Ascent of Pinyon Peak on 2019-04-28

Climber: Sean Casserly

Date:Sunday, April 28, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Pinyon Peak
    Elevation:5264 ft / 1604 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is maybe the most challenging issue. The last water source is 2.8 miles into the hike. After that it is completely dry. There is a chance of a spring on the west side of the saddle, but the brush makes it very difficult to reach. I thought I heard water on a few occasions, but I couldn't completely rule out wind. Daryn and I both ran out of water, and the last few miles back to camp with a dry mouth was unpleasant. The weekend was also warmer than I expected. I brought 3.5 liters and ran out slightly past the saddle on the return. Thankfully, Asaka saved me and offered me 0.5 to 0.75L of water later on (I remained parched), then had another 1.5 liters waiting for me at camp (remained parched again). I didn't feel fulfilled until we reached the stream several miles later. If camping on top, you also need enough water for cooking dinner. This peak might be best done after snowfall so you can melt water on the summit.

After reviewing the photos from Bob's trip report, I was shocked to see how much the brush has grown back. Bob climbed Pinyon a year after a fire a decade ago. Now many of the previous open sections are grown over. It was the worst bushwhacking I've had to endure. I have endless cuts and bruises across my arms and legs. No poison oak though!

Burd underestimates the distance. Firstly, its 6.5 miles from the trailhead to the summit of JS. Secondly, it is much more than 4 miles from JS to Pinyon Peak. While I didn't record a GPS track, my estimate is 6-6.5 miles. Therefore, Total distance is 25-26 miles, rather than the 20 miles as advertised by Burd.

We started from the summit of Junipero Serra at 7am and returned to camp at 9pm. We reached the cars at 1:30am.

This isn't really an issue, but we saw a rattle snake on the way. We found several scorpions around camp as we packed out. There were many mountain lion tracks along the ridge from JS to Bear. There was bear scat in places. I saw only one tick.

There was one other person who made the summit recently, but he took a helicopter. I recommend waiting for another burn to attempt this peak unless your a masochist.
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