Little Pine Mountain
By: Luella Fickle
I believe this was the first Lower Peaks Sections Scheduled Hike to Little Pine Mtn.
Four of us met at 8:30AM at the trailhead located at the upper end of Upper Oso Campground near San Marcos Pass in Santa Barbara County. This is a lovely area. Route goes about ½ mile up dirt road to signed Santa Cruz Trail. Then Santa Cruz trail is followed first up Oso Creek Canyon then up the canyon side to the ridge between two forks of Oso Creeks. The trail crosses an exposed ledge system and two large porteros before gaining the saddle between Alexander Peak and Little Pine Mtn (4459). The route from Oso Creek to this saddle has very little shade so we were grateful for cloud cover. The porteros must be pretty in spring as there were many dried wildflowers in them. From this saddle we first climbed up to right then dipped down to a dirt road.
We attempted to climb the true high point of Little Pine which we found to be extremely brushy from this road to the summit (about 300’ up a steep road bank). We got to within about 40 vertical feet of the summit but were unable to proceed through the nose high brush (I’m 5’101/2 “). We back tracked up this road to the Santa Cruz trail and tried from there. Again we were stopped by brush. Therefore we retreated to the ridge above the Alexander Pk/Little Pine Mtn (4459) saddle. From here we followed the forest service trail to the summit of point 4459 and found a can claiming this to be the true high point?! It does have a wonderful view and is much easier to climb since it has a trail to the summit. On the way down it began to rain lightly. We got back to the cars by 4:30. We hiked further than 13 miles because we were attempting to climb the high point which added about 2 miles and about 2 hours to our efforts due to the extreme brush.
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