Ascent of Mount Saint Catherine on 2018-12-18

Climber: Swingshift Hiker

Others in Party:James Sprenger
Date:Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Saint Catherine
    Elevation:2756 ft / 840 m

Ascent Trip Report

Reading multiple trip reports on this and other sites, this route seemed one of the most straightforward. I had attempted this route last year while visiting my son at med school, but slid off into the ditch in the 4WD I had rented and never took a step toward the summit. This time, I didn't try to drive up the road much further than the end of the pavement.
The first part of the route is a dirt road, which eventually gets swallowed by the rain forest and becomes a foot path only. At one point, we took the wrong path to the right, which we found led to a waterfall. This was a 200m error, which can be seen on the GPS track. Soon after this wrong turn, the real climbing starts. In fact, most of the remaining kilometer is a mud ladder, taking over the half the time of the entire hike. Though it had not been particularly rainy the previous few days, it was very muddy over about 2/3's of the entire trail. There are several points at which people had placed ropes, which are quite helpful in those spots, due to the lack of hand grips. There is a fair amount of exposure on the final 500m of the trail. One spot in particular, about 250m from the summit, really warrants a rope. There is 1/2 meter wide ledge (rounded on top), partially crumbled in places that is about 6-7 meters long. On the ascent, we traversed a narrow, near non-existent trail on the south side of this ledge a couple of meters below. However, because I had a hard time lowering myself to this trail, on the descent, I ended up hugging and scooting the top of the ledge. I would recommend bring a 10-20m of rope for this section.
I understand the view from the summit is gorgeous. We did not get to see it due to the fact that it was dark and cloudy. I ended up butt sliding a fair amount of the first kilometer of the descent. My hiking pants were destroyed. I ended up throwing them away, along with my hiking shoes as they were hopelessly muddy. A change of clothes is essential for this trip.
This 6 mile hike took me nearly 7 hours. Though much of this is due to my poor fitness at this time and the fact that it was dark for the final 4 hours of the hike. Needless to say, if there is any risk of not making it back by dark, a reliable headlamp is a must. Though I gifted a machete to the mountain gods along the trail, as I found that it was not necessary at this time, I could see, however, the trail becoming very overgrown with a little neglect. So, a sheathed machete may be helpful gear.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2155 ft / 656 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2155 ft / 656 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.9 mi / 9.5 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Bushwhack, Scramble, Exposed Scramble, Rock Climb
    Gear Used:
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2055 ft / 626 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1955 ft / 596 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Loss on way in:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:Trail shown on open street
    Start Trailhead:Mount Horne  801 ft / 244 m
    Time:4 Hours 
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2055 ft / 626 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1955 ft / 596 m; Extra: 100 ft / 30m
    Gain on way out:100 ft / 30 m
    Distance:2.9 mi / 4.7 km
    Route:Trail shown on open street
    End Trailhead:Mount Horne  801 ft / 244 m
    Time:3 Hours 
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Swingshift Hiker
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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