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Mount Orizaba, Black Jack Mountain, Silver Peak

29 June 1996 (LPC List Finish)

By: Erik Siering


It's similar to eating Lay's potato chips. You can't finish just one peaks list.

So, after prior HPS and DPS exploits, I completed the LPC list on Silver Peak (6/30/1996). I'd been surprised to learn that I was only the second LPS finisher to date. Jean Hermanson had finished but one month earlier, near the HPS Big Three on Cachuma Pk.

Bob Sumner and I set out early Saturday from Avalon Bay, to saunter a 30+ mile length of Catalina Island. We scaled Orizaba and Black Jack Mtns, skirted bison, lunched at Two Harbors, and finally arrived in the hot afternoon at the remote beach campground of Parson's Landing. Here we met friends Ann Kramer, Patty Kline, Asher and Jack Waxman, Dan and Willy Richter, Barbara Cohen and Dave Sholle. Most packed in from nearby Emerald Bay. Ann and Patty had started from Two Harbors, pausing enroute for naptime at a local Boy Scout camp. We enjoyed a warm evening happy hour and worked beachside bouldering problems as the sun set, revealing the lights of Los Angeles.

Sunday morning, Bob, Ann and I hiked on steep trail round the West End to the summit. We stirred wild boar and an inquisitive Catalina fox. Dan, Patty, Barbara, and Dave, now joined by Diane Harmon, came up the East side to party with us on top. Ann and I then continued on the long ridge road descent to the Isthmus, as the others took boats out of Emerald Bay. Most of the group rendezvoused for an excellent champagne brunch at Doug's Restaurant at Two Harbors (reservations recommended). Lots of bubbly that day!

LPC peaks are Southland tops below the 5000' elevation required for HPS consideration. The list is a mixed bag of fifty-eight high points and bumps, with both standouts and dogs. I can recommend most, but not all, of them. Some peaks are near HPS summits; others are quite off the beaten path. Great climbing it's not, but it offers a variety of hiking and scrambling to places rarely visited. It provides an alternative winter conditioning regimen comparable to the HPS. And solitude. I never saw another hiker on these peaks.

LPC peaks can be tougher than those of the HPS. There are NO drive-ups. Several have lengthy approaches. Some are truly horrific brushfests, far exceeding the HPS standard. Registers are scarce. Most are rarely, if ever, led. But there are those peaks you may have already done unawares (see Bonita). Peak guides, sans maps, are available from Gordon Lindberg. Be forewarned that these writeups are dated, and consequently some of the information and indicated routes are inaccurate or simply fictional. Part of the adventure!

Here are my picks for the LPC winners and duds. Try a few.

BEST:
Santa Paula - Pk Ventura, adjoining Los Padres NF wilderness, good trail
Valencia Pk - Montana d'Oro State Park, great oceanside trail and views
Saddleback Pk - State Park in Antelope Valley, nice desert trail and views
Gaviota Pk - Santa Barbara, coastline views, hot spring at its base!
Brown Mtn - San Gabriels front range (Stag's favorite non-HPS?)
Silver Pk - Catalina Island highpoint, wonderfully remote West End

WORST:
Old Sugarloaf - the most brush
Burro Mtn - more brush
Agua Tibia Mtn brush

SILLY:
Bonita - benchmark bump on the ridge trail to (Big) Iron Mtn
San Mateo Pk - rarely visited Santa Ana brushwhack, not much of a view.

HARD:
Wild Horse Pk - long dayhike loop combined with Eagle Crag and Agua Tibia Mtn
Harrison Mtn - San Bernardino front range, interesting route access

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