Ascent of Junipero Serra Peak on 2011-11-21

Climber: Michael Wanberg

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, November 21, 2011
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Junipero Serra Peak
    Elevation:5862 ft / 1786 m

Ascent Trip Report

This was done as a (long) day-trip from SF.

Two creek fords ON THE ROAD leading into the St. Lucia TH through Fort Hunter Liggett. Slightly hair-raising, especially in the dark on the return. These may be gated during high water, contact the Fort for more info. During the summer there may not even be water over these.

This trail is very nice in places, but very overgrown in most. A section of it is not where it's designated on the topo maps; the book "101 Hikes in Northern California" (M. Heid, Wilderness Press 2008) has a map and description with the correct route. There were about a half dozen very minor creek crossings, though they're probably dry in the summer months. The trail disappeared entirely in the snow on the northwest side about 250' below the summit, though it's probably quite easy to follow when snow-free. According to the log at the summit, the last person there was in mid-October. The frame of the lookout tower is still present, although the platform has collapsed.

I came across two hikers at the major saddle to the west of the peak (~4100) who had turned back below the summit due to the snow and brush. There was an exceptionally large cougar that ran across my path about 150' ahead of me within the first mile of the trail. Interestingly, I also saw three deer in the very same area on the descent. Two coyotes and an owl(!) attempted suicide-by-car on the Fort roads during my return.

This is a really beautiful area, with some very cool rock formations near the trailhead.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4122 ft / 1255 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4122 ft / 1255 m
    Round-Trip Distance:12.4 mi / 20 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3 (snow bushwa
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Snow on Ground, Snow Climb
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Breezy, Partly Cloudy
mostly sunny below 5000', clouds on summit above that.
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3922 ft / 1195 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3772 ft / 1149 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Loss on way in:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    Start Trailhead:St. Lucia TH  2090 ft / 637 m
    Time:3 Hours 15 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3972 ft / 1210 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 3772 ft / 1149 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Gain on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:6.2 mi / 10 km
    End Trailhead:St. Lucia TH  2090 ft / 637 m
    Time:1 Hours 40 Minutes

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