had seen our water cache and campsite.
1735: Returned to camp with barely enough light to see without flashlights and barely enough energy after almost 8000' of gain to climb into our sleeping bags.
0700: Started for Rosa in 35° temperatures and brisk wind. Left a cache of water for Patty and Frank's hike December 12-13.
0745: Arrived at the turnoff for Rosa. Left most of the water we had cached for Patty and Frank.
1015: Arrived at "Mile High Peak" along the ridge to Rosa which has the familiar red can but whose register contains few names, almost all from the San Diego Chapter.
1115: Arrived at Rosa, completing our trio of peaks. We were surprised by the time it took to traverse from the campsite to Rosa: in our planning, we thought erroneously that it would take far less than four hours. Instead, it took four hours, fifteen minutes. There are significant steep, loose ups and downs along the way which are difficult with backpacks.
1150: Left the summit.
0405: Arrived at the cars long before the sun went down.
This is not an easy hike, except for a party of tigers. Obviously, it can be done by non-tigers too as we demonstrated, but the length of day, the weather, the experience, size and speed of the group and luck are all factors which must be taken into consideration by those who might want to schedule it in the future. We all agreed it was marvelous hike and recommend it heartily to those with the requisite qualifications. Our group, in addition to the leaders, included Peter Doggett, Paula Peterson, and Roy Stewart.