Leaders: Theresia Glover, Patty Kline, Joe Young
Trip summary - Thirteen hikers climbed the peaks of the Yucaipa Ridge under overcast skies and cool temperatures. Three hikers added Allen Peak to complete their day.
Scouting: Joe had discussed various ways of ascending the ridge with David Eisenberg. David cautioned Joe that the route up Camp Creek could be thwarted if there were snow or ice in the waterfall. Alternatively, one could hike up the wash just east of Camp Creek and ascend the ridge in the middle of the wash, drop down to another wash, then climb up to the saddle east of Little San Gorgonio.
On the Thursday before the hike Joe hiked up the Vivian Creek Trail a ways and looked at both Camp Creek and the ridge in the wash east of Camp Creek. Joe saw no snow in Camp Creek. He also observed that the alternative ridge looked doable. On the Friday before the hike Joe hiked up Camp Creek. He found the waterfall to be a raging torrent and he was unwilling to attempt to climb the wall to the right of it to get around. He concluded that the alternative ridge would be a better choice.
Scheduling: This outing was originally scheduled for June 11, but remaining snow in Camp Creek forced a postponement until August 20. Advertised only in the Lookout, still thirteen hikers showed up at 6:00 am at the Mill Creek Ranger Station. We carpooled to a parking area suggested by the Hubbard Ranch people, then consolidated into four vehicles to the Vivian Creek road head where we began the hike at about 7:15 am.
Ascent: Theresia led the group up the trail along Mill Creek past the turn-off to Camp Creek to the entrance to the wide wash east of Camp Creek. Theresia led the group up the wash which contained flowing water. The leaders conferred from time to time to make sure they knew where they were. Soon we arrived at the foot of the wooded ridge coming north from Yucaipa Ridge into the center of the broad wash. The ridge can be distinguished from nearby ridges by the density of trees on it. (The other ridges are sparely covered.)
The ridge is steep at times but passable. Ascend the ridge to the southwest, and near 8100' begin to drop into the wash coming from the saddle at 8560'. This involves either side-hilling or brush; there is no perfect way to drop into the wash.
Theresia led the group up the wash to a point just west of the saddle at 8580', then up the ridge to Little San G. She arrived on its summit at about 11:15 am.
Bagging the peaks: After a brief rest on Little San G. Theresia led the group westerly over the bump with the radio tower to another bump where we looked in vain for a register. We concluded this was Wilshire Mtn. Hiking on we passed another bump but kept going. Joe, sweeping, noticed a large, unusually shaped trail marker and shouted out to the others. The word was passed, "We think we've found something!" Indeed we had found the true summit of Wilshire Mtn. Everybody then backtracked and signed in.
Leaving Wilshire Mtn the group inadvertently headed down the road toward Oak Glen. Joe and others at the rear shouted out that they were going the wrong way and everyone soon turned back. Joe then led the group over to Wilshire Peak. Light rain fell at this point. Joe then led the group to Cedar. Peter Doggett led a fast group to the summit. The register on Cedar went back to the 1960's. We took our second extended break on this summit.
After leaving Cedar it took a while before signs of the "pack trail" shown on the topo materialized. Joe, leading, eventually found a distinct trail after passing over a wide almost meadow-like area. We found a knocked-over duck along the north side of Birch, at which point Peter Doggett led swift hikers to the summit. This happened to be the peak where Peter had finished the list years ago.
The descent: Patty led the group down the northwest ridge of Birch to the trail, which soon became an overgrown jeep trail. We heard distant thunder, but it never seemed to threaten us. The group reconvened at road junctions. At the last junction, Patty and two other hikers split off to climb Allen. It was now about 7:00 pm. Everyone else hiked down to the cars, the last arriving at about 7:50 pm.
Patty's group of three took the left hand branch of the road at the saddle at 5,200'. It took about 45 minutes round trip to do Allen from the saddle.
The light was totally gone as they descended the dirt road down to the Hubbard Ranch. They got out to Patty's Pathfinder at 9:30 pm and she drove Bonnie and Cesar Michel up to the Vivian Creek trailhead about 20 minutes away in pouring rain. Perfect timing. The rain started after the three got into Patty's vehicle.
The wooded ridge we used for our ascent is a practical alternative to Camp Creek
The "jeep trail" and the "pack trail" shown on the topo connecting Little San G to Birch Mtn are, in fact, faint though distinct foot paths.
The cool weather and overcast skies were a blessing today.