Granite Mountain #2, Whale Peak, San Ysidro Mountain, Hot Springs Mountain
19 January 1991
By: David Eisenberg
Leaders: David Eisenberg, Carleton Shay
Twenty determined peak baggers met Saturday am at Scissor's Crossing to prepare for Granite and Whale. With only 10 hours of daylight, we knew that we had to keep moving throughout the day in order to finish up by dark. We quickly consolidated cars, scrunching into 7, and drove to the Granite trailhead. We began the hike at 7:20 am, 20 minutes behind schedule. Many of us claimed to be out of condition. However, we arrived at the summit of Granite shortly after 10 am, cutting over an hour off the 4 hours given in the peak guide.
We shared goodies at the top while signing in and returned back down the ridge. Bill T. Russell had just taken a class on tracking. In addition to sharing his knowledge, he made a point of trying to follow our path up exactly. We arrived back at the cars in time for lunch.
Following lunch, we made the treacherous drive over to Whale Pk. (Mitch Helbrecht was bounced around so much in the back of David Jensen's van that he promised me anything if he could squeeze into my truck on the way back!) We were greeted at the trailhead by a ranger from the Anza-Borrego State Park. He was there to check on the holiday off-road vehicle traffic. While there, he caught sight of Julie Rush's dog and informed us all that dogs were not allowed to climb Whale since it is inside the park (as was Granite). John Neal remained with her for company.
We took the beeline route to Whale. We set our compass and went directly for the peak rather than contouring around the various ridges as recommended by the peak guide. This saved quite a bit of time in spite of the extra gain. We returned to the cars just at sunset.
Bruce & Paula Peterson, Leslie Metcalf, Mitch Helbrecht, Ken & Andrew Jones, and Dorothy Pallas all signed out and went their own way. The rest of us went into Borrego Springs where we were to meet Charlie Knapke's Rosa Pt & San Ysidro group at the local Italian restaurant. Unfortunately, they had already eaten and were unable to hold a table for us. We passed on the Italian food in favor of Mexican when informed that it would be at least 1 hour and we couldn't wait inside.
Roy Stewart, Marge Singleton, and Chuck Sales left Charlie's group and joined us for San Ysidro. We met at 7:30 at the Culp Valley Campground 2 1/2 miles from the trailhead. We took the Alternate route provided in the writeup with minor detours to the East and South to avoid the brush. We encountered a patch of snow on the side of San Ysidro. Remembering the numerous snowballs thrown at me by innocent looking hikers, I made a preemptive strike and threw the first snowball. We returned to the cars about 12:30 where we lunched and cleaned up.
Frank and Ruth Dobos had already driven up Hot Springs and had no desire to do it again until they were forced to by their next list, so they signed out. The rest of us paid the $2 per head for the dubious privilege of driving on the mud and ice covered road up to Hot Springs. Wearing street shoes and slippers, we hiked the strenuous 20' gain, 200 yards rt, to the summit. David Jensen and Roy Stewart, harboring plans for a possible second list finish, ran back to the cars and reclimbed the summit a second time. The rest of us made the assent up the lookout. This is a climb up 3rd class wooden stairs: some of them had fallen out and there was much creaking and groaning. We will probably not be able to climb it much longer unless it is repaired.
Other hikers not previously mentioned are: Laura Webb, Jim Kilberg, Evan Samuels, Pat Russell, and Georgina Burns. Thanks to Carleton and all the above for a great hike and wonderful weekend.
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