Apache Peak, Spitler Peak
17 November 1996 (via Fobes Canyon)
By: Carleton Shay
Leaders: Carleton Shay, David Eisenberg
This could also be titled Apache and Spitler the easy way. The primary route from the Apple Canyon Road above Hurkey Creek Campground is scenic but long and boring. The less well known route up Fobes Creek is about 4 miles shorter, several hundred feet less altitude gain, and equally scenic. It traverses the less well traveled part of the PCT between Palm View Peak and Spitler. If there are any faults, the section before Spitler is steep for the PCT.
The driving route begins about 7 miles east of Mountain Center where the Fobes Canyon (dirt) road leaves Highway 74 on the left. It is sufficiently well graded for standard cars, but the parking area is small, accommodating only 4 or 5 cars. The road continues beyond the trailhead, but is gated a little further on out of sight of the parking area. Don't try to verify this unless you enjoy backing up on narrow dirt roads, since there is no space to turn around.
The "new" Fobes trail is not that shown on the Palm View Peak topo, but is to the east of Fobes ranch, switch backing up the slopes of Pk. 6432', reaching Fobes Saddle just east of the old trail junction. The old trail junction is marked "Private Property".
As a challenge to the reputed ease of this route, we met on Highway 74 at a late 9:00am. We bypassed Spitler to ascend Apache first and ate lunch there. It was cold and breezy so we dropped off the summit a little to bask in the sun out of the wind. It didn't take long to reach the summit of Spitler, and then dropped down to the PCT to return down Fobes Canyon. The total trip took 6 hours, 20 minutes. The participants were: Stephen Bache, Dianne Edwards, Gary McNulty, Virgil Popescu, Hanna Shay, Ray Soucy, and George Wysup.
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