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Ascent of Cienaga Peak on 2019-07-13

Climber: Jim Wick

Others in Party:Larry Edmonds
Mark Sutton
Nelson Peacock
Leslie Williams
Sharon Gott
Date:Saturday, July 13, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Cienaga Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:9144 ft / 2787 m

Ascent Trip Report

Drove the only "open" route to Idylwild from Anza; as the other roads remain closed due to damage from the winter storms. Parked at Humber Park; which I forgot my Adventure Pass. Luckily Larry wasn't using his so I didn't have to worry about a ticket (the ranger station wasn't open that early. We planned start hiking at 7am but was delayed by late arrivals of the group. Then a ranger arrived about 715 and began checking permits. We were one of the few with an approved permit as others were barred and sent back into town.

The original plan earlier in the week was to hike to Sam Fink but temperatures were too high so the plan was modified to a counter clockwise loop that included Cienaga Peak & Suicide Rock with most of the down hike hopefully in the shade. Six of us headed up. There were lots of biting bugs; especially that early. Made good time up to Saddle Junction were we took our first break. Then continued up/north on the PCT towards Cienaga Peak/Wellmans Divide. Even though the peak is just right there above the trail, the easiest approach is from the north just after the PCT junction splits from the route to Wellman Divide (and just before the PCT starts losing elevation). The best route to the peak is to stay on the east side of the mini ridge to the summit. There are some summit blocks but easy with no exposure (i.e. nothing more than 10 ft). Great views. Noticed a helicopter making a drop or pickup at the summit of Tahquitz Peak. Returned to the PCT via the same route.

Then continued north/down the PCT towards Strawberry Cienaga. We stopped at the large flat area before the trail wraps around the mountain. Had some lunch but the flies were biting; not to mention large ants. After a break, we headed off trail down towards Suicide Rock; cutting several miles of the maintained trail route. Ended up getting a very good mountain rash on my arm during the off trail part. While downclimbing a short steep rock face section, I encountered a loose patch which started my slide. Instinct of self arrest however I didn't have long sleeves, so the decomposing granite in a split second (as I pulled the arm away just as quickly) did some damage. I stopped the bleeding in short order but the remainder of the hike (and couple days) was a constant painful reminder. We eventually merged onto the trail to Suicide Rock. Half the group stayed at the large mostly flat area; the other half including myself continued to the actual high point. In the meantime, another member of our group was attacked by ants; which in her haste to get up and away gouged her head with a sharp branch. The bleeding was stopped in short order.

We returned to the saddle just before Suicide Rock, to turn and head down the climber's trail. The climber's trail is slow going due to steep terrain. We passed several groups of rock climbers along the massive rock face. In some sections the trail is 60 degree slope; so slow and careful with each step. The climbers trail reaches a paved driveway; we continue down the road (as both sides of the road are private property) until we reach a trail on the left. When we reached the great flow rate stream, we took a break and soaked our sore feet. With the high temps, it was very refreshing. Then continued the trail just up a large staircase to the main road. Continued up the main road to Humber Park; were we parked.

Stats include total loop and break times.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3609 ft / 1099 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3609 ft / 1099 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10.1 mi / 16.3 km
    Grade/Class:2
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Hot, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2927 ft / 892 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2644 ft / 806 m; Extra: 283 ft / 86m
    Loss on way in:283 ft / 86 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:Devils Slide Trail
    Start Trailhead:Humber Park  6500 ft / 1981 m
    Time:3 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3326 ft / 1013 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2644 ft / 806 m; Extra: 682 ft / 207m
    Gain on way out:682 ft / 207 m
    Distance:5.3 mi / 8.5 km
    Route:Suicide Rock Climbers Trail
    End Trailhead:Humber Park  6500 ft / 1981 m
    Time:5 Hours 2 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Jim Wick
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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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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