Sombrero Peak, Jacumba Mountain
By: Bill T. Russell
Our group met at leisure class noon at the junction of the Indian Valley road and hwy S2. I had planned to drive down Fri eve and to scout for a campground Sat em. However, rain and snow were forecast for Fri night so Pat and I drove early Sat and still had time to scout. It was good that we did so because it snowed Fri night and quite a few snow covered empty cars were still on the shoulder of Fwy 8 above 4000' elevation. On Sat, the front had passed and the air was cool and clear. As described in the peak guide, we drove to the roadhead in the south fork of Indian Valley. The road is fair, not good but it is OK for street cars. There are numerous good places to camp along this road. An easier climbing route than that shown in the peak guide for Sombrero is to ascend south up the side gully which joins the main gully at 671337, which point is about 0.2 mi SW of the roadhead. From the top of this gully, ascend SW to the summit. We started the hike at 1230 and returned to the cars at 1630 even though we did navigation exercises along the way. Barbara Cohen did a fine job as our route finder.
We camped in a lovely spot in some trees about 1 mi east of 52 on the north side of the graded road that Joins 52 a very short distance south of the Indian Valley road. We had a social hour and after dinner, we sat around a campfire built on a metal ground pan. We did carry out our ashes.
On Sunday we drove SE on 52 to the dirt road to Dos Cabezas and Mortero. The peak guide calls this road "good" but it has a sandy portion up a draw and should be rated fair. Our street cars did make it. After crossing the railroad tracks the guide should say to turn back NW for about 0.2 mi and then to turn SW and go to do, Cabezas Spring or to the nearby Flortero Palms. We chose to ascend from the spring. Our route was up the hillside to the left (east) of the watercourse, then SW over the low, flat saddle at 800193, to the saddle at 795186 and up the ridge to the summit. There wee some good boulder scrambling end some easy walking.
At one spot near the top, someone asked Petty Kline if they could help her and she said yes, get me a helicopter." Shortly thereafter, when we reached the top, what should be seen and heard but a helicopter heading straight for us as on a strafing run. It circled us once and then landed on a hat spot about 200 ft away. Patty was heard to say that they were 10 minutes late! A USGS geologist emerged and set up a tripod with a fancy mirror over the benchmark on the summit. It was to be used for ranging with a laser beam from a source at a benchmark on the other side of the San Andreas Fault. The USGS is studying relative ground motion of the two sides of the fault with accuracies less than one cm over distances of many km..
We left the man with his tripod/reflector and descended to Mortero Palms via the route indicated in the peak guide. We reached the water channel at 792196. The walking is easy from the summit down to elev. 2600'. The route from there is enjoyable boulder scrambling down the dry water channel to the roadhead. The hike back to Cabezas Spring is about 0.6 mi.
Our trip time was about 7 hours. Doing the two different routes added interest; I would not recommend one over the other. The register cans and books on both peaks are OK. It was a good trip with good weather and fine people. Participants were:
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